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.

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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…

March updates…

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The month of March is the peak period for farming activities in rural communities of North West Cameroon where we work. It started up with a lot of euphoria with various women’s groups receiving high quality farm seeds (potatoes, beans, maize, soya beans and cocoyam seeds) and training sessions on how to plant them properly.

Our environment and agriculture projects with rural women include nutrition classes. They learn what a balance diet is and how to prepare simple balanced meals recipes with available vegetables and we focus on sources of plant based proteins for food security. During the month of March, we worked with over 300 rural women in different villages. They received various nutrition classes. They were trained on the importance of soya beans as a vegetal source of proteins. They learned how to produce various products from soybeans like soybean milk powder, soybean balls with bananas.

 

They learned the importance of vegetables and how to prepare them through the example of a delicious and attractive meal using the potatoes, carrots and other vegetables they produce.

 

 

They learned how to prepare nutritive protein balls with a type of bean called locally “Koki bean”.

 

It is important to provide young women with not just a traditional education but one that can incorporate skills-based learning and advocacy for themselves and their peers. We have engaged over 60 women earlier this year on training sessions that will enable them gain employment  and improve the quality of their family lives. They have started by leaning how to produce powder soap and arts & crafts with recycled paper beads and plastic beads.

 

 

For women’s day activities, we organized training sessions for 5 groups of about 150 rural women and girls. We extend our sincere appreciation to Michelle, a volunteer of the African Youth Alliance, who organized a fundraising on her birthday earlier this year. Her gracious support gave us the opportunity to train these rural women and girls on two income generating activities.

 

4 groups learned how to produce body lotion

 

 

And one group learned how to produce peanuts.

Thank you Michelle and thank you all those who donated for our activities.

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

 

 

Support our first crowdfunding campaign

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Dear friends and supporters,

Kindly support our campaign to train rural girls for Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018 on the link below.

https://www.youcaring.com/africanyouthalliancegroupcameroon-1144556

A volunteer of the African Youth Alliance in Ghana

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We are proud to have our volunteer Stephanie at the Young African Leaders Initiative training at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration in Accra.
We are grateful for the opportunity and we look forward to sharing her experience and improving our activities with the lessons learned.