YMCA Busia, Kenya engages majorly in civic action and transformative masculinity as well as working with youths in prison. Programmes involve high schools and colleges to instil values to promote positive transformation. Creating awareness helps them to understand the realities of their environments while seeking out ways to improve lifestyles to better themselves and their communities. Civic action allows them to be who they are and act upon what’s right and good to impact positive change in their environment. Hence this has awakened youth to speak out and call for transformation. The programme platforms allow youth to clear their minds, share their views and to be heard.
Transformative masculinity is a YMCA programme that provides the opportunity to mobilise young people to tackle gender inequalities, violence against women and gender-based violence issues. Using different activities, even in fun and games, it promotes young people to become actors and mentors to stand against gender inequalities. A discussion forum with the Highway youth club was held during October 2017. The forum including having two separate groups of female and male participants. In this session, questions were designed to suit the age groups within the discussions.
These questions provoked discussions among the participants whereby they were able to note issues youth faced. Participants took into account how they live and what they believe in life.
They also pointed out the following factors affecting youth:
Clueless to risks involved in partaking decisions in life
Lacking role models and mentors
All these would make them to be exposed to life challenges and risks at an early age. Other realities that were considered are unplanned early pregnancies, school dropping out and abortions. The discussion platform gave youth the opportunity to be able to express their views but also encouraged them to seek solutions to minimise the risks. Teacher involvement in support to help choose their education paths and help shape their lives was also highlighted. Youth were encouraged to identify mentors in their lives who would also educate them on various life skills as this is a vital component to their wellbeing and development.
A teambuilding session in the afternoon with a skilled facilitator helped provide a better view of life in the broader perspective. One that brought clarity and increased understanding. These were games they could relate to real life situations, day- to- day life pressures and how it can have consequences at the end of the day.
A motivational speaker spoke about the importance of decision making. Giving these young minds a better understanding on decisions and how it influences the outcome. Setting a clear picture of how life works based on the decisions we make. Making them to be aware of how the choices we make will either cost us or be of benefit. Explaining that outcomes may not always be favourable all the time and the principle of reaping what you have sown. This provoked them to step out of their comfort zones and to speak out.
The conclusion was that we cannot erase the past but we can work on changing our future to be brighter and better. Information and sharing makes one eager to know, learn and understand more . If news travel fast, l believe it travels fast because of young people who have learned and understood and are ever willing to share. These sessions we have with our young people will continue because we believe in them. They truly count.
Source: Samantha Nyakambiza YAC 2017