A Wave of Change Blazes through Africa

Subject 2 Citizen Ambassadors Meet in Nairobi for Second Phase of Trainings

From 3-9 February, the second phase training for Karibu partner African Alliance of YMCA's (AAYMCA) "Subject 2 Citizen" Ambassador program is taking place at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi, Kenya. 19 young people from across Africa have gathered to gain skills to identify the causes of crises in Africa, determine positive alternatives and solutions required for new directions, and to grasp the shift in mind-set and belief systems needed to attain peaceful goals.  The full story can be found below.

Photo credit: African Alliance of YMCAs

By Raymond Ncube

After a year of field work and personal growth, the Africa Alliance of YMCAs’ "Subject 2 Citizen" Ambassadors gathered on 3 February for a moment of reflection and sharing at the 2nd Phase S2C Ambassador Training held at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi, Kenya.

To illustrate their different and uniquely amazing stories the Ambassadors shared their experiences and discussions on the best possible way to develop their personal skills and overcome their personal challenges.

Each ambassador had gained, they have developed as individuals and they credited this personal development to the S2C Philosophy. “I have learned to listen more to other people’s opinions and accommodate their particular ways of approaching problems.” These were my own words as my time of sharing came, it was amazing that some ambassadors were seeing this change in me too, “its true Ray, you were different in Kadoma,” echoed Karoline Martin an S2C Ambassador from Germany.

S2C has become more than just a philosophy developing interpersonal skills of the young people attending the training. This was apparent in Skhumbuzo Myeza, an Ambassador from the South African YMCA. His personal business has flourished as a result of his engagement with S2C, he has become more sure of himself as a businessman, able to communicate to his clients in ways that were seemingly impossible to him in the past. “I am more confident quoting the value of the work I do for my clients”, he said with an evident glow on his face. Skhumbuzo’s work had also been paraded in the YMCA in the journey between the two Phase trainings, he designed the report for the 1st Phase training and all seemed to agree that it was a great show of talent. Indeed this session of sharing was unfolding a tale of how revolutionary S2C is in these young people’s lives.

Change was not just in their own lives, they said. These young people have changed other young people’s lives across the face of Africa. S2C has a mentorship program in which the ambassadors attach themselves to a mentor and become mentors themselves too through Transformative Mentorship. Vuvuzela Khasindu, from the Kenyan YMCA explained about how he has become a role model in the town of Busia where he lives. “In me is great passion and young people know they can learn from me... I am now an opinion leader. He, through S2C, is convinced beyond any doubt that Peace during election time in Kenya can be a reality and has personally become a force of change. All present at the training received small “carrier” bags with bold letters “Vuvuzela for peace” and this showed the conviction this young man has and the commitment he has to share.

The young participants also showed how they had become relevant to the realities in their communities. “I am aware of my circumstances, where I have to speak- I speak, where I have to act- I act.” declared Ololade Areogun, Nigerian S2C Ambassador. One by one the Ambassadors spoke in reference to their unique communities, citing their efforts in tackling community issues. “Our message is that you can solve problems without violence” said Careen Magaah from Zimbabwe, a country that has grown famous throughout the world for pre-election violence.

However these victories did not come without challenges and each one poured their hearts out on the challenges they face. One common struggle was that with finances. Many of the ambassadors spoke of how their lack of finances hampered their efforts to spread the S2C gospel. They had needed money to travel, print material and for other logistical implements to achieve their goals. ”It was a challenging journey financially and there was no funding for S2C,” lamented Skhumbuzo. As part of their mandate, the young Ambassadors had been required to raise USD $1500, for the 2nd phase training and it was clear as they told their stories that many had struggled in this regard.

Some of the challenges they faced suggested skepticism in the national movements making it difficult for the exponential growth of the S2C Philosophy. In their feedback the youth echoed the impression that it was easier to share the concept with people on the ‘streets’ than within the YMCA, “I had to take it to the streets where people didn’t know about it because those who thought they knew about S2C were not as receptive”, said an evidently worried Skhumbuzo.

After all this the air of achievement still flowed within the room and the young people had some encouraging words for each other. Not all of them had the same challenges and they shared their victories and how they had overcome them. It was evident that this group was a workmanship in progress. Karoline Martin, a Young Ambassador with the German YMCA, said in her closing session remarks to her peers, “dream big because big things can only get bigger.”

A proud Gil Harper, International and Corporate Affairs AAYMCA, stood up and congratulated the young ambassadors for the work they had done. She however went a step further and challenged them to do much more ‘awesome’ things because they had the potential and could achieve all their goals.


The Africa Alliance of YMCAs (AAYMCA) is a leading pan African youth development network on the continent, representing national movements in 22 countries. Through their programmes and projects, AAYMCA gives marginalized youth the opportunity for personal development and empowerment, and equip them with the skills to develop into leaders to make an impact on future generations.

Posted by Karibu Foundation - Last updated 08.02.2013