In 2018, Nathan, Nicolas and I participated in international conferences about the African child and youth. Nathan and Nicolas travelled to Nairobi for the Africa Youth Conference and I attended the Africa Dialogues conference in Ouagadougou. Following our participation in these two conferences, it was important to share with our peers the important elements that we had acquired so that they also learnt more. From November 2018 to March 2019, we organized our outputs in Lubumbashi, Goma and Kinshasa. In each of these cities, we were faced with about thirty children accompanied by their supervisors and representatives of the Provincial and Urban Divisions of the Ministry of Gender, Child and Family.
International conferences bringing together African youth
At the Africa Youth Conference, Nicolas and Nathan were among more than 350 young people from all over Africa. It was a platform for sharing experiences about how they were able to solve the problems they faced in their respective environments. “Problem = opportunity”, explained Nicolas and Nathan following their participation. Instead of worrying about the existence of a problem, let us think about how this problem can generate ideas that can be very profitable later on.
In Ouagadougou, it was another kind of conference. In one day, 10 young people had the opportunity to present to their peers and policymakers their vision of Africa in all possible areas. I had chosen to talk about education because this theme was in line with a recent survey conducted by Child Reporters in the DRC.
Share, work together and strengthen links
By sharing our experiences with young people in Lubumbashi, Goma and Kinshasa, we wanted to share the achievements of international conferences so that a large number of children benefit from them. For example, I learned that speaking time should be managed because authorities and decision makers do not always have enough spare time. By working with other supervisors and companions, it reminded me that they are there to help us and not work for us. It is necessary to give 100% for the result to be better.
The one who has to express himself is the child. It is necessary that he knows how to express his thoughts freely while being supervised. He should never be the instrument by which the thought of the supervisor or supervisors is expressed.
By physically going to Lubumbashi, Goma and Kinshasa, we also built relationships and awakened the awareness of all young people about the need to work together. We have set up a communication platform bringing together young actors from these three cities and we intend to extend it to other cities in the country. We recommend organising a national workshop on youth participation and involvement to achieve better results. Sharing experiences also means creating and strengthening links.
Every child should realise that every time they do something for their community and their peers, it is a giant step towards a better world.
Kindly translated from French by Ariane Apodaca
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