Last week from 6 May up to 12 May young people and delegates from YMCAs all over Europe met to attend the General Assembly of the YMCA Europe in Manchester, UK.
From Monday to Thursday the youth delegates met for a training together with some of the European change agents.
It was a great opportunity to make new friends, develop leadership skills, think about how the voice of the youth can be heard and of course share the S2C concept with other young Europeans. It was possible to discuss the different aspects and also keep in mind that we can learn a lot from each other - especially when we can all meet in Prague for the YMCA Europe Festival.
From Thursday to Sunday all the delegates came together to vote about the last years reports, hear the message from the General Secretary of YMCA Europe and also vote for a new budget in the coming year.
It was amazing to see that so many young people attended the Assembly. Some of the movements could actually only participate because of the youth seminar before.
Also in the executive committee we could see a lot of young faces taking their responsibility and face important decision making.
Nevertheless it is more and more important to train young people to take full responsibility in their leadership throughout Europe and improve the development already taken place. We, Sarah Simmank and Eva Herrmann, German S2C ambassadors, were talking to many interested young people during the youth seminar about S2C and made them curious to learn more about the concept.
During the General Assembly I had the opportunity to have three different rounds of discussions in a table talk method.
I was positively surprised at how many people were interested in the topic and interested to learn more about Africa. I explained briefly what S2C is and afterwards we had good opportunities to talk about the relevance of S2C in Europe, on the one hand as a concept itself but on the other hand in terms of partnership between the YMCAs in Europe and the YMCAs in Africa. It was very fruitful and in each round we concluded that such a concept has enormous importance in Africa as well as a chance to have impact in Europe as well.
Even the current president , Ed Eggink, and the former president, Peter Posner, of the YMCA Europe were attending one of the S2C table talks I was facilitating.
I had a very empowering time during this week and I am sure that we are on a very good way to work even closer together as regional movements in future. We can learn from each other in equal ways on a common level.
We can all look forward to the YMCA Europe festival in Prague: Many young people can’t wait to meet the S2C Ambassadors, get to know them personally and hear more stories on how much impact the S2C concept has.
Let’s learn, work, move forward and celebrate together:
“We love to live.
We celebrate and renew our passion, commitment
and faith in ourselves, in others and in God.
The YMCA is a global youth movement
empowering people and serving communities.
Let’s work together to change lives.”
Mission Statement YMCA Europe Festival – http://www.yefestival.com/
By Eva Herrmann, S2C – Ambassador
Child abuse is all too common in Ghana today. It is likely you have heard testimonies of people whose lives are shattered due to one form of abuse they suffered when they were children. Child abuse has dire implications the health, well-being and safety of our nation’s young people. It leaves both psychological and physical scars on the child through to his/her adulthood. Physically, some are maimed forever like a girl whose grandparents made her sit in very hot water desist her from bed wetting. In extreme cases, some of the children die from the ordeal as reported in the news on 15th May, 2013 of a 12 year old girl who died after being defiled by a 28 year old man.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), child abuse is any behaviour directed towards a child by a parent, guardian, care giver, other family member or other adult that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health and development. There are different forms of child abuse; sexual abuse, neglect, emotional abuse and physical abuse. We now find on the ascendency in Ghana sexual and physical abuse of children. This is not to say the other forms do not exist in Ghana.
Sexual abuse includes intercourse, touching up and any kind of behaviour that is sexual towards children. It is quite alarming the rate at which we hear of rape and incest cases on our media networks as each day goes by. Have we ever thought of the effects of these acts on the social and psychological development of these children? Victims undergo severe trauma with it long term consequences such as fear, anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, abnormal and improper sexual behaviour and suicidal tendencies surfacing later.
Early January 2013 in Ghana, we heard a story of two grandparents subjecting their 11year old granddaughter to severe physical abuse. According to the story, the grandparents made the girl sit on boiling water in a basin due to the fact that the child have frequent bed-wetting habit. This is indeed a barbaric act on the part of the grandparents. Many children in Ghana undergo diverse degrees of physical abuse from parents, guardians, relatives and others.
The Ghana YMCA gladly tasks all parents and families to raise RED FLAGS against child abuse and make the protection of children their first priority. Let us increase community awareness of the effects of violence against children. Government Institutions, Social Welfare Agencies, NGOs, Civil Organizations, Churches and the Security Agencies all have a responsibility to play by providing a protective environment for the growth and development of our children.
The children are our Future Leaders; let’s protect them for a great Ghana and a better Africa.
Source: Ghana YMCA
The United Nations is running a global online survey titled My World that is open to people from across the world to vote on what development issues are of priority to them as the next Millennium Development goals are being developed. The UN High Level Panel for Post 2015 is relying on this survey to determine the development goals for the next 15 year period and it is important for Africa and especially African Youth to make their voice heard. So far there has been very limited response from Africa on the survey and there is a risk for us that the development goals might not address those issues that are priority to us, our countries and our communities.
Our participation is important as we add our voice to a larger global process and this is also urgent as we only have less than 3 weeks before the results are presented to the High Level Panel for Post 2015. This is therefore our call to you to make your voice heard and to mobilise the young people in your networks to make their input. The online survey can be accessed through this link http://www.myworld2015.org/index.html. You can mobilise people to vote in the following ways
1.Posting the link on your Facebook Pages, Websites and any other social media available to you
2.Sharing the link during your Act2Live and other Radio Shows
3.During the youth meetings (Peer Educators, young advocates, youth council etc) you can organize to have a computer with internet accessible to members present to allow them to vote.
4.Encourage the YMCA/YWCA youth to mobilise their friends and relatives to participate
Participation in the survey takes only 5 Minutes. Attached is a presentation with more information about this campaign.
I made my voice heard and I urge you to make your voice heard too.
Source: Purity Kiguatha, AAYMCA
This is one report to which everyone must pay very close attention. The New York Times described it, 'The Plunder Must Stop!'
It has been a long held view, and rightly so, that indeed Africa is probably the most endowed place on earth with natural and mineral resources of all sorts, yet it is also one of the most backward places laden with poverty, diseases, conflicts, and ignorance. In fact, Kwame Nkrumah had said that if the resources of Africa were used for Africa, it would have been one of the most advanced places on earth!
What then has been the problem? In this report the issue of governance has been highlighted strongly, coupled with cooperation from the international government as necessary conditions to ensure that the resources of Africa benefit Africans. So far, our resources are a major driver of growth around the world, far beyond what they are providing to Africa itself.
The Africa Progress Report is produced by the Africa Progress Panel led by Kofi Annan and leading policy leaders around the world.
Source: Joseph Taiwo Peacock, Deputy National General Secretary, The Gambia YMCA