After a warm welcome by Carlos and his people, and then a good, necessary night’s sleep, I was ready for my first day and their third day of the National General Secretaries (NGS) meeting as well as the Youth Summit, predominately consisting of first and second cohort Global Change Agents/S2C Ambassadors. Wow! A great bunch of people and lots of old friends. And I was eventually in Africa again!
The agenda of CHANGE is first priority here in Africa. Everybody are talking about it, discussing it and planning for it. My feeling is that everybody also believe in it.
It is all about the African Renaissance and Youth Empowerment. I tell everywhere I go the same story, that the Youth Empowerment and Change Agent strategies of the World YMCA both come out of the African continent and they are great gifts to the World of YMCAs from Africa.
I am feeling so proud when I am introduced to the Youth Summit and am invited to say a few words to them. They are in the middle of a more than one week training course, and when I visited them the theme was: “The Case for Monetary Sovereignty in Africa” delivered by Demba Moussa Dembele. The input was followed by a session on preparing advocacy statements and discussion points for Monday, when the group will meet with politicians and other Civil Society Organizations in Dakar, Senegal.
The NGS meeting it is a facilitated training course in analyzing the present situation and realities and preparing for the Change Agenda. How to go from Dependency to Sustainability? How to let go of the old ways, how to get out of the poverty thinking and start thinking big, thinking independently, thinking sustainability.
There is excellent facilitation, leading us through sculpting the actual reality with the help of different material of plastic and clay and stuff. The models are being presented and discussed, we are looking for what we still appreciate with this model, what we are dissatisfied with and what we want to let go of.
In the middle of the day we are given some very fundamental questions and we are challenged to answer them immediately based on our guts feelings, heart feelings as well as our brain capacity. A holistic approach. Then we are told to leave the paper and pen, mobile phones and laptops behind and go alone and in silence for a 45 minutes walk.
How powerful such a meeting with yourself can be. And upon our return to the workshop room we shared with one another some of the thoughts and reactions we had encountered walking by ourselves.
After a soul searching session we break for lunch and come back to a session of sculpting the future. The three groups sculpt their dream scenarios in plastic and cork.
This time two of the Global Change Agents are invited to help evaluate the artistic performances of the NGSs. Maris (from World YMCA ExCom) and Kevin from Togo told me over breakfast today how interesting an experience that had been, actually to be invited in to their senior leaders and to evaluate their performances.
Another example of the changes taking place in Africa.
The three working groups around each of their sculptures explain what their dream scenarios are, their future vision of YMCAs in Africa.
Carlos then had a session to present the new economic model, which will take the African YMCAs from Dependency to Sustainability.
On one side under Origination the following stations:
Research – Business origination – Resource Planning – Relationship management – Knowledge management.
On the bridge between the two sides:
Multiplication: Investment & Management
On the other side under Delivery:
Project delivery – Project management – Project reporting – Resource management – Impact Assessment and Report.
This is a dual financial and human resources development model that combines high social impact with revenue generation by African YMCAs. The Economic Model guides African YMCAs to promote innovation, institutional sustainability and structured project support.
And this model is going to support the new AAY Strategy plan for 2015-18 with its 3 pillars on:
1 – Youth Empowerment
2 – Build a strong and sustainable continental movement
3 – African Renaissance University
We have certainly an exciting week ahead of us hear on the beach in Senegal, and this strategy is very nicely aligned with the World YMCA’s OUR WAY Strategy.
Today, Sunday, we met for devotion and Carlos gave us an update and summary of the three days of training. Then we had a sharing session where I was invited to answer questions and we had a really good conversation about Change Agents, Peace Boat, Disaster Preparedness related to Ebola, GOP and plans for the future, the terrible problem of migration over the Mediterranean and how we can respond as YMCAs, Good Governance and a number of other important issues. I enjoy these conversations, and just to sit in and listen to the African NGSs sharing, is a great learning experience. We then joined the Youth Summit to have a plenary sharing with all the Change Agents and Ambassadors and that was a hugging, enthusiastic session with singing and playing and some very serious talk about the future. From both sides.
We are preparing for the OGM which starts on Tuesday and where the Change Agents/Ambassadors will have quite a lot of facilitation and leading of sessions together with some of the NGSs. More than 150 participants are expected.
Just now the sun is setting, a bunch of NGSs are playing volley ball on the beach while I use the internet to get this blogpost off and away. All the best my friends from exciting Africa!