By: Gael T. Rutembesa
It was another bright and sunny day at MS—TCDC in Arusha, Tanzania, that the youth woke up to after a night of fun social activities: a bon fire with karaoke, rap and spoken word performances. The spirit of unity seems to be getting stronger as the youth kicked off the morning from where they left off the previous night.
The day started with an icebreaker and team building games that made for a great warm up. Sounds of hearty laughter filled the main venue as the delegates mingled and creatively shared their main highlights from Day 1’s sessions, leaving no doubt they were ready and eager to soak in more from Day 2.
Thematic area of the day: Civic & Social Leadership
Rwanda’s Miss Earth/Popularity 2017, Ms. Uwase Hirwa Honorine started with a plenary address on “The Role of Youth in Environmental Protection, Climate Justice and Social Economic Rights,” where she stressed the importance of fighting deforestation, and maintaining the East African landscape, most especially since all its economies rely on agriculture. Various questions, concerns and contributions were raised by the delegates, making for an interactive and productive session that left some inspired and other’s fires reignited to make a change in their home environment.
After a short tea break, sessions were broken down and held in different venues, including the East African Community Headquarters in Arusha city. Buses were available to transport both the moderators and delegates to and from there.
These sessions each consisted of 10 – 20 delegates, encouraging a more intimate and interactive environment to cover a variety of topics. The groups were broken down further into smaller groups of 2-3 where the youth, with their different and respective perspectives brainstormed and together searched for solutions to the challenges they face.
Some of the topics (among several others) discussed were:
- What are the challenges of young people in East Africa if they are to organise and fight against unequal power relations and injustice? And how can young people mitigate these challenges?
- How can the youth bring their ideas to life, and design products that customers love?
- The role of youth in Humanitarian Leadership and Response to Emergencies and Professional Development Opportunities available at the Humanitarian Leadership Academy.
Following the lunch break was another ice breaker to re-energise and turn the heat up on an already hot afternoon, before delegates shared a short recap of what they learned, leaving their fellows in awe of the deep and thought provoking insights they developed in the sessions they attended earlier.
Next up was a Panel Discussion on the topic, “Youth and the Global Sustainable Development Goals – Opportunities and Challenges.” Amidst the issues presented, rose a challenge to the youth to be the ones to take charge and be the ones to initiate change in their communities, rather than simply talk about it. They were also later challenged to break into groups of 10 and each come up with 5 things to do from today to the next YouLead summit to fulfill the 17 SDG (Sustainable Development) goals.
Lastly, before the multi – faceted conversations was a Plenary Address: “Youth and the Africa 2063 Agenda: Perspectives from YMCA Africa Alliance,” which addressed and sparked a discussion on the issue of which type of Africa we want to build and see by the year, 2063. With where the world is heading, how are we going to respond to the projected issues we’ll mostly likely face in our societies? For example, the LGBT society.
The day ended with a short break as delegates had a chat while others enjoyed a small photo exhibition that featured pictures of them that had been taken in the past 2 days.
Day 2 was a success. 3 more to go. It only gets more interesting from here.
Photos by: Fahad Fuad