Training in Kisumu, Africa

In an effort to identify and increase membership in Kenya, World Youth Alliance Africa held a two-day Training Session for the youth in Nyanza province who are mainly from Kisumu and Siaya.

The Region’s Director of Operations, Esther Kanyi, with the help of four interns and one committee member of the Alliance, facilitated the training.

The two-day event tackled topics ranging from Foreign Aid, HIV/AIDS: Policies and Human Rights, Youth and Leadership in relation to Millennium Development Goals among others.

The Foreign Aid talk drew great participation and enthusiasm from the participants who developed a keen interest in learning more about Foreign Aid and how the youth can get involved in high key negotiation meetings for aiding Kenya. On the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s), participants noted that they are the leaders of today. Thus, more input and emphasis needs to be done so that the goals can be achieved as soon as possible.

On the discussion on HIV/AIDS, the youth said they are the people greatly affected and infected by the scourge. They urge developing and existing HIV/AIDS agencies and other organizations to develop ways that consider the dignity of the human person.

During the event, the youth urged the Alliance to establish itself fully in that part of the region and try to identify strong and well-organised local youth groups that it could partner and network with. In this way the Alliance could involve them in its programmes and activities. A total of 106 young persons attended the training and 61 of these a signed the World Youth Alliance Charter.

Thanks to Action Aid Kisumu that supported us fully and helped us organize for the workshop.


On Saturday, January 22, 2005, World Youth Alliance-Africa held this year’s Ubuchindami. Ubuchindami – Joining our Thoughts is an initiative by the Alliance to engage its members in book or article discussion in an effort to enhance their understanding of human dignity from a backgrounds and experiences. The Article, which was on “Identification of Common Traits in the Psychology and Sociology of Young People”, attracted 36 young people from various Nairobi institutions and youth groups.

The half-day event successfully joined the young participants thoughts to tackle the challenges they face which among others included: poverty, war conflicts, identity crisis, HIV/AIDS and other diseases, harsh cultural practices, lack of access to information, relationship crisis, limited resources, unemployment, negative media influence, sexuality, lack of guidance, poor governance, undeveloped infrastructure, neglect of youth ideas and general confusion. Nonetheless, the young group strived to come up with sustainable solutions that would uphold the dignity of the person, build life skills, encourage responsible stewardship and promote integral development.

Esther Kanyi, the Director of Operations, World Youth Alliance – Africa with the help of three interns facilitated the discussion.

The Article was also forwarded to our other members in other countries encouraging them to discuss on it. Ghana had a two sessions of discussions that produced a wonderful result. We are willing to forward you the article at your request.

“A groundswell of hope”
My impressions following the first WYA training in Rwanda are those of young person visiting from the West, who lived through the agonized deaths of many Rwandan young people but did nothing about it. When plans for this training session began to develop, I thus felt at a loss; how was I to stand with a group of young people who had perhaps suffered to the utmost in a national epoch characterized by the quotation which appears on the Kigali memorial placard, “In 1994 the murderers did not kill a million people. They killed first one. Then another. Then another…”?

Our two-day training session for students and graduate students met in a classroom of the St. Paul’s pastoral center, a place of refuge during the 1994 genocide, set on one of the highest hills in Kigali below the enormous cathedral of St. Famille, where the faithful still flock by the hundreds for worship. The young people who crowded into our small classroom would defy any statement to the effect that their country is merely a nation in recovery; rather, these young people expressed a vision of vigorous, victorious resilience and progress. As we discussed the familiar WYA principles of human dignity, responsibility, and love, the room hardly seemed large enough to contain the young people’s enthusiastic resonance as we applied those principles to potential initiatives in the local treatment and prevention of AIDS and to local, “small” initiatives for peace and reconciliation in Rwanda. I will be forever grateful to the Rwandan young people who so graciously allowed this remorseful American to ride, for a time, on the groundswell of their hope.

There were times, of course, when strong voices caught on the descriptions of the post-genocide times, whether in terms of widows, orphans, or ongoing recovery from trauma. The inevitable question arose even in the last hour of our training, “Were was the West then?” “Where is the West now?” The critical call to the young people of the international community is for the affirmation and support of the slow process of communal justice in Rwanda, and for sincere gestures of reconciliation and solidarity from those of us in the West. May we respond to these remarkable, courageous brothers and sisters of our with hope and diligence to match theirs as they implement a culture of life in their beautiful country.

~Mary Moorman