Scout Leaders from Across Africa and Beyond Converge in Harare as the 17th Africa Scout Conference Opens

7th September 2018, Harare - Zimbabwe: Over 200 Leaders of Scouting drawn from more than 40 countries in Africa and beyond have gathered at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, Zimbabwe for the 17th Africa Scout Conference that opened today. The event is organized by the Africa Scout Region of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and hosted by The Scout Association of Zimbabwe.

The Africa Scout Conference which is the governing organ of the Africa Scout Region comprising of leaders of National Scout Organizations (NSOs) in the Africa region meets every three years to formulate the general policy of the region through resolutions and elect members of the Africa Scout Committee – the executive organ of the Region. The theme for the event is Scouting in Africa: Building Foundations for Sustainable Development.

Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, the Regional Director Frederic Kama-Kama recognized and appreciated the Government of Zimbabwe for the support extended towards hosting the events. “We are going to work with partners who are committed to the development of young people. What we need as leaders is to create a conducive environment for Scouting to thrive,” he said.

In his remarks, Dr. Wayne Davis, Chairman of the Africa Scout Committee urged the participants to be examples to the young people worthy of their best selves. “With more than a century of experience, it is no coincidence that the theme for this conference is on Sustainability. Sustainable organizations are built on strong leadership,” he remarked. He further urged creativity and innovation in making Scouting more accessible to young people. “Scouting is a movement because it moves. If it stops moving it ceases to become Scouting,” he quoted the founder of Scouting, Lord Baden Powell.

Secretary General of World Scouting, Ahmad Alhendawi said that it’s a momentous time for Scouting in Africa and Zimbabwe as a country. “By gathering in Harare we come to renew our commitment to youth education. At the youth forum I saw an energy that was really electric - a true testament to the power of young people,” he remarked. “Africa needs Scouting and the world need Scouts, and we are here to accelerate our efforts towards achieving our Vision 2023,” he concluded.

Chairperson of the World Scout Committee, Craig Turpie observed that Scouts know what needs to be done. “Scouting provides and education for life which engages and inspires. Our vision is our collective call to action, he added. He noted that for all the challenges we face on this planet, the world needs more Scouts, and the voice of young people is very much alive in Africa. “ Let us recommit to create a better world,’ he concluded.

Hon Prof. Paul Mavima, Minster of Primary and Secondary Education in his remarks observed that the conference is important to the country as it comes after the recently concluded election which has opened the country into a new dispensation. “Young people, including Scouts, have a crucial role in the country’s development given their demographic, economic and political significance. There is need to come up with a unified youth development strategy to enable the Scouts of Zimbabwe and other youth actors to ensure streamlined implementation of youth development programmes. Scouts are highly recognized for protecting society against moral shocks,” he noted. He concluded by saying that there is a close relation between voluntary organizations to national development, hence the role of Scout cannot be over-emphasized.

The Chief Guest, Hon. Kazembe Kazembe, Minister for Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, speaking on behalf of H.E Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa said that, “I am pleased that the theme highlights the need for sustainability of Scouting and the realization of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Scout training aims at helping young boys and girls to acquire a multiplicity of values. I urge you to keep the Scout Law and devote yourselves to the services of your countries. I urge all those working for youth to mould them around such values,” he said.

Addressing the youth, he noted that they are the backbone of the development of any country. “We must as a nation help build a better world where the young people play a constructive role in society, he said. He wished the conference successful deliberations and implementable solutions that will guide the continents development.

During the conference, the leaders will receive and discuss reports highlighting the work done in the regions since 2015, review and approve the regional triennial plan for 2018-2021, elected new members to the Africa Scout Committee and pass key resolutions to enhance the growth and development of Scouting in Africa. NSOs will also be introduced to the new WOSM Services that seek to transform the support provided by the World Scouting to its members organizations. Delegates will also vote on among other things constitutional amendments and bids to host future regional scout events. There will also be a series of capacity building workshops, discussions on the movement’s policies and recognition of outstanding Scouts who have made significant contributions to Scouting in the region.

A Keynote address on “The Place of Youth Organizations in Achieving Sustainable Development” will be delivered by a the Executive Secretary of the Southern Africa Development Cooperation. Other guests expected to grace the event include top government officials, heads of global and regional youth organizations, business and community leaders.

The Africa Scout Foundation (www.scout.org/africascoutfoundation) – the non-profit resource mobilization arm of Scouting in Africa will also host a Networking Session for its members who are drawn from around the world. New donors who have recently joined will also be recognized.

The conference deliberations will also help to shape the work of Scouting in Africa over the next three years and towards the achievement of Vision 2023 of the World Scouting. The four-day conferences closes on 10th September 2018.

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