August 2018 updates

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The month of August was a busy and very fruitful one.

We continue to monitor our environment projects with about 14 functional community gardens and farms for 7 groups of rural women and girls. It is the harvesting period in most gardens and farms for these groups of rural women and girls that engage in agriculture with the African Youth Alliance.

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Our activities for the month covered:

  • Computer training for a second batch of 11 women and girls in Bamenda
  • Completed the training on jewellery and crafts with recycled paper and plastic beads designs with 5 girls,
  • Powder soap production for a total of about 80 women and girls from a village of North West Cameroon
  • Training on Menstrual Hygiene Management and distribution of 121 reusable sanitary pads and 50 pants to over 50 rural women and girls internally displaced by the crisis in North West Cameroon

 

  1. Computer training

We have always had many requests from our groups of women and girls to be empowered on computer literacy.  It is like a dream come true when they started the training last July. We have so far trained 16 women and girls in 2 sets. They young women and girls were taught Microsoft word, publisher, PowerPoint, excel just to name a few. Among all the programs, the trainees disclosed that the most challenging was Excel while the most interesting was Publisher.

The girls are very happy with what they have learned so far and are confident that with constant practice, they are going to greatly improve on their performance.

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26 year old Mirabel, a house wife is so full of excitement and plans to open her computer documentation upon completion of the training.
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The youngest in our team of trainees is nine years old Beri a primary school pupil. Beri is just happy to learn and know the computer.

 

  1. Arts and crafts training

The training on beads that started in July with five girls was completed this month with 8 girls. The girls have learned various designs of beads and are now marketing them.  They are very happy with the skills already acquired.

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  1. Powder soap production and Training on Menstrual Hygiene Management

Over 80 rural women and girls were trained on powder soap production.  They also learned menstrual hygiene management and the advantages of reusable sanitary pads. This training is critical for these women and girls.

Due to the conflict in North West Cameroon, many women and girls are internally displaced and cut off from access to basic necessities like hygiene products and sanitary pads. 121 sanitary pads and 80 pants were distributed to the neediest women and girls in the group.

We extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to WACRIA, who sponsored this project. We are very pleased to start an official collaboration with the association and we look forward to a fruitful partnership.

Kindly contact us at africanyouthalliancegroup@gmail.com if you are interested in supporting our activities.

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The African Youth Alliance at the 10th edition of the Cameroon Youth forum

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On the occasion of the International Youth Day, we would like to share an article of Stephanie, our volunteer in charge of Girls Activities. She shares her experience at the 2018 Cameroon Youth Forum in Garoua, Cameroon.

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THE 2018 CAMEROON YOUTH FORUM WAS A PLACE TO BE!!!

From the 16th to 20th July 2018, youths coming from the 10 regions of Cameroon met in Garoua to celebrate the 10th edition of the Cameroon Youth forum (CYF). This event lead each year by a civil society organization called Zenu Network was organized this year in partnership with the Cameroun National Youth Council (CNYC), The Young African leaders Initiative (YALI) Alumni Association and the US Embassy in Cameroon. About 500 Youth coming from the Littoral, South West, Center, East, North and Far North were hosted at the wildlife school of Garoua for an intensive week of activities.

The Opening Ceremony

The colorful and lively opening ceremony was held by the Minister of Youth affairs and Civic Education Mr Mounouna Foutsou, who was accompanied by the Governor of the North region Mr Jean Edie Abate, the SDO Mr Nkolo Eva Emmanuel, the newly elected President of the National Youth Council Mrs Fadimatou Iyawa and the outgoing President Mr Jean Marc Mbafon

 

The activities during the forum

Busy schedule for all the youth present; within conference on how to reinforce citizenship culture and voluntary activities among youth facilitate by YALI Alumni we had workshops on how to discover skills and talent, promote know-how and enhance living together.

Alongside of that the youth received some tools to develop their analytical skills through lecture-discussions, advices to enable them participate in the promotion and protection of their cultural heritage and build their capacities to engage with companies and state structures working on youth issues.

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Many youth by the occasion have been mentor by the YALI Alumni; Presentation of YALI programs and online registration on the ongoing YALI program, discussion on leadership and community engagement was the key topic of discussion between the youth and the Alumni.

The “Mandela day”

The 18th July, birthday of the venerated icon south African-born Nelson Mandela instituted by UN General Assembly in November 2009 was highly celebrated by the youth. The day, fondly called Nelson Mandela International Day, or Mandela Day, is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, and the ability to impact. The youth present in Garoua shown this commitment through several communities’ activities. The youth, together with the YALI Fellows in Garoua planted 100 trees for Mandela’s 100 years. On this particular event The YALI fellows visited an orphanage and a youth care center to share love and some gifts with children

“It is in your hands, to make a better world for all who live in it” said Nelson Mandela. It’s time for the youth to take the lead! And it first starts by engaging in their communities.

See you at the 2019 edition in the Center region!

 

July 2018 with AYA

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We had a very fruitful and successful month of July. The African Youth Alliance volunteers worked very hard to carry out all the activities that were programmed for the month despite the continuous unrest and sociopolitical crisis in our region and communities. Our activities covered:

  • Training on jewellery and crafts with recycled paper and plastic beads designs with a new batch of 5 girls,
  • Body lotion production for a total of 75 women and girls from 1 group in Bamenda and 1 group in a village of North West Cameroon
  • Monitoring of powder soap production and basic lessons in bookkeeping and accounting in 2 groups in Bamenda
  • Computer training for a first batch of 5 girls in Bamenda

 

Production of jewellery and crafts with recycled paper and plastic beads

The training on the production of jewellery and crafts with recycled paper and plastic beads is currently going on for 5 girls. They are being trained on various beads designs to produce earrings, bangles and necklaces.

« I am very excited about the on-going training on beads; my parents are also very impressed with what I have learned so far, my mother is very proud to wear some jewellery I have produced so far. I am very happy and grateful to be part of the group. » Albright (16 years)

 

Body lotion production

Over 75 women and girls benefited from this training.

We started with one African Youth Alliance group of 15 women and girls in Bamenda city. The facilitator started by listing the importance of homemade body lotion. They were advised to also extend a hand of fellowship to the needy in their communities after acquiring the skills. About 30 litres of lotion was produced and shared to all the participants at the training. The women were so impressed with the product given that most of them have kids and relations who are also going to benefit from the lotion.

The training on body lotion production was also conducted with about 60 women and girls in a village of North West Cameroon. The particularity of this group of women and girls is that it comprises internally displaced women and girls who flee the conflict in their communities of origin.  We extend gratitude to WACRIA who sponsored this training .

 

Computer training

A first batch of 5 girls are currently sponsored by our association to do computer lessons (WORD, EXCEL, PUBLISHER and POWERPOINT) in a multimedia center in our city. The trainees have been attending classes for over a month now. One of the trainees 16 year old Sandra says she can now boost of the following programs learned: Mavis Beacon, Microsoft word, Photo grid pictures, Construction of time tables and price-list; Computer short cuts, painting and postcards among others.

 

Monitoring of powder soap businesses and basic accounting/bookkeeping lessons

We encourage our various groups to establish small business from what they produce through the various skills they learn from the African Youth Alliance. They have engaged in the sales of powder soap since they were trained and we continuously monitor their production and sales of powder soap. A part from monitoring the businesses they establish, we have continuously supporting them with training on basic bookkeeping and basic accounting.

 Activities were very successful this month. We extend our sincere appreciation to all our volunteers and partners for their support.

We have the pleasure welcome Laura Hanzel

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our new Fundraiser Volunteer from the USA to our team, thank you for your kindness and continuous support!

A special THANK YOU to WACRIA who continuously supports our activities.

Kindly reach out to us at africanyouthalliancegroup@gmail.com if you want to work with us.

June 2018 updates

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The month of June was rather calm. Many activities slowed down because of the conflict in the North West region of Cameroon .

During this month, we reached out to 36 women and girls in Bamenda with various training sessions on financial management, female leadership

 

and arts & crafts (production of flowers jars and sandals with plastic beads).

Our activities with our groups of rural women and girls are limited due to the sociopolitical tensions still ongoing in their communities. We are grateful to have our groups of women and girls strong together and keeping up with their group activities. The communities where we work are the most affected, we try to keep up with basic activities. They hold on to solidarity more than ever before, some groups are growing bigger because they host many internally displaced other families, mostly girls and women from the area whose houses were completely burned down and who had some of their family members killed or abducted.

Despite the challenges and difficulties of displacement and life in the forest for some, they are all in good health. They more than ever need each other for psychological and material support. They more than ever need us because it is hard to have basic supplies like soap, sanitary pads, etc.

We extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to all those who supported our activities during the month.

Contact us at africanyouthalliancegroup@gmail.com if you want to work with us.

Busy month of May!

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The month of May was busy with activities at the African Youth Alliance despite the socioeconomic persistent troubles in the North West region. We had 3 major activities.

1- Education and awareness raising activities on Menstrual Hygiene Management The Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018 on 28th May was celebrated by all the girls of the African Youth Alliance. We had a series of workshops with 40 girls of 3 of our clubs: Education on private hygiene and maintenance of reusable sanitary pads, sharing of experiences and at the end the production of some pads by girls.

 

Through our discussions and exchanges with the girls,  we observed that there is a lack of communication between girls and their mothers concerning menstruation issues. Most of them said that they rather prefer to discuss it with their elder sisters or with thei rfriends. The reason given is that with moms the dialogue is not open, moms are not very attentive to their needs in terms of information concerning sex and even to reassure them. They feel freer to discuss with friends or sisters. Many girls didn’t know how to take car of themselves during menstruation, where ashamed to discuss sexuality and  even to pronounce words like sex, or vagina.

We had a surprise for all the girls present, 40 menstrual kits.

Each kit was made of:  3 pants, 3 reusable sanitary pads and 1 bag for storage. All the pads and kit bags where sewn by 3 of our volunteers. The excitement was at the top! All the girls gave their commitment to make a good use of what their received and to share the information to their friends, sisters and other girls of their community.

May activities for World Menstrual Hygiene Day wouldn’t have been possible without the gracious support and donations of

 

                                              Michelle our untiring volunteer in the USA,

 

                                                                   Toddia Njanga in the USA

 

The WACRIA Chapter of the University at Albany

2- Cooking lessons for use and income generation: During this month, we had a training session on the production of cakes; Yogurt cake, white cake, and soy beans cake for personal use and income generation.

 

 

The attendance, 39 girls present showed how much their value and are engaged for this activity.

3- Crafts and jewelry : The training session on crafts with beads is still going on in our club of disadvantaged women in Bamenda. About 30 women and girls are learning various designs of jewelry.

 

 

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While the training is not yet finish, we were glad to hear that some of them are already supplying customers. We will share some success story in our next updates.

Sisters Empowering Sisters is more than a motto at the African Youth Alliance, it’s a shared commitment!! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

April showers

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Despite some sociopolitical troubles that slowed down our movements to some rural communities where we work in North West Cameroon, we were able to reach out to about 80 young women and girls with various training sessions and discussions this month.

A new club of young girls (aged 12 to 20 years) students at the Government Bilingual High School Atiela Bamenda boarded our boat, to continue with us this exiting journey! We started our activities there with 25 young girls with a friendly and lively discussion on how it’s important to have a vision and career expectations, we motivated them to set goals in their life. We drew their attention to the fact that they are not too young to set life goals and it’s important for them to be focused right now. We gave them some tips and advice like getting a mentor, doing volunteering work during holidays.

The discussion ended with a training session on powder soap production for use and income generation. The activity was followed with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm by all the girls.

About 20 girls also learned this month how to prepare peanuts for income generation. Loveline (28 years) was very grateful as she said that it will be very helpful; she does petty business and she is going to include it in her market place to make some profit.

 

The training on jewelry and crafts with beads is still ongoing and many women and girls are already generating some income from their creations!

 

Another major activity of this month was the training session on how to produce reusable sanitary pads. The African Youth Alliance had the honor to welcome Mrs Feka Parchibell. She is well known in the field of advocacy on menstrual hygiene and Sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. 40 women and young girls were trained on how to produce sanitary pads with simple and affordable materials.

The training was also a safe space of sharing of experiences. Many girls shared their menstruation experience and the challenges they are facing. Many girls explained that is was very challenging to have pads every months, some used papers, old rags, clothes, etc. Some face degrading situations and treatments in order to have the money to buy the pads every month. The discussions with the trainer and the sharing of experiences on this topic helped to break the stigma and taboo attached to menstruation matters.

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The main lesson that came out was that menstruation is a pride and no woman must be ashamed about that. Every woman must menstruate with dignity; reusable sanitary pads are helpful to  avoid humiliating practices, debauchery to have money to buy sanitary napkins.

Contact us at africanyouthalliancegroup@gmail.com if you want to join us as a volunteer or to support our activities.

Sharing my experience at YALI Ghana…

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I’m Stephanie Machekom. I had the opportunity to participate in one of the highest leadership training in Africa in March 2018. YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) held in Ghana. I was enrolled in the civic engagement track. I graduated in 2015 from a business school in Douala; I have done several internships in prestigious companies in the banking sector, the aggro-industry sector but have not been able to have any job at the end. Even though I was working very hard and my supervisors always appreciated my work, it was the same disappointment at the end for me No contract! Only acknowledgements and promises to call me later for further opportunities. I thought that not being able to have a contract in a company with my strong background of graduate from a prestigious business school was like I was not good enough. I started losing confidence in myself.

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At the end of 2017, I decided to volunteer with an association called the African Youth Alliance. It was a good way for me to spend my time usefully and also to feel useful for others. I found a great passion by doing that and a type of joy in serving others that I never had in my experiences so far. I heard about the YALI fellowship from friends volunteering with other organizations. I understood it was a training opportunity for young Africans and that the selection process was competitive. During one of my researches on the Internet, I saw the opportunity for the cohort 9 training in Ghana and Nigeria. I applied and choose the Ghana location using my experience as a volunteer with the African Youth Alliance in the civic engagement field.

I have been selected among 4’000 youths, and joined a group of 138 dynamic youth coming from 9 countries in Africa: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ivory Coast, Ghana the host country and Cameroon. An entire book cannot describe my YALI experience; it’s a journey to live rather than to count! (Laugh) 3 weeks of intensive training, made of courses, field trip, pitches on various themes and cultural activities! Moreover the courses on leadership, emotional intelligence, Civil Society governance and sustainability, Social enterprise that I had at YALI changed my whole state of mind! Being surrounded by dynamic youths having passion for what they do, strongly believing in themselves and committed to effect change in Africa, committed to make Africa a better place to live gives me enough strength and self-confidence to go back in my community and impact! To do better than I have ever did in the past! Today my success will no more be evaluated from a contract in a big private company but to how many lives I will change, to how many persons I will be able to transform. The process has already started at the African youth Alliance.

YALI experience changed my whole live, I know the path I have taken will not be easy, but I also know that I’m not alone in this battle, many youths like me are engaged in this and we will engage more others, Barack Obama had this vision of a better Africa before initiating such a great project because he believes in us, he believes in African Youths and we shall never defeat! Africa will rise yes…