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awardThe queen’s young leaders programme is searching for inspirational young people across the commonwealth who are making a difference in their communities.

Exceptional people aged 18-29 will receive awards for leading the way where they live, in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s 60-year contribution to the Commonwealth. The awards will support them to do more life-changing work.

Grants will be made to organisations in selected Commonwealth countries that can show they are improving the lives of young people. The grants will help individuals gain new skills, employment and a voice in their communities.

The AAYMCA encourages all Change Agents, S2C Ambassadors and other youth involved in the African YMCA movement to nominate themselves or people they know for the award. The work the YMCAs do in Africa is crucial to the advancement of youth development and it would be great for you all to be recognised for the remarkable impact you have on your communities.

For more information on the award: 

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4th IYLA_2Taimanda Shalhona, the General Secretary of YMCA Jos has been asked to deliver a speech at the 4th International Young leaders assembly being held from August 11-20, 2014, in the USA. The assembly is themed, “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Vision, Service, and Entrepreneurship”.

Below is the text of the speech:

“Let me Dream for the young African Leaders and for them, let me speak… Today, I speak to you, my friends, representing no race, religion or nationality. I have come to you driven by the dictates of my conscience to which humanity is beyond all nations. I have chosen to be here to share with you what I know, what I feel and more importantly what I believe about Africa, the World and leadership.

The Africa that I know is the world’s second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. Spread over 30.2 million km including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth’s total surface area and 20.4 % of the total land area. With a billion people in 61 territories (54 countries) it accounts for about 14.72% of the world’s human population.

The Africa of my imagination is endowed with vast natural resources like Gold, Diamonds, Bauxite, Oil, Coal, Uranium, and several other rare minerals. It is blessed with around 85% of the world’s known reserves of platinum and chromium. It has 60% of reserves of Manganese and Cobalt. It also accounts for 10% of the world’s Oil’s reserves.

This very land of my dreams is enriched with countless commodities that earn huge quantum of Foreign exchange -Oil in Chad, Angola and Nigeria, Copper in Zambia, and Tourism in Kenya- continue to fill the coffers of these countries. Five countries dominate Africa’s upstream oil production. Together they account for 85% of the continent’s oil production and are, in order of decreasing output, Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Angola. Other oil producing countries are Gabon, Congo, Cameroun, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). More exploration is taking place in a number of other countries that aim to increase their output or become first time producers. Included in this list are Chad, Sudan, Namibia, South Africa and Madagascar while Mozambique and Tanzania are potential Gas producers.

The Africa of my thoughts contains many lakes and rivers, allowing in some small fishing industry. The deep rivers of Africa have significant hydroelectric value. Lake Victoria is Africa’s biggest lake. Lake Volta in Ghana is the world’s largest artificial lake. The Atlantic and Indian Oceans allow further enterprises such as: fishing, mining and offshore oil drilling. Its coastlines are teeming with fish and other sea life.

Click here for the full text of the speech

Source: YMCA Jos

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gazaymcaAs the attacks resumed to end hopes of a ceasefire, Chair of Gaza YMCA, Suheil Tarazi reports from the ground as he and his team of YMCA volunteers continue to support families in Gaza that have been displaced and traumatised by the conflict which escalated since June 2014. Tarazi writes:

“Thank you all for your support so far...

So many have lost their lives, entire families have been wiped out and there is so much devastation. Thousands of families have lost their houses and now staying in schools and other shelters. The academic year is about to start and I believe the displacement for young people is going to last longer due to the scarce resources and difficulties to find shelters in the tiny land of Gaza.

Together with our wonderful team of volunteers we’ve started to provide psychosocial support at an UNRWA school in a very difficult situation which we are really proud of. We’ve also provided wheelchairs to those in need, but there is still work to be done to recover from this catastrophe.

During the ongoing assault on Gaza strip it is very difficult to provide support, but at the same time we cannot stand still as observers while large number of children and youth are internally displaced without immediate intervention

Please give what you can today to [our] emergency appeal so we can keep reaching young people still in need of emergency assistance. With your support young people can start to recover what’s left of their lives and start to rebuild.

Thanks again for your support and solidarity.”

Suheil Tarazi, Chair of Gaza YMCA

Click here to donate online today or text GAZA35 to 70070 with your donation amount to help us get urgent assistance to those in need.

Source: Y Care International; Gaza YMCA

Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:16
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staff placementThis is an invitation to National Movements, Local Associations, and Area Organisations to second a professional staff person on a short-term (3 months) basis to the World Alliance of YMCAs.

From January 2013 to August 2014, the following professionals have participated in the Staff Placement Programme:

Jesus Abraham Martinez, YMCA of Mexico,
Matheus Medeiros, YMCA of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil,
Sven Larsen, Y-Global – Norway,
Sebastian Vogt, YMCA Germany,
Mikhail Guskov, YMCA Russia,
Stephen Webb, Independent Consultant & Volunteer,
Leonardo Tamagusuku, YMCA of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Jamie Lockhart, YMCA Edinburgh, Scotland

We are very grateful to them and their YMCAs for their support.

We are now confirming the next phase of staff placements for three months during the period from September 2014 to August 2015 and staff professionals from the following YMCAs have confirmed they will participate.

Jesus Abraham Martinez, YMCA of Mexico
Mario Trichilo YMCA of Siderno - Italy
Paul Turner, YMCA of Australia

We invite all YMCAs to consider this amazing opportunity! We have various expressions of interest and we would like to make plans for more staff placements this year.

Why is the Staff Placement Programme Important?

This is a strategic priority. One of the resource development objective’s of OUR WAY Strategy is the Staff Placement Programme.

We invite you to consider this proposal and to send us your ideas of persons who could participate in the programme. Please send your letter of interest to Selma This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. -- Here is how it works:

Terms of Agreement:

National or Local YMCA: The YMCA (Area, National Movement, or Local YMCA) agrees to second the professional staff person to the World YMCA office for a 3-month (consecutive) period with the salary to be paid by the sending YMCA (Area, National Movement, or Local YMCA). The sending YMCA agrees to maintain the staff person as an employee. The National, Local YMCA, or Area Organisation will cover the round trip airfare of the staff person and their ongoing salary during the placement period. The candidate’s participation should be authorised by the National or Local YMCA leadership.

World YMCA: The World YMCA agrees to cover the cost of accommodation, food, local travel for the 3-month period in Geneva. A professional staff from a YMCA (Area, National or Local) will have a placement in Geneva, over a 3-month period, with a possibility for a rotation over 3 years. (i.e. for 3 months every year over a period of no more than 3 years). The World YMCA reserves the right to interview the candidate in order to ensure the experience and assignments match with the expectations of the candidate.
Mutual Benefit:

The staff person will have a professional development opportunity during their experience at the World YMCA. During this time period the staff person will be able to continue to fulfil some their staff responsibilities and functions for their National Movement on a remote basis.
Volunteer Candidates:

If the individual is a volunteer or retiree, they will need to negotiate with their home YMCA financial support for their travel to and from their home to Geneva. The World YMCA will cover expenses in Geneva for food, lodging, and local travel during the two or three month period.


The World YMCA is focused on a transformational global agenda of social change - empowering young people. YMCAs everywhere are strong – and are local and community based. In each community, YMCAs seek to fulfill our Christian mission to serve young people and their communities. The YMCA worldwide has built great strength and relevance at local and national levels in more than 11,200 communities and 119 countries. We believe we can do more. Collectively as a global movement -- we believe we can bring positive experiences and change for a better world for young people as a global YMCA.

What does the Staff Placement Programme do?

- Increases the staff capacity (on a short term basis) and enhances learning and knowledge at World YMCA headquarters through involvement of a professional staff person from a member YMCA movement.

- Enhances the knowledge and experience of a YMCA professional from a member National Movement, Local YMCA, or Area YMCA Organisation.

- Works to help implement OUR WAY Strategy and focus on strategic initiatives for increased organisational capacity and sustainability of YMCAs around the world.

- Supports implementation of the worldwide Youth Empowerment in Action change model and framework, with special focus on research.

- Expands the YMCAs’ collective image and impact (with capacity, resources, and knowledge) to be made available to the worldwide YMCA movement on youth empowerment, movement strengthening, and resource mobilisation.

Functions: The Staff Placement works on specific projects within OUR WAY strategy: youth empowerment, movement strengthening, resource development, research, communications, advocacy. These include:

Support Youth Empowerment Strategy – Work with Change Agents: Work with staff to continue to advance the Change Agents programme. Support organisation of training and leadership development including webinar sessions for Change Agents through definition of best approach for the themes, help to identify speakers, writing reports on results, and social media activities (Facebook group). Follow up with Change Agents: This includes delivery of assignments, mentorship, registrations and database.

Comprehensive Youth Focused Research and Analysis: One Million Voices youth voice project -- this is a dedicated worldwide research effort focused on young people aged 15 to 24. This ongoing research project is identifying the visions, perspectives, and needs of the young people in all areas of the world through use of a questionnaire instrument. Work assignments related to this project will be a priority. The person will track and monitor progress of implementation of OMV for data collection, communicate with national movements. The person will enter OMV data in a data entry frame. In addition, the person will conduct interviews and consultations with YMCAs on Area, National, and Local levels to gather quality information on programmes, impact, scale. Focus areas are: Employment, Health and Well-Being, Civic Engagement. This will involve data gathering, data analysis, synthesis of information, and development of reports. It will include collection of worldwide evaluation reports on YMCA youth empowerment programmes.

Resource Development: Fundraising Initiatives: Work with staff on fundraising including development of proposals, data gathering on prospects, networking and cultivating potential donors in collaboration with Areas and national and local YMCAs located in each country.

Property Development: Work with staff on asset mapping and data gathering on YMCA assets worldwide and strategic assessment of property development opportunities.

Communications/Social Media: Staff placements work on targeted communications/social media projects to advance youth empowerment with a focus on Change Agents. This includes working together with World Alliance staff on organising, planning, and holding webinars, providing updates for information platforms, planning for worldwide social media campaigns, such as the World Challenge and for world level events for Change Agents. This includes articles for the website (Stories of Empowerment/other news), World Facebook Page posts, Development of Presentations, contact with National Movements.

Interested? Contact Details

Selma A. Zaidi
Senior Executive for Organisational Development and Resource Mobilisation
World YMCA
12, Clos-Belmont
1208 Geneva
email: selma(at)ymca.int

Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:13
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Job-vacancy-postingThe World YMCA office in Geneva is currently recruiting for one Executive Staff level post. The position is subject to a decision on budget funding for the post by the Executive Committee:

Communications Executive, reporting to the Secretary General of the World YMCA (start date to be determined but no later than 1 January 2015).

To read the full job description, click here

Applications should include the following:

1. A Curriculum Vitae (including academic qualifications, specialised studies, work experience, present responsibilities, international experiences, age, nationality, church affiliation, family composition, languages spoken, etc.).

2. A paper (not more than 5 pages) indicating the applicant's view of the mission of the YMCA, its relation with youth empowerment and how she/he proposes to implement the job description in order to support implementation of OUR WAY Strategic Plan. Illustrations from personal work experiences are important.

3. A recent passport-size photograph of the applicant.

4. Names and addresses of three referees.

5. A health certificate.

Applications should be received at the World YMCA office latest by 31 August, 2014, at the
Following address:

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik
Secretary General
World YMCA
12, Clos-Belmont, CH-1208 Geneva, Switzerland

Phone: +4122 849 51 00; Fax: +4122 849 51 10

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All applications will be treated in strict confidence. The envelope containing the application should be marked "Confidential".

If candidate is currently holding a position within the YMCA movement, endorsement by his/her national movement or Area Alliance is required.

Short listed candidates would be required to attend an interview by the Secretary General.

Selection will be made by end September 2014

Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:11
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poverty is_not_a_diseaseAs can be seen in the way the UN talks about poverty in its Sustainable Development Goals draft, its understanding of the problem is profoundly misconceived.

Right now, a long and complicated process is underway to replace the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015, with new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These will set the parameters for international development for the next 15 years and every government, UN agency, large corporation and NGO, not to mention billions of citizens on the planet have a stake.

Judging by what’s being produced, though, we have a serious problem. The best way to describe it is with an old joke: There’s a man driving through the countryside, trying to find a nearby town. He’s desperately lost and so when he sees a woman by the side of the road he pulls over and asks for directions. The woman scratches her head and says, “Well, I wouldn’t start from here."

The best evidence of where the SDGs are starting from is the so-called “Zero Draft” document, first released on 3 June and currently undergoing exhaustive consultation.

First things to note are the big differences with the MDGs. Most strikingly, the SDGs suggest an end to poverty is possible in the next 15 years, whereas the MDGs aimed at halving it. The implication is that we’ve made amazing progress and are now on the home stretch. Secondly, the SDGs get serious about climate change. This is a major paradigm shift and, what’s more, they aim squarely at the heart of the problem: patterns of production and consumption. Impressive. Thirdly, reducing inequality “within and between” countries is included, with a goal of its own. This suggests another paradigm shift, and a controversial one because it opens the door, just a crack, to the idea that the extremely rich might be making an undue amount of their money off the backs of the extremely poor.

Of these three goals, it is fairly certain that two will disappear before the process concludes. There is no way the world’s rich governments and corporations will allow a meaningful challenge to production and consumption patterns, or a focus on reducing inequality. This is a given.

However, there is an even more important problem in the Zero Draft document which is that the very starting point of the issue is profoundly misconceived. How do we know? Because of the language. Language is a code that contains a lot more than its literal meaning, and an analysis of semantic frames in the Zero Draft exposes the logic upon which it is built.

For the full article:

By Martin Kirk, Joe Brewer
Source: Think Africa Press

Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:08
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ebola rageWashington, DC — Imagine this choice. Your child has Ebola symptoms. You have no protective gloves to help keep you alive to care for her. But she needs comfort, so you wash her and wipe away her vomit – and you both die.

Liberia, one of the three most-affected countries, doesn't have enough gloves even for medical staff. Overwhelmed international caregivers – like the uniquely engaged Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) – are expressing disbelief at the 'too little, too late' international response.

"We are completely amazed by the lack of willingness and professionalism and coordination to tackle this epidemic," the group's operations director, Brice de le Vingne, told the Financial Times, saying Liberia, where MSF is scaling up treatment centres, is a country on the verge of collapse. "We have been screaming for months," he said.

The group says there is nowhere near the assistance needed, despite recent efforts. Only after a traveller from Liberia took the virus to oil-rich Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and host to large international investments and businesses, did the global response reach even the current modest levels.

The World Health Organisation this month is launching a U.S. $100 million disaster plan, after exhausting previous contributions of $7 million. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has sent 19 people to work in Liberia, and Public Affairs Director Barbara Reynolds says at least 60 CDC people are in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, plus Nigeria.

Nobody who has been working on the Ebola crisis in Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia thinks that's close to what's needed.

Contrast that with the world response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Over $3.5 billion was donated by governments, organisations and individuals. Within 24 hours, the small nation of Israel had equipped a plane with emergency medical supplies, and 40 doctors and 20 nurses and 20 medics were able to set up a field hospital on arrival – including a patient identification system and electronic medical records. More than 300 CDC staff went to Haiti to assist in the recovery, including battling the ensuing cholera epidemic. In much of North America, Latin America and Europe, commercial businesses put out collection boxes for relief donations. Individuals responded massively.

For the full article: 

Source: All Africa

Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:03
Published in Ebola
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danger of_silence"We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don't," says slam poet and teacher Clint Smith. A short, powerful piece from the heart, about finding the courage to speak up against ignorance and injustice.

Click here to view the video:

Source: TED

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ebola liberiaLiberia was desperately searching for 17 Ebola patients on Monday who fled an attack on a quarantine centre in the capital Monrovia, as the outbreak appeared to overwhelm authorities in West Africa's worst-hit nation.

Searches of the teeming West Point slum have so far failed to turn up any of the missing victims as neighbouring Guinea said a wave of sick Liberians had begun crossing the border, which it had officially closed 10 days ago.

Club-wielding youths raided a medical facility set up in a high school in the dense-populated Monrovia slum on Saturday, some shouting “there's no Ebola”, echoing wild rumours that the epidemic had been made up by the West.

Officials are considering sealing off the area - home to 75 000 people - to stop the nightmare scenario of people with the highly contagious disease wandering the city where unburied corpses have lain abandoned in the streets.

Information Minister Lewis Brown said: “All those hooligans who looted the centre are now probable carriers of the disease... They took mattresses and bedding that were soaked with fluids from the patients. To quarantine the area could be one of the solutions.

“We run the risk of facing a difficult-to-control situation,” he warned.

Community leaders, however, said the patients have long gone.

Wilmont Johnson, head of a youth association in West Point which organised a search for the patients, told journalists on Monday that “those who saw them passing told us that they have gone into other communities”.

The head of the Health Workers Association of Liberia, George Williams, said of the 29 patients in the raided unit “all had tested positive for Ebola” and were receiving preliminary treatment before being taken to hospital.

Fallah Boima, whose son Michel was among the patients who fled, told AFP: “I am afraid that he could die somewhere and I will not know.”

Outside the capital in Caldwell, relatives of the dead criticised the government for the slowness of its response, claiming that bodies were being left uncollected there for days.

Sheikh Idrissa Swaray, the father of one victim, slammed the way the government was handling the crisis as “completely wrong”.

He said in one case a man had died and his wife, possibly infected herself, had run away.

“We don't even know where the wife has gone and the body is still here. Three days now and the body has not been taken.”

Liberia already has the highest death toll in the epidemic, which has killed at least 1 145 people across West Africa since the start of the year. Its toll of 413 dead last week overtook that of Sierra Leone and Guinea where the outbreak began, despite a state of emergency being declared.

Dr Sakoba Keita, who is heading Guinea's fight against the epidemic, told AFP that a wave of sick Liberians were crossing the border in the Macenta district in the south of country, where Ebola had up till now been on the wane.

“We are very worried about this situation of sick people arriving from Liberia. We are having more and more suspected cases in the area,” he said.

A Guinean military doctor on his way to the border said: “We are doing everything we can but there is a huge gulf between the rhetoric and the situation on the ground.”

Guinea announced 10 days ago that it was closing its borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone, a forested region notoriously hard to police, and it was unclear how the sick patients made it into the country.

Now Cameroon also has closed all its land, sea and air borders with its neighbour Nigeria, and will restrict travel to other affected countries, a government spokesman told AFP on Monday.

The virus has claimed four lives in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. So far Cameroon has escaped unscathed.

The new travel bar comes as the World Health Organisation said it had set up a task force with global airlines and the tourism industry in an effort to contain the spread.

The outbreak has also led the African Union to cancel its summit scheduled for September 2 in Ouagadougou, although Burkina Faso to date has been unaffected.

There is no known cure for Ebola, a haemorraghic fever which can be spread through bodily fluids including blood and sweat.

The epidemic is the worst since the virus first appeared in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has also claimed 380 lives in Guinea and 348 in Sierra Leone, according to WHO figures released on August 13.

By Zoom Dosso

Tuesday, 19 August 2014 09:41
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ebola1There are conflicting reports over the fate of 17 suspected Ebola patients who vanished after a quarantine centre in the Liberian capital was looted.

An angry mob attacked the centre in Monrovia's densely populated West Point township on Saturday evening.

A senior health official said all of the patients had been moved to another medical facility.

But a reporter told the BBC that 17 had escaped while 10 others were taken away by their families.

More than 400 people are known to have died from the virus in Liberia, out of a total of 1,145 deaths recorded by the World Health Organization.

Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said protesters had been unhappy that patients were being brought in from other parts of the capital.

Other reports suggested the protesters had believed Ebola was a hoax and wanted to force the quarantine centre to close.

The attack at the Monrovia centre is seen as a major setback in the struggle to halt the outbreak, says the BBC's Will Ross, reporting from Lagos.

Health experts say that the key to ending the Ebola outbreak is to stop it spreading in Liberia, where ignorance about the virus is high and many people are reluctant to cooperate with medical staff.

'All gone'
Mr Nyenswah said after the attack that 29 patients at the centre were being relocated and readmitted to an Ebola treatment centre located in the facility of the country's John F Kennedy Memorial Medical Center.

However, Jina Moore, a journalist for Buzzfeed who is in Monrovia, told the BBC that 10 people had been freed by their relatives on Friday night and 17 had escaped during the looting the next day.

Rebecca Wesseh, who witnessed the attack, told the AFP news agency: "They broke down the door and looted the place. The patients have all gone."

The attackers, mostly young men armed with clubs, shouted insults about President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and yelled "there's no Ebola", she said, adding that nurses had also fled the centre.

The head of the Health Workers Association of Liberia, George Williams, said the unit had housed 29 patients who "had all tested positive for Ebola" and were receiving preliminary treatment.

Confirming that 17 had escaped, he said that only three had been taken by their relatives, the other nine having died four days earlier.

However, Mr Nyenswah said it was not confirmed that the patients had Ebola.

Fallah Boima's son was admitted to the ward four days ago, and seemed to be doing well, but when the distraught father arrived for his daily visit on Sunday his son was nowhere to be seen, AFP adds.

"I don't know where he is and I am very confused," he said. "He has not called me since he left the camp. Now that the nurses have all left, how will I know where my son is?"

'Stupidest thing'
Ebola is spread by contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, such as sweat and blood, and no cure or vaccine is currently available.

Blood-stained mattresses, bedding and medical equipment were taken from the centre, a senior police officer told BBC News, on condition of anonymity

"This is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in my life," he said. "All between the houses you could see people fleeing with items looted from the patients."

The looting spree, he added, could spread the virus to the whole of the West Point area.

Described as a slum, there are an estimated 50,000 people in the West Point neighbourhood.

The Ebola epidemic began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

One Nigerian doctor has survived the disease and was sent home on Saturday night, said Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu in a statement.

Mr Chukwu said five other people infected with Ebola had almost fully recovered.

On Friday, the death toll rose to 1,145 after the WHO said 76 new deaths had been reported in the two days to 13 August. There have been 2,127 cases reported in total.

Source: BBC

Monday, 18 August 2014 09:38
Published in Ebola
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