Scouts in Africa are simply…. Incredible!
Incredible! That’s the word that best describes my recent visit to Kenya, Africa. I was at the Rowallan National Scout Camp in Nairobi, which hosts the World Scout Bureau (WSB) - Africa Regional Office, the headquarters of the Kenya Scouts Association (KSA) and borders the Kibera slum, which is said to be the largest slum in all of Africa.
I met with the WSB staff who were having the Regional Staff Management Conference. For four days, starting from 7 April, the conference reviewed the regional activities, and planned for the new triennium. The staff worked hard to draw a roadmap that aligned the region’s plans and contributions to World Scouting’s Vision 2023. This is simply amazing -- great team effort, reflecting the OneWSB spirit!
Next was a meeting with the KSA’s National Leadership.
Scouting was founded in Kenya in 1910, and thanks to the hard work of this Scout organisation, Scouting is today the largest youth movement in Kenya. It has a membership of 860,000 and has a plan in place to grow to four million by 2017. The work that the KSA is doing is amazing; moulding and impacting the lives of young people.
In support of the Kenya Government’s commitment to plant 50 million trees in conjunction with the country’s Golden Jubilee, KSA has also pledged to plant 20 million trees by 2017 to help increase forest cover in Kenya to at least 10%. Working in partnership with the National Bank of Kenya, Kenya Forest Service and other stakeholders, an incredible 17 million trees are already in the ground! Thanks to the Scouts, working under the Green Patrols Project.
I also had the opportunity to meet with Scouts from the Kibra Scout Troop. The troop was conducting a vibrant Scout programme at the Camp. The Kibra Scouts and their leaders are doing a wonderful job. Supported by Rover Scouts, the Scout Leaders have undertaken numerous activities to educate the young people and instil Scout values in them with the hope of empowering them to create a better life for themselves and their families. Great Scouts doing great work with limited resources! Incredible!
The young people from the Kibera slum gather for their Scout troop meeting at a school in the area. They would wear the Scout uniform for their meetings, but before going home, they would change back to their home attire and leave their Scout uniform in the school. They do this as there could be a temptation by family members to sell their Scout uniform to buy food for the family. Such is the severity of the living condition of these young people. However, despite that, they strive to live the values of the Scout Promise every day to be messengers of peace, and to create a better world in their families and communities. Oh yes, they also have BIG smiles to share! Incredible!
Throughout the trip, I continue to witness that Scouts are not part of the”Me” generation who wants to know “what’s in this for me?” Scouts have turned that “M” upside down to a “W”, and they join, what I call, the “We” generation… a generation of Scouts who know how to see the need in their communities and give their all to meet that need.
I am truly proud of them and am so honoured to have met them. Each Scout I met is a true Messenger of Peace.
My name is Scott Teare.
I am a Scout.
I am a Messenger of Peace.
I am proud to serve as your Secretary General.