18. African Youth Charter Community Impact Projects (optional)
YALDA exists primarily to assist youth on the African continent (and those interested in Africa) realize their dreams for a better Africa. To further fulfill this goal, YALDA has adopted the strategy to address issues and challenges facing African youth as identified in the African Youth Charter. All YALDA branches may choose to be involved in and support an initiative that addresses a declaration of the African Youth Charter, aimed at developing the communities where their branch is located or other African communities (nationalities other than their own) in their area or in another country.
Every year YALDA will ask branches to come up with a common theme and/or common goal for the projects for that year in order to create a sense of YALDA unity among the branches. Moreover, if a project becomes really successful, the branch may keep working on it for years to come, or add on more projects if they wish.
YALDA branches based abroad can facilitate projects their own project on the continent, that they can work on during school vacations and/or get youth volunteers in the communities that they will be working in to work on the project with them. They may also want to join a branch on the continent and implement a project with them. They can also choose to do a project in their own country as there are many African communities (forming the African Diaspora) residing all over the world. We do emphasize, however, that the work must in someway have a positive impact on the continent. More ideas of projects for YALDA branches abroad are discussed below under the sub-heading, Different Project Ideas.
Note: The whole of your YALDA membership, not just the Executive or the Project and Action Committee, is responsible for selecting and/or coming up with ideas for projects.
Following are a few suggestions on what to think about and how to develop your YALDA community project:
General Research Guidelines
- First and foremost, your branch must read and get acquainted with the African Youth Charter: http://www.uneca.org/adf/docs/African_Youth_Charter.pdf (also in the appendix).
- Next find out where the/your community appears to need the most assistance? Dare to dream big, identify what you would like to accomplish, and then work from there. Depending on the size of your membership, you may wish to focus only on one project or to run several projects all at once.
- Possible areas to think about (and as always use the African Youth Charter as a guide) include: education, alcohol and drug abuse, business entrepreneurship, IT development, Science and Innovation, HIV/AIDS prevention/information, pollution control, entertainment, youth empowerment, youth employment, street children, refugee youth etc.
- It is up to you to think about your specific community and identify specific areas of need. Do be aware that at this stage, you need not think deeply about finances.
- Make sure that your project ideas are specific and targeted towards areas of need; avoid a broad generalized project that leads to little change, and identifying a specific area in the African Youth Charter will help you focus.
- Seek to make lasting impact in your community, and perhaps to begin an ongoing sustainable project.
- Ideas for projects include: cleaning up your polluted city; providing tutoring for disadvantaged local high-school students; providing start up business projects or trainings for unemployed youth; providing tutoring to youth in prison/rehabilitation centers; running national motivational series for youth; promoting artistic expression among the youth; talent searches; running youth literacy projects; facilitating a yearly conference for youth in the diaspora etc. The possibilities are endless.
- When you have selected a project and a target area, research the feasibility of setting up the project, costs and how it could be run. Remember, you might want to research more than one project so as to improve your chances of success.
- Write a detailed research report, include numbers, graphs, tables and other materials that will convince your members to pursue it, and potential sponsors to fund you. If you also want to make the proposal into a power point, then do so (but this does not replace the report document). Also include a detailed and thorough budget (more details below).
- Remember to investigate thoroughly if there are groups on campus or in the community that are already working on the project that you are thinking of embarking on. It is better to collaborate with others and offer them manpower and technical assistance they might need rather than reinvent the wheel.
You are YALDA members: passionate about Africa and full of bright ideas. These projects are your way of realizing your ideas: dare to think big!
Different Project Ideas
- This section has been developed primarily to aid YALDA branches abroad think of the types of projects they could be involved in, as some of the material above will not apply to them. Please do recognize that some of the information might also be pertinent to branches on the continent.
- It is also okay for two or more branches to be working on the same project, however, some projects will only be done by one branch to avoid redundancy and looking at costs, for example, the idea for an annual YALDA Diaspora Conference at one of our branches abroad.
- The African youth Diaspora are as important to the development of the continent as youth currently living in Africa. The African Youth Charter states this explicitly and therefore YALDA strongly encourages African youth Diaspora involvement in all their activities, and also that they should develop a project. The Diaspora has to be more innovative about their projects and must think outside the box. The project your branch embarks on does not have to have a direct impact on the continent, but can have an indirect impact, while improving the YALDA network abroad.
The following are just some ideas of projects you may choose to embark on. We describe a general area you might want to target, and then ask you to focus on addressing a specific issue or question (which could form the basis of your project, again THINK BIG! Don't limit yourself.):
- Working directly with major international bodies, such as the UN, World Bank, IMF bodies that are based abroad, including various African consulates and embassies (beyond just liaising)
Questions your branch might be asking itself:
- What are we doing to ensure that these bodies are aware that we exist?
- What are you doing to find out about the programs that directly impact African youth (on the continent or in the Diaspora) if there are any? What are you doing to ensure that information on what these organizations are doing is relayed back to YALDA members?
- What interesting organs or divisions have they set up to help youth in the Diaspora gain access to information and make a significant impact on the continent?
- What can YOUR branch suggest or draw up to present to these organs as a way to help them realize the African youth Diaspora and their significant contributions?
- How can YOU make use of professors, political figures and other interesting people that come on the campus to advise you and come put with strategies for YALDA to make a contribution in these organizations?
- Becoming YOUR campus’s experts on African issues and development.
You must be aware that the primary purpose of YALDA is to develop a network, so people have access to information on Africa, and what prospects are there. Your branch could become the African experts on campus, consulting with the Career offices, the Study Abroad and Fellowship offices etc. People on campus would know that if they want to know anything about Africa, YALDA would be a reliable source of peer-to-peer information.
- Using your resources abroad to aid branches on the continent.
YALDA branches abroad may want to facilitate projects that will offer technical assistance to the branches on the continent by developing trainings and a curriculum, eg. developing a program to help branches gain knowledge on fundraising and applying for funding etc. The branch can work on a way to enable the branches in Africa to access the training programs online, through the YALDA website. These programs can also take place during vacations and even during summer breaks, where representative of the branch abroad would come to Africa to run the trainings or programs with the continent branch. Branches based abroad can also implement projects at home that are donation driven, to help African branches acquire material resources and.
- Hosting and organizing an annual YALDA Diaspora Conference as your branch YALDA project (limited to one branch, but YALDA is open to other suggestions).
The conference could be modeled like the Harvard Africa Business Club conference, over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This conference would bring together young people from all over the US and Europe interested in developing Africa, forming a YALDA branch, starting their own projects etc. It will also bring together the top Professors at your university and others working on African issues, Africa's leading professionals in the US and Europe, and other organizations and the major development bodies. Your branch could also involve consulates and embassies where YALDA is currently located to help find speakers and sponsors for this conference.
- This conference would also allow your branch to fundraise: charging YALDA members a smaller fee than anyone else, who will be charged higher fees accordingly. And the funds raised at this conference could go to 1) An identified YALDA branch project or projects, 2) YALDA International Programs, and 3) the next annual Diaspora conference.
Budget for the Project
- Work out abudget for each project. You might wish to delegate people to do this, for example, members of the Project and Action Committee.
- How much will it cost to run it? Be realistic. Think about running costs: transport issues, fuel for vehicles if you will need them, purchasing resources for the project etc.
- Once you know what the project will cost for the duration of the time period you wish to run it, submit this budget proposal to the Fundraising and Sponsorship Committee, to help you raise funds for it.
Fundraising for the Project
- Next on the agenda is fund raising for the project. This will primarily be the work of the Fundraising committee.
- Be sure to look also into possible grants you may be eligible to apply for: there are many people willing to fund powerful youth initiated projects in developing countries.
- Be in touch with YALDA headquarters about these opportunities, and also with other YALDA branches that may be able to guide you to possible funding sources.
Running the Project
- The final stage is the actual running of the project. The Project and Action Committee should be in charge of disbursing funds once they have been secured.
- You will want to keep accurate records of all expenditure for the purposes of future planning and/or reporting to your funding sources.
- Do take pictures: use these on your website/publications to let others know what you are doing. Also remember that YALDA Headquarters requires a detailed update from you on all your activities.
- Keep detailed records of your activities for your own records as possible sponsors and others will want to know how your projects are going and if they are succeeding. Also include reports on your measurable successes, as your branch will be contributing to the realization and implementation of the African Youth Charter.
- YALDA requires that all branches attending the conference present and highlight the projects they are working on at the YALDA Conference Project Showcase.
Most of all we want you to enjoy your project: remember it is a privilege to be involved in activities that directly impact people's lives for the better!
- As with starting a YALDA branch or any new initiative, you are not guaranteed that your project will succeed. At any stage, whether it is the research, fundraising or even the implementation stage of your project, your branch will be faced with several challenges.
- We suggest that you contact the YALDA Headquarters immediately and other branches when you encounter problems you feel you cannot overcome. We will offer you suggestions on what to do. Most importantly DO NOT GIVE UP! There is MUCH to be done in Africa (see Overcoming Challenges Chapter 2.8).