Equipping a New Generation of YMCA Leaders for Africa and the World

Date: 20 February 2013

In the first days of February, an enthusiastic and diverse group of Africa’s young leaders gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, for the second phase of their training as Subject2Citizen Ambassadors.  In amongst greetings and embraces, 20 young S2C Ambassadors shared their experiences over the past year before settling down to continue their learning.

This round of training focused on raising awareness of current African realities, developing our voices for advocacy, honing our media skills (including news writing and video production), thinking about neuro-linguistic programming, and being prepared for  the WAY’s Change Agent programme.

Memorable moments included:

•  A heartfelt presentation by Boniface Mwangi, a world renowned photo journalist.  Boniface documented the political turmoil that tore through Kenya following the 2007 elections. His determination to speak the truth in the face of often violent and oppressive opposition served as a stark testament to the strength of the youth voice in politics.

An inspiring introduction to the WAY’s Change Agents programme.  Romulo Dantas, Executive Secretary for Youth Empowerment, described the programme as a necessary step in building unity within the global YMCA movement.  He helped us see the direct link between the role of S2C Ambassador who works to influence change from community to continental level, and that of Change Agent who is focused on having a global impact through the YMCA.

Young participants at the training spoke proudly of their achievements and the influence their S2C Ambassadorship is having on their communities.  The Gambia YMCA’s Karen Mballow believes the training has matured her thinking and encouraged her to take responsibility for her positioning as a leader.  It encouraged her to contact her government directly so she wrote a letter to the President.  He responded through the Deputy Permanent Secretary of Youth Sports and they eventually met to discuss the S2C programme: its impact on the lives of young people and its future in the Gambia.

How is your YMCA developing young leaders at the community and continental level?  What are your hopes for the Change Agents selected from your country to participate in the Change Agents programme?

Share your stories about how a new generation is rising to the challenges of leadership within and beyond the YMCA.  Drop us a note at comment@ymca.int.

Gil Harper
Executive for International and Corporate Affairs
African Alliance of YMCA

World E-News February 2013 – Pdf version