7th Africa Scout Youth Forum - Scouting: Africa’s leading force for youth empowerment
From 24 to 27 August 2015, a historic event took place in the Africa Scout region. A record number of Scouts, some 380 from 24 countries across the region took part in the 7th Africa Scout Youth Forum in the Ggaba National Seminary just outside Kampala, Uganda.
The forum, themed Scouting: Africa’s leading force for youth empowerment, kept the participants busy with two full days of activities followed by two days of Peace Dialogue training.
Highlights included the National Scout Organization (NSO) Market Place, the sharing of the National Youth Fora experiences, discussion on the challenges facing young people in Africa today, as well as the drafting and approval of the recommendations of the 7th Africa Scout Youth Forum.
The opening of the forum on 24 August was graced by His Majesty King Oyo Kabbamba Iguru Rukidi IV of the Tooro Kingdom who affirmed that “Scouting is the leading youth movement in Africa that is transforming often dependent young people into active citizens leading positive changes in their communities”.
His Majesty also challenged the Scouts to awaken the active citizen within them and move to take concrete actions on issues that affect their local communities to create a better world.
Also present were the Deputy Prime Minister of Tooro Kingdom, Harriet Nyakake; the Regional Director of the World Scout Bureau Africa Support Centre, Frederic Tutu Kama-Kama; the Chief Commissioner of the Uganda Scout Association, Eng. George Onep; the Chief Scout of the Uganda Scout Association, Prof. Maggie Kigoz; and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Pius Bigirimana.
On the second day of the forum, Prof. Maggie Kigozi spoke on volunteerism and entrepreneurship, noting that youths need economic empowerment to drive sustainable development. She mentioned that there is a big gap between the rich and the poor, which she attributed to the lack of volunteerism and financial literacy. She added that the values of Scouting are key to business success, hence a major force to curb growing youth unemployment. Other topics of discussion at the forum included WOSM’s Vision 2023, Messengers of Peace Programme and U-Report.
The Youth Forum also witnessed the election of new Youth Advisors for the triennium, which was an intense process. The six new Youth Advisors, who are now mandated with the responsibility to be the voice of youths in Africa are (l-r) Christa Anita Sophie Marie (Seychelles), Jean Cedric Nsoa (Cameroon), Pamela Akplogan Monbolade Urchelle (Benin) – Chairperson, Solomon Idopise Etim (Nigeria) – Secretary, Paddington Johannes (Zimbabwe) and Fred Ahimbisibwe (Uganda).
The final two days of the forum were spent on Peace Dialogue training. This was the first regional dialogue training conducted by the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID). Forty-eight youths from several NSOs attended the session which touched on various topics including Interworldview, Conflict Transformation, Dialogue and Dialogue skills, Safe Spaces and Facilitation, Dialogue in Practice and WOSM dialogue programmes.
It has been an exciting four days for the youths. The road ahead for Scouts in Africa is indeed exciting and inspiring. Great things are definitely in store as Scouts in the region are being empowered and equipped to be active global citizens.