Aug 2017 1st Edition

Young people building ‘Africa we want’

Written by Sulaiman Philip

Africa News

Young Africa can shape that future by volunteering with the African Union’s (AU) Youth Volunteer Corps.

The South African National Rural Youth Service Corps volunteers. (Photo: GCIS)The African Union’s Agenda 2063 lays out the path for sustainable growth for Africa for the next four decades.

Every year applications open up for the organisation’s Youth Volunteer Corp, which brings together involved young people from all African Union members to work on projects in the education, health and HIV/ Aids, peace and security, information and communications technology, business and youth entrepreneurship, agriculture and environment sectors.

By giving African youngsters an opportunity to volunteer across the continent the AU is hoping to create a core of young Africans who will embody the Agenda 2063 slogan, ‘The Africa we Want’. Volunteers are encouraged to share skills and creativity and learn from each other.

The end result, the AU hopes, is a more connected and integrated Africa. As Ambassador Jean Baptiste Natama, the AU Commission Chief of Staff, told the group of 2016 volunteers, a continent that works together will be stronger and more relevant globally.

“As young people, you must move away from classical patterns, dare to tell our African history and make yourselves responsible for your destiny and the continents. Africa can dominate the world and it is within your ability to make this possible.”

Bringing in the voice of the youth

The volunteer programme is designed to bring the voice of the youth into discussions about policy development.

As the Ambassador explained, “We hope young people rediscover the true identity of African people. An identity based on the Pan African values of Ubuntu, hard work and humility.”

After a two-week training course, volunteers are deployed to a number of organisations across the continent for a year.

After his training, volunteer Toby Fayoyin said, “After spending these two weeks with friends from 28 countries, the sense of African integration has taken up life in all of us.” Tunisian Refka Dahmeni was also an AU volunteer. After her stint she said, “We were encouraged to be leaders in our own communities. We lived this vision of pan Africanism and it changed our mentalities.”   

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