This past weekend, Africa Unite was thrilled to host 45 learners from the various Africa Unite School Clubs. The schools that attended included Masebambane High, Heideveld High, Nelson Mandela High, Rosendaal High, Portland High, and our newest school club, Ashton C.P. High! Five Africa Unite staff members and one peer educator attended the camp as facilitators as well.
The camp’s purpose was to identify and highlight the key roles and responsibilities of the different positions of the Africa Unite School Club Cabinet members and to build confidence in the learners to fulfil these roles. In addition to this, the camp was meant to cultivate and nurture leadership skills in the learners.
On the first night of camp, learners were asked to map their respective communities based on its assets and challenges. This allowed them to critically think about the challenges their neighbourhood faces, but also to highlight all the positive aspects that their community has. The learners were able to connect with each other in their struggles, and in their strengths. Some main challenges they noted were drugs, gangsterism, teen pregnancy, academic limitations, teacher absenteeism, socioeconomic gaps and racial tensions. The learners were asked to think about how their portfolios, ministries and individual skills can be used in tandem with their community assets to combat the aforementioned struggles.
Following this, the learners were tasked with a project for the day to challenge their planning and presenting skills. They were given a letter written by the “Ministry of Basic Education” that enclosed its plans to award R50,000,000 to the school club that presented the best proposal for the money while explaining the school club and working as a functional team. The learners presented their plans to a panel of “ministers” (the camp facilitators) to be judged on creativity and strength. They were very innovative in creating skits, radio shows and panels to convey their information. The winner was Africa Unites newest school club, Ashton C.P. High who presented very specific, well thought out and realistic uses for the money and displayed their understanding of the difference between Africa Unite and the AU School Club.
Learners were also able to discuss the current situation of water and sanitation in their schools. They designed surveys with which they will conduct baseline research with their school peers. The intention of this is both to uncover some of the differences between townships and privileged schools access to water, and to help inform their design of a water related project or campaign in their school.
Finally, the learners were able to work on their action plans for the year and put their intentions into a calendar. These calendars will be used to keep the learners on track for their goals over this year.
Learners gave feedback at the end of the camp that highlighted their experience. They noted that “we must work together to face the challenges of our community because our challenges are the same” and that “leaders can lead from behind, they do not have to be bossy to be a leader”. Learners also rightfully noted that “the responsibility of the future is in the hand of the youth”. When surveyed on their experience, 100% of campers answered that the camp defined their roles as ministers and that they now understand their responsibility.
Thank you to the camp venue, Apostle Battery Camp, and we are grateful to Praxia’s Catering and Décor for providing all the delicious food for the weekend. We thank all of the learners for their participation and look forward to the coming school year and all of the potential that will be realized!