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Friday, 18 July 2014 08:31 Published in BlogSpot

 

africa aidResearch released by a coalition of African and UK partners reveals that Africa loses almost six and a half times the amount of money that it receives in aid.

“It says something about this country. It says something about our standing in the world and our sense of duty in helping others… in short – it says something about the kind of people we are… And that makes me proud to be British.”

As exhibited by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who made the above comment on 8 June 2013, governments of wealthy countries like to tell tales of generous aid spending and a common responsibility to help those less fortunate in the world. But there is another story to tell. And it is not a story of what is given to continents such as Africa, but of what is taken away.

Research published today reveals that whilst the continent receives $30 billion in aid a year, this figure pales in comparison to the $192 billion leaving the continent via illicit financial flows, the repatriation of multinational company profits, debt repayments, loss of skilled workers, illegal logging and fishing, and the costs imposed as a result of climate change.

When these losses are compared to overall financial inflows – including not just aid but foreign investment and remittances − Africa is left with a $58 billion a year net loss. To put it in to context, that is over one and a half times the estimated $37 billion a year extra funding it would cost to deliver universal health coverage for everyone in the world.

These figures expose the true financial relationship of wealthy countries with Africa, a relationship that is seldom mentioned by politicians. It is a relationship in which the world doesn't aid Africa, but in which Africa aids the world.

For the full article

By Judith Cavanagh

Source: Think Africa Press

Sunday, 06 July 2014 06:45 Published in YMCA World Council 2014

 

WC51Today we woke up in the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, America. It's not the first time that this has happened, surely we all have been doing it for the past few days, but today is different, its July 4th, America’s Independence Day. As if the organisers of this World Council had planned it, the day seems to fit very well with the air around the council meeting, we as a movement surely have a lot to celebrate.

Firstly, as we start the day, the African delegation once again visits its “Luthuli House”, very important resolutions will be passed today at the plenary and the prospect of passive participation or none at all, is off the table for us. We as a movement can longer sit back, so Africa forges a way and strategy to make impact. Both young and old rise up to speak and let their voices be heard. How about that for a good reason to celebrate.

The morning smoothes into life, like a rolling stone down the high peaks of these marvellous mountains. The devotion is served. The mornings been really special to many here, it has given us the time to share our testimonies and encourage each other in our faiths in God. We have celebrated the blessings that we have received as well as the challenge that the hardships present knowing with every song and sharing that “greater is He that is in us”.

Another reason to celebrate is the group presentations. Over the course of this World Council each of us has been in a group and today is the day we show the ‘world’ what that time brought out in us. Each group does this so well, creativity seems to be alive in this youth movement, from Michael Kasindu, better known as “Vuvuzela” to Karl-Heinz, German YMCA President, the spirits are high, people are driven and at the end of it all, a standing ovation for everyone’s efforts, what a proud moment for the groups and the Change Agents, who had facilitated the groups. The theme soon becomes, a celebration of youth leadership, how can one ask for more. How about the triumph of Germany at the World Cup quarter finals? Four of my groups members are German and watching it together, somehow I feel like I had won too.

The movement then came together to remind the World of the plight of the missing Nigerian Girls with the tag “I/We still care, #Bringbackourgirls. I sense a unity in purpose as people queue to have their pictures taken in support of this cause. 80 days on since the abduction of the girls. The World YMCA and the AAYMCA, together with others in our global family, have stood up to voice the urgency of the need for those in power to use all resources at their disposal to find the missing girls.

Like a fountain that keeps springing up, our spirits are lifted as we celebrate the past term of the outgoing Executive Committee and the Lifetime Honourary membership given to the now past World YMCA President Ken Carlson. We also usher in the new President as he gives his speech and declares the start of “Our Way”, a path that will lead us to the future. Soon after, the streets in Estes Park a filled with red, white and blue. People come together to celebrate America and the ideals of freedom and liberty, what a sight...

The party has officially started. Dinner is served and soon we head to the Long House for a celebration of the YMCA over the years and its continued relevance. Long story short, Carlos Sanvee should try out Nollywood (Quote from Vuvuzela), the Norwegian band should join Euro-vision, the Change Agents graduated and the movement celebrated. I still have to take a rest and shake off the night, so proud and humbled to be part of this world-wide family, are you? Get fired up and share the story.

By Raymond Ncube, Africa Alliance of YMCAs

Sunday, 06 July 2014 06:38 Published in YMCA World Council 2014

 

WC52I have not known Peter Postner, from England, for long. We met last August at the Love2Live YMCA European festival in Prague, Czech Republic. Among other things, Peter was co-hosting the popular news and views show that was enacted and broadcast every night to the thousands of festival goers. At the time, I was responsible for preparing Change Agents, young global leaders, for interviews, performances and segments on Peter’s show.

And so we met every day to discuss and prepare. Mostly we agreed. But sometimes we did not. I think what struck me most was our ability to compromise, probably more due to Peter than me, as we constantly looked at the impact of the end result we each wanted.

Now I sit in the audience as he gives his first President speech, after being elected to the position of YMCA World President at the 18th World Council in Estes Park, Colorado.

 

He wastes no time is prodding us out of our comfort zones to take up a challenge he sets us: put our faith into action.

So we have three challenges:

• “Use YMCA values – and look at your YMCA’s values for guidance.” I know that the values of my area movement are very dear to me and I think I am going to use them as a screensaver on my laptop to constantly remind me. My favourites are Unity and Inclusiveness and I find this resonates very well with me. I struggle a little with one (not going to admit which one though, eish) and so this is going to be my personal mission.

• “Make a decision to do something new OR something different - but with Youth Empowerment in mind. It can be anything. But do it before the end of this year.” I love this one! One of my key tasks back home in Africa is youth empowerment using the S2C change model. So for me, I am going to deepen my involvement and impact in this.

• “When you’ve taken the action, tell somebody what you have done who has not had the benefit of being here with us. That way you can inspire them to follow your example. Spread the good news.” Now interestingly, my other key role back home is that of communications. And this last challenge is so important. We do not tell enough wonderful stories of our rich and diverse impact. We have so many stories to tell. It’s time to just start doing this! So I take up this challenge to ensure the impact in our communication is highlighted and to ensure that we don’t merely report on happenings but rather create a social dialogue through our communications.

OK, I am fired up now! I take on these challenges. Are you going to do the same? Will you be able to look back a year from now, and say: I am a better person and the world is a bit better because of me?

By Gil Harper, Africa Alliance of YMCAs

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