Young peo­ple build­ing ‘Africa we want’

Vuk'uzenzele - - International Relations / Africa News - Su­laiman Philip

yoUng AFrICA can shape that fu­ture by vol­un­teer­ing with the African Union’s (AU) Youth Vol­un­teer Corps.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063 lays out the path for sus­tain­able growth for Africa for the next four decades.

Ev­ery year ap­pli­ca­tions open up for the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Youth Vol­un­teer Corp, which brings to­gether in­volved young peo­ple from all African Union mem­bers to work on projects in the ed­u­ca­tion, health and HIV/ Aids, peace and se­cu­rity, in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy, busi­ness and youth en­trepreneur­ship, agri­cul­ture and en­vi­ron­ment sec­tors.

By giv­ing African young­sters an op­por­tu­nity to vol­un­teer across the con­ti­nent the AU is hop­ing to cre­ate a core of young Africans who will em­body the Agenda 2063 slo­gan, ‘The Africa we Want’. Vol­un­teers are en­cour­aged to share skills and cre­ativ­ity and learn from each other.

The end re­sult, the AU hopes, is a more con­nected and in­te­grated Africa. As Am­bas­sador Jean Bap­tiste Natama, the AU Com­mis­sion Chief of Staff, told the group of 2016 vol­un­teers, a con­ti­nent that works to­gether will be stronger and more rel­e­vant glob­ally.

“As young peo­ple, you must move away from clas­si­cal pat­terns, dare to tell our African his­tory and make your­selves re­spon­si­ble for your destiny and the con­ti­nents. Africa can dom­i­nate the world and it is within your abil­ity to make this pos­si­ble.”

Bring­ing in the voice of the youth

The vol­un­teer pro­gramme is de­signed to bring the voice of the youth into dis­cus­sions about pol­icy de­vel­op­ment.

As the Am­bas­sador ex­plained, “We hope young peo­ple re­dis­cover the true iden­tity of African peo­ple. An iden­tity based on the Pan African val­ues of Ubuntu, hard work and hu­mil­ity.”

Af­ter a two-week train­ing course, vol­un­teers are de­ployed to a num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions across the con­ti­nent for a year.

Af­ter his train­ing, vol­un­teer Toby Fay­oyin said, “Af­ter spend­ing th­ese two weeks with friends from 28 coun­tries, the sense of African in­te­gra­tion has taken up life in all of us.” Tu­nisian Re­fka Dah­meni was also an AU vol­un­teer. Af­ter her stint she said, “We were en­cour­aged to be lead­ers in our own com­mu­ni­ties. We lived this vi­sion of pan African­ism and it changed our men­tal­i­ties.”

The South African Na­tional Ru­ral Youth Ser­vice Corps vol­un­teers.

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