“Young people are experts of their own experience. No one knows being youth today than the youth themselves”
It has been exactly a week since I graduated from my university. With all this excitement, I couldn’t get a better gift from ELF than this session. As I went through the session, I could clearly see it as a great gift to me. The session inspired me, challenged me and more so shaped my mental focus and strength for the life journey ahead. To summarize in one word, the session was – excellent!
The experience of going through a session, finding out that you have not really done and that you need to hit the reset button in your life in order to progressively move forward was an eye opener to me.
With the theme of Governance and Pan-Africanism, we started off with a training on “Letter to Self”
“Self–awareness is being conscious of who you are and who you are not”
We were encouraged to always learn to go an extra mile and that the self is the basis of your leadership journey. Before we started to write letters to self, we learnt about the basics of character (5Cs);
- Consciousness – Everything comes from consciousness
- Consumption – Our environments shape us to be who we are. This is the reason why President’s kids become Presidents
- Choices – Choices are the basis of our own lives
- Cheer yourself up – Learn to be your own cheer leader
- Correct yourself – If you don’t learn to correct yourself, someone else will
- As a nation, we need to have a true conversation with ourselves.
- Pan-Africanism should start in our families.
- Pan-Africanism is about identity at a higher level. This connection should not only
bind us but liberate us.
- The love for our continent fuels Pan-Africanism.
- The future of any nation is dependent on the young generation. It cannot depend on us
if we cannot show interest/be involved in current issues.
- Africa is not interested in people who can die for it but those who can live for it.
- The importance of knowledge and information is that;
It makes you a better person
It is worth the sacrifice
It helps you to write more, know more and read more
It helps you in making intellectual conversations
It creates value in you. When you create value in you, people notice it.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”-
Ralph W. Emerson
The afternoon session was led by Mr. Maliba. He started out with the above statement. We
had some basics on youth engagement. He informed us that youth engagement happens when
young people have sustained connections everywhere in their life. The determinants of
- Social and economic environment
- The physical environment, and
- The person’s individual characteristics and behavior
The spheres of youth engagement include;
- Self-engagement: Emotional, psychological, or physical well-being
- Families: Home, recreation, decision-making, food and nutrition, culture.
- Community: Peers, faith, communities, school, and other community settings
- Society: Mass media, industry and the economy, social service, their neighbor and
Engagement is a cognitive process i.e. when the brain becomes stimulated by external
stimuli, in this case relating to politics, elaboration occurs. To engage effectively, young
people must understand where we are, get their context and global context right. The steps for
effective engagement includes;
- Seek to be included from the beginning – Be part of all steps
- Have a clear purpose and plan – It will bring the right people along
- Identify and secure resources i.e.
Human resources: coordination, training, supervision and mentorship.
Financial resources: power, requires energy a lot of it.
Partnership resources: leverage resources, piggyback on existing streams
- Find role play clearly valued in dignity and be empowered because power responds to
power, speak power, be knowledgeable, be informed and know your stuff. Create a
feedback and learning loop that will allow continuous program modification based on
youth input sound boarding.
- Structural support and training –Support vs. Empowerment.
Lastly, Mr. Maliba finished the session with a discussion on the tools of engagement. In
summary, here is what he said,
a) Canvasing: Face to face is still king. People can be mean on phone or email; they
are likely to have empathy in one –to-one engagement.
b) Social media and technology: All of us are well versed with it but its use is still a
c) Relationships: Be relational. This doesn’t mean that you are sucked up.
d) Protest: Like war, protest is never an end in itself. Protest in dignity is more
important than living in indignity.
In conclusion, all we can do is study the lives of people who seem to have found their
answers to questions of what ultimately human life is about as against those who have not.
Everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find.
Emerging Leaders Foundation Cohort 5 Mentee