Barely a day goes by without reading or hearing a story of violence amongst relationships within Zimbabwe. Most of these stories end in tragedy. Young people have been subjected to violence which happens within their homes and surroundings. Violence prevention programmes such as the Transformative Masculinity programme are helping to shape our society and indeed young people to desist from violent behaviours of any kind.
The socio-cultural construction of masculinity is central to the problem of men's violence against women, as well as the basis of potential sources of prevention. It is the role of society to support programmes that will help reduce men's violence against women by challenging and reconstructing predominant male norms and notions over women. It is also the role of society to promote and help cultivate healthier attitudes and behaviours amongst young people, especially the young men. This role is however, being neglected by society as concentration is now on bread and butter issues.
In the first half of 2014, the two implementing branches of the Zimbabwe YMCA (Bulawayo and Kadoma) held a programme orientation with key stakeholders to update and discuss the way-forward for the programme. The two events were well attended with stakeholders pledging support to the program. One of the key events that was lined up for the day were the intergenerational forums where young people held discussions with elders on how changes in culture have contributed in shaping the way young people behave. Another discussion also centred on the ‘Gender issues in young people in the context of HIV and AIDS’. This led to a heated debate on ‘Date Rape’ with some young men arguing that it doesn’t exist while women saying there have been many victims of ‘Date Rape’.
It is only through programmes such as Transformative Masculinity which re-define, re-order and re-orient youth masculinity that we will help to ensure a generation that treats each other, men and women, with respect.
By Sehlile Maphosa, Zimbabwe YMCA
The Act2Live Youth Health Initiative in Liberia continues to implement activities aimed at responding to the health needs of vulnerable groups of young people in response to the A2L youth led survey findings published in 2012. High on the list of concern was Fistula, which affects 55% of young women who suffered pregnancy complications and 31% of HIV/AIDs cases among young women.
In order to strengthen project synergy with partners, the Liberia YMCA A2L Initiative conducted a one day stakeholder meeting, which brought together 15 health actors from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other key partners. A prime focus of the agenda was the review of the Advocacy Strategy and necessary amendments made for effective and result based engagements.
Similarly, a three day peer education training support was provided to 30 old and new project volunteers from 12 communities in Bong, Lofa and Montserrado counties. This training provided specific skills in implementing community health interventions among the key project target: motorcyclists, teenage mothers and petty traders.
Moreover, the project recently embarked on the fight against Ebola, the deadly disease which has killed over 640 people in West Africa since the outbreak in March of this year. The A2L team organised a training and awareness session for staff and volunteers of the YMCA. As Ebola remains a public health emergency, plans are underway to reach the larger community through similar interventions and community awareness on the prevention of the further spread of Ebola.
Source: Liberia YMCA
Sipho Sokhela (SA YMCA National Director) at the signing of an MOU with the National Choral Music Awards Chairperson. The partnership brings together the leading lights of Choral music in South Africa and one of the leading Youth Development organisations in the world, the YMCA. With support from SA YMCAs international partners, NACMA intends to launch an international choral music festival in 2015.
By Mike Cuthbert
The Sierra Leone YMCA regrets to announce the passing of Rev. Fred Musa Karimu, former National General Secretary of the Sierra Leone YMCA. He passed away on Tuesday, 15 July 2014, at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown at the age of 72.
Fred, as he was fondly called, joined the YMCA in 1980 as a volunteer from his hometown in Kailahun before being employed as a member of staff in the dark and challenging era of our beloved nation’s civil war during the 1990s. He served the Sierra Leone YMCA as Refugee Secretary during this period, exhibiting his passion for service to humanity and dexterity in the distribution of relief resources to the internally displaced in Sierra Leone and refugees in Guinea. This passion was mostly directed towards the transformation of the lives of our young folks whom he always referred to as “the gems of our nation”. It was this same passion that motivated him to apply for and attain the position of National General Secretary in 2000 which he held until 2006. When he knew that he had reached his optimum and could no longer offer anything new to the Sierra Leone-Y he voluntarily retired to allow one of the vibrant youths he personally nurtured to assume the office. This was the turning point for the SLYMCA. A remarkable decision that remains unparalleled to this day.
Fred’s tenure as NGS was challenging. It was during a delicate period in our country, the transition period from conflict to post-conflict, from relief to development. He was able to run a series of youth development programmes, especially those aimed at skills’ acquisition by young people, to address the middle level manpower gap in post-conflict Sierra Leone. He was instrumental in the establishment of the YMCA Skills Training Centre in Kenema which has served over 1,500 young people since 2001 in acquiring marketable skills in trades like carpentry, masonry, tailoring and weaving. This Centre has now been transformed into a Technical and Vocational Training Centre that currently serves over 100 young people on annual basis and has trained and resettled ex-combatants in various parts of the Eastern Region. He should also be credited with the designing of several HIV/AIDS awareness raising programmes that were implemented in the Northern region of the country and the pioneering of a scholarship programme for school going kids.
After his retirement from active management service, Fred decided to return home to support and volunteer at his local YMCA which is now engaged in agricultural activities. He actively participated in national YMCA activities and would always visit the National Office from morning till evening whenever he visited Freetown. He had shown great interest in our youth empowerment programmes and always took pleasure in supporting young people whenever he was given the opportunity. Fred attended many international YMCA conferences including the World Council meeting in Mexico and several Africa Alliance of the YMCAs meetings.
Fred’s death is a shock to us as a YMCA family. He will be remembered for his electrifying humour in addition to his love for humanity and attachment to young people. His humour always came into play to ease tense moments during deadlines or when the Association was in dire need of funds. He would always say: “I will serve the YMCA till death”; a vow he upheld as he continued in serve as adviser to his local branch in Kailahun until his death. His enthusiasm for volunteerism is unprecedented.
Our dear friend, colleague and brother has left us with some legacies:
• To live life to the full.
• To avoid taking life too seriously.
• To smile a lot – it’s infectious.
• To invest in our young people, “the gems of Africa”.
• To be nice to beneficiaries, professional colleagues and people in general.
• To love your family, job, social life, hobbies, and never lose your zest for life.
Fred is survived by his wife and seven lovely children, they will need our support.
You will never be forgotten Fredo. You lived a fulfilled life. Continue to rest in the Lord.
Source: Christian Kamara, Sierra Leone YMCA