From 19th to 21st of June 2019, volunteers and staff members from Thika, Shauri Moyo, Central and South C YMCA as well as volunteers from OAY gathered in Shauri Moyo to attend a training of trainers on SRHR and SexManenoz hosted by Africa Alliance of YMCAs. The TOT consisted of 3 full-packed days of learning, sharing and building competences on SRHR, with topics ranging from the more logistical planning aspects of sessions dealing with subjects from the SRHR umbrella, to how we act and behave as facilitators, to more in-depth topics on SRHR such as sexual and reproductive health and gender roles. And of course – we all learned some valuable energizers to take home.
The facilitators were competent and knowledgeable youth from AAYMCA, FHOK, Kenya YWCA and OAY, all sparking good debates and sharing their knowledge. The participants were attentive and contributed with important perspectives both on being and working with youth, how to be a good listener and how to create safe spaces for youth to share and learn. The SexManenoz concept is based exactly this.
How can we create that safe space for youth to learn and discuss SRHR issues concerning them? An important component of this is having safe and competent facilitators. Not facilitators who need to know everything, but facilitators who know a lot and who know where and when to get external expertise. This is necessary to ensure that the information disseminated among the youth is correct and reliable, and comes from a trusted source. The TOT did not only contain sessions that elevated the participants’ knowledge on SRHR, but also sessions on planning and making programs sustainable, including working with other organisations on SRHR. That is how we build SRHR knowledge for youth, and ensure that SRHR information is accessible no matter where you live. YMCA branches that are closely linked to and strongly rooted in communities are perfect platforms for youth to come and feel safe.
After having finished the TOT, the participants were challenged to bring the newly acquired knowledge back to their branches. In the weeks following the TOT, SRHR activities found place both in schools and in the YMCA branches, where the newly trained trainers used creative tools and safe spaces to spread SRHR knowledge. Thika YMCA held a training for the local university students, Central YMCA took SRHR to the High-Y clubs and South C facilitated a safe debate space for youth. And more is yet to come! This tells us one very important thing: if youth are equipped with the right skills and knowledge, they have great impact in their communities and information reaches wide. To all those who participated in the TOT and who continue spreading the knowledge – Thank you! With such brilliant youth in the YMCA, the future is bright.