A four-day youth seminar dubbed ACTION, took place in Naivasha – Kenya from 19th to 22nd of June 2017. The seminar was a joint initiative by Arigatou International – Nairobi, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and Changemaker, with technical support from Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre. The event gathered 26 REJADH (African Children and Youth Network for Human Rights) leaders from Burundi, DRC, Mali, Somalia and South Sudan. ACTION was designed on the model of Changemaker yearly camp SommerSNU.
The four-day seminar had sessions facilitated by guest speakers and youth on various topics including Gender, Gender Based Violence and advocacy and other thematic areas related to youth activism and the Myth of Maputo Campaign.
The seminar was opened on the international Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. To celebrate this day, 26 REJADH youth leaders from the various countries represented in the seminar participated in several activities – dubbed Youth Must Take Action!
Facilitarors from various organizations joined the youth these include; Moses Omondi, Christian Rumu, Nafula Wafula and Salima Marakuru from Life & Peace Institute, Amnesty East Africa, Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) respectively discussed and shared on topics such as Courageous leadership, Organizing for Change and Gender and Sterotypes.
The youth also had an opportunity to facilitate sessions such as gender and girls empowerment, peace building and conflict resolution, rural development and challenges facing children in South Sudan, Interpersonal competencies and efficient interactive communication.
Ms. Carol Kiiru from Kenya Youth Climate Network (KYCN) shared on youth engagement in advocacy and policy. “Beyond meetings, we need to inject ourselves to the system and act!” she said. In addition, Mr. Arnold Ambundo from ACT Alliance Kenya Kenya discussed the responsibilities and actions required from youth advocates.
Rev. Nyabera, Director, End Child Poverty moderated a panel discussion on gender and religion which allowed panellists to exchange, reflect and debate on ‘religion as part of the problem and part of the solution in ending Gender Based Violence.’ Panellists included Fr. Evangelos Thiani, Priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church; Dr. Rev. Lydia Mwaniki, a priest in Nairobi; Koko Mohamed, a banker, as well as a psychological councillor; Abdikarim Hassan, from Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, Prof. Karen Torjesen and Prof. Grace Wamue-Ngare both from the Tamar Campaign.
In conclusion, youth participants pledged to go back to their respective countries and inform other youth what they learnt and particularly expedite their advocacy work so that they can reach influencers and policy makers to implement the Maputo protocol and end Gender Based Violence. The participants wrote on a banner highlights of the week, which summarized in key words or short sentences what they had learnt during the ACTION seminar some of the messages were; End Gender Based Violence (GBV), End Violence Against Children, Maputo Protocol is a Solution and youth must participate in advocating for change.
The four-day event was closed with a concluding ceremony, which was organized by four volunteers from the REJADH team. The event included traditional dances, closing speeches by both participants and organizers.
Read the newsletter publication that mainly features the past activities of the African Youth and Children Network for Human Rights (YCNR) (Réseau des Enfants et Jeunes Africains pour les Droits Humains REJADH) here; http://bit.ly/2j4tudO