Calling on Young People to Imagine and Commit to Building a Better Africa
Good evening and welcome to the first-ever virtual edition of the Africa Scout Jamboree. The Africa Scout Jamboree is the largest regular event organized by the Africa Scout Region, every four years gathering thousands of young people from all over Africa and the world. It is above all an educational event to promote peace and understanding. The Africa Scout Jamboree includes a wide variety of activities and also places great importance on everyday life and interaction on the campsite.
Regrettably, we're not able to converge physically in Uganda for camping as we had all wished to experience the hospitality of the Ugandan people and enjoy all the wonderful things the country has to offer. This is due to the global COVID-19 pandemic that continues to ravage the world since the first outbreak in March 2020. Thanks to technology, though, we're able to converge virtually and still share the friendship and global solidarity, albeit differently. Let me thank the Host Organizing Committee from Uganda Scouts Association and my colleagues from the World Scout Bureau Africa Support Centre for putting together this event and ensuring that we can still offer this unique jamboree experience.
Despite an unexpected turn of events, Scouts were not deterred from being Scouts. We have demonstrated great resilience, ingenuity and care for our families and communities. Scouts have been there to help frontline workers and vulnerable members of society combat COVID-19. This is the true spirit and magic of our beautiful movement. Scouts are adaptable, innovative and think of others before themselves.
The virtual 8th Africa Scout Jamboree provides an opportunity for young people to connect, learn from each other, share experiences, and develop their interpersonal skills. It will bring the world to Uganda virtually and through respect and appreciation of each other, the participants will become One People. The jamboree starts and ends with taking care of the different relationships established especially during a difficult time and coming out more united and rejuvenated to create a better world for everyone.
This jamboree is also about solidarity and humanity. It is a platform for each to feel part of humanity. Each participant will be part of the unique puzzle of kindness and sharing, particularly at a time when we need to support each other the most to go through this pandemic. It is a spark to rekindle the lasting spirit of love and unity among all generations.
At the heart of Scouting is nature, and we know you all miss the camping experience. We have put together the camping at home, jamboree top chef and Scouts got talent challenges to create avenues for you to still enjoy that outdoor experience at the back of your house, school or at your national Scout centre in a safe way while recommitting ourselves to care, protection and restoration of nature and its biodiversity. The jamboree programme will showcase some of these activities as a testament that Scouting never stops.
While engaging digitally we recognize the threats and challenges that technology may bring. We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive experience for all participants and have put in place online safety procedures to train our staff and volunteers, and to track and address any forms of online abuse. While we trust our Scouts and volunteers supporting them, I call upon all of you to stay vigilant and report to our Safe from Harm champions any issues you may come across so that we can ensure everyone enjoys this unique virtual learning experience.
As noted by the African Union Council of Ministers in its Resolution 1607 of 1995 that created the Africa Scout Day, “the future of Africa to a great extent, depends on the efforts it deploys to promote and develop its human resources, particularly its youth. Young people will be called upon to assume various responsibilities in their respective countries and therefore their education constitutes a decisive stage in preparing them for an active life.”
The theme of this Jamboree "Step into Africa's Tomorrow," is doing exactly that – calling upon you to imagine the Africa of your dreams and develop a commitment to contribute to its realization. At the end of this Jamboree, I hope that you will come out more aware and better prepared to step into Africa's tomorrow – a better tomorrow that is prosperous, inclusive, united, more sustainable, just, peaceful, secure, and value-based.
Thank you and enjoy the event.
Speech by Frederic Tutu Kama-Kama, Africa Regional Director, World Organization of the Scout Movement at the Opening Ceremony of the Virtual 8th Africa Scout Jamboree on 29th July 2021