“A weekend uniting Africa’s youth Human Rights Practitioners”
It’s a new year and a new wave of human rights activist have committed themselves to be Human Rights Peer Educators to develop the continent of Africa.
Africa Unite held its annual Human Rights Peer Educators Training Weekend from the 22nd to the 24th of February 2019 . The training was held at the lovely resort of Goedegedacht Farm in Malmesbury Cape Town, South Africa.
This year the training included a diverse group of youth from across the African continent, from 23 local and 7 youth from our Africa Exchange program. The exchange youth included 5 youth from Madagascar, 1 from Zambia and 1 from Lesotho. The purpose of the exchange program is to continue building a bigger movement of young people in Africa that can collaborate together in the realisation of their human rights and to build a culture of human rights communities in Africa. The 7 stayed with us for a period of 1 month where they worked closely with local South African youth and stakeholders as part of their practical implementation of human rights. The youth are expected to transfer some of this knowledge and experiences in their own countries upon their return.
On Friday the 21st of February, the youthful group participating in the training started off their journey and throughout the traveling, networks were already being built. Upon arrival at Goedgedacht the participants familiarised themselves with each other and further engaged on the topic of human rights. Together, the youth participating had a continuous dialogue pivoting on the subject of human right. This was an engagement which continued throughout the training weekend, with an edition of looking further into the art of human rights education. Hence after, all participants were further equipped with skills on how to be human rights educators by our facilitator who is a renowned humanitarian and Africa Unite Chairperson Mr Vincent Williams.
The training covered the following topics:
- Human Rights Principles
- Human Rights Education: What and Why?
- Instruments protecting Human Rights locally and globally.
- The rights of vulnerable people (people with disabilities, women, children, elderly people, refugees and migrants etc).
- The Death Penalty Controversy
- How to build Human Rights Communities.
- How to facilitate human rights information sessions in various communities.
The most exciting event of the weekend was the mock presentations to the African Union assembly by the youth who were divided in different African countries. For this, the activists were grouped in 4 different countries; Uganda, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia and it is in these groups were the countries competed for $200 Billion offered by the World Bank through the African Union. Each country was asked to select a president and the rest of the members were either civilians or cabinets of the country. As the final group work, the above countries were instructed to deliver a presentation to the acting Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki. The youngest in the group, Marchilino February from Mannenberg in Cape Town, was selected as the Chairperson of the African Union. Each country was tasked to do a presentation based on the following topics: a brief history about the country, current political issues, socio-economic and cultural dynamics, and how each country intends to use the $200 billion donation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
After outstanding presentations which further combined the arts, the 4 countries executed their presentations, and ultimately Ethiopia took the prize due to their well informed and highly creative presentation. To mimic the traditional winning procedure, the group members were issued a mock cheque of $200 billion for aid to their country. Nonetheless, the purpose of this activity was not just to highlight the importance of team work, but rather to also allow our youth to research and understand the political and socio-economic background of other African countries. A background which we stress all Africans to familiarise themselves with.
On the final day; Sunday the 24th of February, the workshop was concluded by Mr Williams with a set of exercises which encompassed everything which was covered throughout the weekend. He further opened up the session to more engagements on the steps forward and how the skills acquired during the training can be utilised in practice in the communities the participants work in.
Moreover, the youth from different backgrounds was extremely excited about the different levels of interactions, content of the training and the skills which were gained throughout the weekend. They reflected on their experiences, provided constructive feedback to enhance the program, and thanked Africa Unite for this learning opportunity.
Overall, the youth made a clear commitment to go back in their respective communities and countries, and conduct similar information sessions.
Here are some reflections from the young leaders;
“The workshop was a great learning environment, Mr Williams facilitation was pure art, as he facilitated it in a straightforward and contextual manner. As a previous university student, this provided me with grassroots understanding of Human Rights and it allowed me to network with like-minded people” – Nelly Dludla (Lesotho)
“I gained more than I anticipated, I learnt how little I know about human rights. I am highly inspired by the use of arts in the presentations and this is an element which I will be taking home because it is effective presenting. Essentially, I will never get tired of learning how people think especially in South Africa. In my opinion, South Africans represent their nations disregarding their differences.” Lineo Mahlaka (Lesotho)
“Africa Unite as an organisation has met their objectives. This camp encompasses nothing but a diverse group of likeminded people. The workshop made me realise that there were limitations on my HR knowledge. This weekend I was remined that knowledge is power; however, application is needed, therefore how you apply it becomes the source of power” -Marlene Van Dieman (South Africa)
“The workshop increased my knowledge in human rights and really increased my confident even though my English is limited. I truly appreciate the friendships I have made and I’m looking forward to working together in building a better Africa” – Santatra Anjatiana (Madagascar)
Africa Unite would like to give a special thanks to Vincent Williams for the professional and high-quality facilitation. Our special thanks also goes to our funders DKA- Austria and CCFD and other individuals.