As the year comes to an end, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of Africa Alliance of YMCA to thank you for your support this year. I am also reflecting on the great journey for the past 10 years in my role as General Secretary of Africa Alliance of YMCA. In 2007, the year I was appointed , we congregated in Accra where history was made. As leaders we committed ourselves to challenge the status quo as regards the YMCA programmes and institutional culture in Africa. We agreed to have a consolidated Movement as a collaborative body. We signed the Accra covenant, It was not just symbolic, it was the beginning of the rebirth.
We developed our shared vision: Empowering Young People for the African Renaissance. All over Africa, we all integrated this into our strategic imperatives. I am extremely proud of us for achieving a unified Africa with a continental branding, using a common shared vision and values, common logo . We started emerging as a united block, all with the same vision and common dreams for the African Renaissance .
We did an extensive research on what youth were grappling with and what youth wanted to focus on. Through this, Subject to Citizen (S2C) was born. This was our new operating system and we celebrated this with much joy and pride. S2C was built on the premise that with voice, youth can claim their space and bring the much needed change to the society.
In 2015 at our quadrennial meeting with the theme “ The point of no return, we marqued our resolve to move forward with empowering Young People and adopted “ The Agenda 2063, The Africa We want as our main strategic vision connecting with the aspirations of the African and its diaspora.
In 2016, the African YMCA leaders gathered to imagine the YMCA 3.0, an upgrade… a new vehicle to take the movement into a future that will be ever-changing and ever-evolving. So we stepped out in faith… in imagining and stepping into the future, the Y3.0 upgrade emerged as: Ecosystem: Family of influence: Powerspace and Service/Impact.
We have also embarked in the journey of creating a University, The African Renaissance University (ARU) The ARU is guided by the belief that Africa’s young people are the custodians of the continent’s future and therefore need to stand up and be counted if we are to secure a prosperous and thriving place for all in the continent.
The ARU Journey has not been a smooth one. We encountered many challenges including a major failure in trying to purchase a University in South Africa as a way to launch the ARU. Nevertheless, we have been using the concept of the ARU in revamping the Technical college in Kenya and we are about to conclude major partnerships to move the training institute to a level where we could transit to the University, regulations permitting.
Through the journey we gave reality to the African proverb which says: if you want to go quickly, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. Strengthening the movement was always key as we made programmatic and institutional changes. Important among this was the empowering of the National General Secretaries and Board, through regular seminars to think tank, share best practice and implement important methodologies such as systems thinking, and innovations such as Board development strategies.
Thank you…. This was made possible through unity of the African YMCA Movement and leadership and youth working together to make this dream a reality.
I think this is an opportune time for me to take my leave; to enable new ideas to flow through the heart of the movement. I leave you in the able hands of Ms Rakotomalala Lantonirina. Ms Rakotomalala is an ecumenist of remarkable dedication and experience. We are delighted to have her on board to continue serving the young people to which we are called. She has already been a tremendous asset to the YMCA as an NGS. Please accord her the support and cooperation required so that she can continue the work we are doing of empowering young people in Africa.
My legacy I trust is about us running the race together, about the journey, about envisioning a future and always being proud of ourselves as Africans. I shall forever cherish our times together and look forward to engaging in a new way as I now take my place as Secretary General of the World YMCA. We will be together over and over. I look forward to a new generation of African citizens and I look forward to pressing the refresh button as I continue to look to my roots and the new leadership in Africa for inspiration. I end with the African proverb: return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you.
I wish you a happy a cheerful and peaceful Christmas and a meaningful 2019
Your servant leader,
General Secretary of Africa Alliance of YMCAs 2008 – 2018