When my mobile rings and I see my mother calling I am usually very happy about it, but on this past Friday there was only one question in my mind: is there more water in our house?
Last week, after a heavy rain which lasted three days the level of many rivers in Germany are higher than ever. Especially in the southern and eastern part of Germany where the Donau is crossing the river bank. Streets, houses and whole villages are flooded. The level of the Donau is expected to get reach 12,55m, a historic number!
During this flood a lot of YMCA buildings have also been hit by the flood and the volunteers and staff are trying everything possible to save as much as they can. They are doing an amazing job: Taking care of the YMCA buildings but also supporting other people in their time of need.
In some areas, the level of the rivers are as high as they were 400 years ago. The atmosphere is tense and thousands of people are in danger. A lot of people had to leave their houses and stay in emergency accommodations like schools, churches and gyms. Some villages no longer exist and you can only see the roofs in between a huge amount of water.
In some parts of Bavaria, strong barriers broke down under the heaviness and the power of the water. In the southern part of Germany about 1 500 soldiers helped to evacuate inhabitants and build temporary dams. But still the water has so been strong enough to find its way. Everything in those areas is destroyed. Even when the water leaves, the mud will stay and a lot of work will be needed to clean up.
The German government itself tries to do as much as they can: In addition to sending soldiers for immediate help they also promised 100 Mio Euros emergency aid and another 100 Mio Euros for companies, communities and private people to get back to their normal life as soon as possible once the flood is gone. Still it is only a promise and it is on us, the citizens, to hold on to that promise so that families can have a livelihood as soon.
But we don’t only have to claim the money – we are now there to help our brothers and sister in Germany in any way we possibly can, whether it is through practical work or in prayers.
A lot of young people are willing to help as much as they can and it is amazing to see how fast a young community can work to resolve a situation even if it is just that strong sense that no one is alone out there. A lot of volunteers nowadays gather together because of emergency calls in social Media like Facebook or Twitter. The communication between young people and the willingness to help is greater than ever.
While the water should reduce slowly, nothing is certain. Some experts are still warning that further flooding can come from Czech Republic where the towns and villages are flooded as well.
I was worried about our house when my mother called me but even though we had some water in our house we were not as badly hit as other parts in our village or region. We could remove the water on our basement very quickly and move on to help others in our street.
I call on to my African brothers and sisters: Citizens, let’s stand together in prayers for the people affected by the floods.
Eva Herrmann, S2C Ambassador
Currently numerous discussions across the African Continent and the World are on-going on what needs to happen next after the 2015 expiry of the Millennium Development Goals and the African Union 50th Anniversary Celebrations. The conversations are taking place locally, in the AU Member States and through forums hosted by the African Union. It is imperative that the YMCA, as the largest and oldest Pan African Movement, participate in these process and that the AAYMCAs has been working to set the pace for this especially through the Act2Live Youth Health Initiative.
The AAYMCAs, through the Act2Live Regional Campaign, has been incorporated into the Pan African Health Advocacy group whose main aim has been to advocate for recognition of health as key concern for Africa. This Advocacy group is made of stakeholders and actors in the health sector among them, Save the Children, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), IPAS Africa Alliance and GAVI Alliance, and has been working to ensure that health targets are distinctly outlined in African Union’s Position on the Post 2015 Agenda. The Advocacy Group has spearheaded consultation with Civil Society Organisations working in Health and AAYMCAs input in this document has been adopted. The outcome document is expected to present to the African Union special Summit on the Abuja Declaration to be held in Abuja in July. AAYMCAs participation in the group has allowed for the youth voice to be heard in the civil society consultations and we are currently working to secure an opportunity to make a presentation on our learning and experiences at the Civil Society Meeting to be held in Abuja prior to the special Summit. The participation of the AAYMCAs has made it possible for us to keep track of progress in the Post 2015 discussions in the region and we are therefore more informed and better positioned to ensure that young people’s priorities are Africa’s priorities.
At the same time in Kenya, Kenya YMCA and the AAYMCA has been able to participate in “the Kenya We Want” Youth Forum organised by the Organisation of African Youth. The Kenya YMCA has particularly played a leading role in this process and has hosted several of the forums meetings. Through the Forum, the Kenya YMCA and AAYMCA has been able to make input to a Youth Position Paper that is to be presented during the National Consultations on the Post 2015 that will be held later in the month of June. Similar opportunities are on-going in different countries through Government and Civil Society and it is important that YMCAs contribute for the sake of the young people we seek to empower. Guided by our vision and our Philosophy “From Subject to Citizen” we have the responsibility to ensure that young people are at the negotiating table as the priorities and vision for the continent and the world is set. Let’s stand and be counted.
By Purity Kiguatha, AAYMCA
You can take part in the YMCA birthday celebrations by taking pictures of yourself with George Williams and send it through to the details below. You can also find other pictures of participants below.
1 – Change your Facebook cover and profile picture for the ones below!
Profile Picture: Download here - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151478946558181&;l=c9ec02dc80
Cover Photo: Download here - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151478946358181&;l=8cfb15b4ae
Have all your friends change it too!
2. Take a picture with George Williams, our founder, and send as attachment to
On the subject line write [YMCA-Name], [Your Name], tags: [Country] and #worldymca
Get a nice picture of George here:
You can watch pictures coming from all over at http://www.flickr.com/ymcaworld
3. Test your knowledge about the YMCA.
Take part on our online Facebook quiz on YMCA History!
It is a full day event on Saturday 22nd June at Hells Gate National Park. The cost is Ksh 3,500 per father and son. Any additional son will cost Ksh 1,000 each. The cost includes lunch, transport and park fees.
This is one of the programs under the Boys to Men Department in Transform Kenya designed for fathers of this nation to 'Call the Man Out' of their sons. It is an opportunity for fathers to do this as they take on the challenge of conquering Hell's Gate National Park together. Wisdom and knowledge on fatherhood as God desires will also be imparted by Pst. Simon Mbevi who will be together with us. It will be a great opportunity for fathers to call the man out of their son's as only a father was designed to bring this out.
Contact: 0726 955885
The YMCA Resource Group on the Environment (YMCA-RGE) invites you to submit your video and show support for the environment at the YMCA Prague Festival in August!
At the YMCA Europe Festival in Prague, this August, thousands of members from YMCAs from all over the world will gather. At the Festival, we will create a Global Call for the Environment. We ask your help in producing a short video clip (maximum 5 seconds) from your YMCA and send that to us. We will then edit together all these clips into a global video call, and present at the Festival!The clip will consist of one or several of your YMCA friends, simply crumbling a piece of paper and throwing at the camera. In the final scene, filmed by us, all that paper will come together and land in a recycling bin, and then re-merge, to be reused! Read the detailed instructions on how to film and submit your video at:
https://www.box.com/s/urr2ah9be7t8dtjv9w5y (deadline 20th June)!
What is the YMCA Resource Group on the Environment (RGE)?
The YMCA RGE is an international advocacy team of YMCA members from diverse national movements around the globe. The group seeks to promote the environment and sustainable development within the YMCA, help coordinate programs and actions among member branches and create a global voice for the movement on these issues. Through engagement with the UN and other international organisations, the RGE aims to ensure that the YMCA and the youth have a say in global processes and frameworks.
The group was set up by the YMCA delegation after the United Nations World Conference on Sustainable Development: Rio +20 in 2012, with support from the World Alliance of YMCAs. It meets online on a weekly basis and recently represented the YMCA at the UN Climate Conference in Qatar, and will do so again at the UN Climate Conference in Warsaw this year.
To get to know more about us visit :
On June 8 2013, YMCAs across the UK & Ireland joined us and 45,000 people at #BigIFLondon, to campaign for an end to the global hunger crisis.
YMCA’s from North Staffordshire, Wolverhampton, Bolton, Worcestershire and the Black Country joined the mass demonstration at Hyde Park to let the G8 know the UK wants them to act on world hunger.
Since the launch of the Enough Food If Campaign we’ve been working with YMCAs to take a stand against the scandal of world hunger, which included filming the IF Campaign paint fight promotional video and a flashmob inspired Spot the George event in Westminster. The months of advocacy culminated in a weekend of campaigning across London.
On Friday 7 June 2013, 20 young people from YMCAs providing social housing joined Y Care International where they took part in activities to boost their knowledge of the campaign issues.
Robbie Cheyne, Global Youth Work Co-ordinator said “It was great to see young people from YMCAs take the IF Campaign to the streets of London. From Oxford Circus to Regents Park they really made their presence felt, and you could sense the excitement as they spread the word amongst the public.”
The following morning, on the day of David Cameron’s hunger summit, the group participated in IF themed games and workshops to get them ready for the main event, Big IF London! Armed with cameras and homemade banners the young people descended onto Hyde Park to take part in the demonstration and document their experience of the event, interviewing the public and each other.
Tom Smallman from Worcestershire YMCA (pictured second from right, below) took part in several workshops on the day, and his message to his fellow campaigners, and the G8 was simply “Stand up, speak up, and support the IF Campaign!”
Hosted by TV’s Gethin Jones and Mylene Klass, the presenters introduced guest speakers ranging from Bill Gates, to film director Danny Boyle, to inspire the crowd that included hundreds of volunteers from charities involved in the campaign.
The message really hit home for 23 year-old Chartlotte Higgins, a resident from North Staffordshire YMCA who realised just how many people don’t have enough food to eat. “I learnt about the scale of the hunger crisis, she explained, “I knew it was bad, because you see things on the telly, but I didn’t know it was as bad as one in eight people going hungry.”
We are proud that YMCAs acoss the country came to London to stand against injustice of global hunger, and we hope we made enough noise so the G8 take action at the 39th global summit in Belfast next weekend.
Source: Y Care International
What kind of development does the world need? How should we set our priorities after 2015, the target date for the fulfillment of the UN Millennium Development Goals? Listen to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Macky Sall of Senegal, and other leading African policy experts on the importance of justice.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Elected president of Liberia in 2005, and joint coordinator of the High Level Panel on the post-205 development agenda established by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:
“Human security at all levels should be one of the new goals. And certainly, that should include justice.”
President of Senegal since 2012. A former prime minister and head of the national assembly, he defeated a bid by his predecessor Abdoulaye Wade to win a controversial third term:
“There are new challenges, regarding the safety and security of nation states, with the development of terrorism, which has moved from Asia to Africa and settled in the Sahel region.”
Head of the Southern Africa Trust, an anti-poverty group that promotes coordination between governments and independent groups, and board member of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA):
“We need to be addressing issues of justice in the economic sphere, of justice in the governance and political sphere, to be ensuring that the benefits of economic growth, progress, natural resources, are distributed more evenly across the societies so that everyone benefits.”
Senegal’s minister of justice in 2012, she previously directed the human rights policy of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA); her career has included leading work in Africa on reproductive health, gender and HIV:
“The MDGs were lacking a human rights lens... I believe that for the next decade we need to come up with a set of goals which are more inclusive, and more ambitious.”
Founder of a number of grass-roots organizations in Senegal, specializing in issues of popular participation:
“If think the issue of justice is a critical element which needs to be taken into consideration, because if we develop health care, or a number of other issues, without justice or fairness, where are we heading?”
In London on 8 June, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, together with an array of presidents, prime ministers, businesspeople and philanthropists, signed the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, an agreement to improve the nutrition of children and pregnant women around the world. Inside the meeting room, organizers said they had secured new commitments of up to US$4.15 billion to tackle undernutrition between now and 2020; outside, in Hyde Park, activists laid a carpet of flower petals to represent the lives of children lost each year through malnutrition.
The children represented by those petals do not starve to death. Rather, many of them die of diarrhoea, pneumonia, malaria or measles - the usual child-killer diseases - but under-nutrition is an underlying factor in many of these fatalities. Being poorly nourished more than doubles a child’s likelihood of dying.
A major new Lancet series on maternal and child nutrition attempts to quantify the damage done by poor nutrition. Taking into account infant mortality linked to undernourished mothers and nutrition-linked birth defects, the authors of the study estimate that poor nutrition is the root cause of 45 percent of child deaths - 3.1 million deaths among children under age five each year.
Mortality figures would seem to be the ultimate measure of the world’s failure on nutrition, but the broader damage, say many in the field, is to children’s long-term development.
Sally Grantham-McGregor, of the Institute of Child Health, said, “Really, we have to move on from the outcome being death. We know that once children get severely malnourished, their development is going to be bad. Once a child is severely malnourished, feeding alone will only save their lives, not their brains. We are perpetuating the cycle of poverty, and we have got to break it.”
There has been progress since the last such report was published five years ago. The number of the world’s children who are stunted - who never grow to their potential height - has dropped steadily over the past two decades, from more than 253 million in 1990 to 167 million in 2010. The drop has been especially dramatic in Asia. In Africa, the percentage of stunted children has dropped, but population growth means that the numbers affected have actually risen.
In the past five years, there has also been a steady accumulation of knowledge about what works to reduce malnutrition. This new Lancet series aims to go further than its predecessor by presenting a list of 10 interventions whose effects are backed by scientific evidence.
It recommends: universal salt iodisation; the promotion of early and exclusive breastfeeding; micronutrient supplementation for all pregnant women; calcium supplements for pregnant women who need them; food supplements for pregnant women who need them; vitamin A supplements for children between six months and five years old; zinc supplements for children between one and five years old; education about appropriate complementary feeding, backed by supplements where needed; proper management moderate acute malnutrition; and proper management of severe acute malnutrition.
The authors estimate that if this package achieves 90 percent coverage in the 34 countries with the highest malnutrition burdens, it could save nearly a million lives a year at a cost of $9.6 billion.
The lead author of the paper on interventions, Zulfiqar Bhutta, of Pakistan’s Aga Khan University, said, “We believe that these 10 nutrition-specific interventions have the potential to save lives. The cost is affordable for a world which spends close to a hundred times more than this on conflict.”
The World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed the proposed package. Its executive director, Ertharin Cousin, told IRIN, “We believe that it’s very helpful, a recognition that the provision of interventions does make a difference in an area where WFP has a comparative advantage - distributing micronutrient support to mothers and to children… And we have now announced a partnership with UNFPA [the UN Population Fund] where we will support pregnant and lactating women’s access to nutritious food, as well as adolescent girls.”
Interventions that do not directly involve nutrition also have a role to play. The health of adolescent girls, their education level, and the age at which they marry and start to have children all affect the nutritional status of their children. Targeted agricultural programmes can improve child nutrition, as can social safety nets and other programmes to reduce poverty. But one of the hurdles to improving mother and child nutrition is that it must bring together many different disciplines and agencies.
Political will needed
Better nutrition is now a more high-profile cause than it has been in the past. The food price spike of 2008 brought the issue to the fore, and the UN high-level panel on post-2015 development goals has recommended the inclusion of a separate goal on nutrition.
But Lancet editor Richard Horton told a symposium on the series: “The high-level panel is only one strand of [a] series of political processes that are taking place over the next six to 12 months. So although we should feel good that nutrition and food security are there, we should not be complacent about its position in the political process.”
Talking about ways of building commitment on the issue, Lawrence Haddad, the director of the UK’s Institute of Development Studies, stressed the need for political action. “You don’t often see the words ‘politics’ and ‘malnutrition together’… but international development is political - no two ways about it. And malnutrition is potentially more political than some other issues because it needs lots of different actors to come together to act in concert towards something that none of them could achieve on their own, and that requires a lot of coordination and alignment of incentives… Also, we know that malnutrition in many of its guises is invisible.”
Haddad says malnutrition must be reduced through deliberate action. Improvements in nutritional status tend to lag behind economic growth, he said, meaning people must apply pressure to make their leaders fulfil their commitments.“ Let’s will the politicians to act,” he said.
Niamey — In Niger, a country where 67% of the population is under 25 years of age, the problem of youth unemployment and underemployment is acute, given that the lack of job opportunities threatens to undermine the country's political and economic stability.
"You, the young people of Niger, have the potential to become an engine for development in Niger, provided that sufficient investments are made in health and human capital," said Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director of the World Bank Group, during her recent visit to Niger at a meeting held at the World Bank offices in Niamey with about 40 young entrepreneurs, civil society representatives, officials, and students.
To tackle youth unemployment, the World Bank has recently launched a program focused on vocational training and will invest $US30 million in the "Niger Skills Development for Growth Project" over a six-year period. The idea is to promote entrepreneurship (11,000 young people aged 15 to 25 will be targeted by this program).
"As a result of the poor quality of primary school education, the fact that secondary education is limited and ill-suited to current needs, and the lack of options for technical and vocational education and training (TVET), young people lack the academic, technical, and entrepreneurial knowledge required by the job market," explained Boubou Cissé, a World Bank economist based in Niamey.
"Consequently, unemployment, underemployment, and a shortage of skilled labor coexist, and this represents not only an impediment to development but also a source of frustration among youth. Clearly," he added, "it is also a contributing factor to social instability."
Although the socioeconomic conditions of young people have improved somewhat over the past few years, and the primary school enrollment rate rose from 37% in 2001 to 76.1% in 2010/2011, there are still sharp disparities between regions, socio-economic groups, and genders.
In 2011, the national gross enrollment ratio (GER) for boys was 84.9% compared to 67.3% for girls, while the GER in urban areas was 99.1% as against 70% in rural areas. In contrast, in secondary school, the gross enrollment ratio was 10% in 2010.
According to figures from the Ministry of Vocational Training (cited in a study on the vocational integration of youth in Niger by the economist Anne Le Bissonnais), a million and a half young people ages 13 to 19 are neither in school nor employed, and more than 50,000 graduates are unemployed.
The adult literacy rate (one of the lowest in the world) was estimated at 29% in 2009/2010. Among women ages 15 to 49, the rate is only 11.6%, compared to 27.8% for men.
"The objective of the skills development project is precisely aimed at enhancing the quality and effectiveness of technical and vocational education and training in Niger by offering on- and off-the job training in priority sectors such as public works, agriculture, and tourism," noted Boubou Cissé.
"Young people will be trained for jobs in the emerging sectors, since the purpose of this program is to boost their employability.
Courses in appropriate skills will be offered, and entrepreneurs will be trained so that they can contribute to the country's economic development, in close cooperation with the private sector," he added.
As noted in a World Bank report on youth employment and underemployment in sub-Saharan Africa, the creation of viable jobs for young people is a precondition for sustainable development in Africa.
Source: World Bank
The rich history of our global organization has been written every single day by brave women and men, young people and adults; people like you, who have dedicated their lives for our common cause.
Today we want to use this message to congratulate our movement for its 169th anniversary and invite everybody to start preparing for the biggest event ever organized by the World YMCA movement to celebrate the landmark 170 years of our existence.
For that reason we are happy to announce and officially invite the whole movement to join a day that will be in the history books:
The YMCA World Challenge: MOVE 2014
Our first World Challenge in 2012 mobilized 432,000 people in 85 countries. In 2014 we want much more and this will only be possible with your support. We did it once. We will now do it bigger, better, and with a powerful and lasting message from the YMCA to the world with everyone on board.
Last year was about basketball. Next year will be much more and different! We have some surprises coming to you!
The celebration will be big on June 6, 2014.
There will be much more information coming in the next few months to provide coordination, communication, and support to your national and local planning process.
The Global Staff Team (GST) will be working together to give the best possible assistance to make this event a great success by building on the lessons from the last world challenge.
Together we are the YMCA! Book the dates (June 6, 2014) and spread the word!
Happy YMCA Birthday!
Johan Vilhelm Eltvik, Secretary General
Romulo Dantas, Executive Secretary for Youth Empowerment
Source: World Alliance of YMCAs