'It starts with where you are and with what you have' - Judyannet Muchiri, NAYD social media editor

Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2017

Dear NAYD members,

The start of the New Year is a time to reflect on the ups and downs of the previous year and to set the direction for the journey ahead. NAYD continues to grow its membership with now well over 70,000 members. More of us are holding hands across the world. Like all previous years though 2016 was a rollercoaster ride with amazing progress made but a few pitfalls along the way.

On January 2 2016 African youth leaders gathered on Facebook to discuss Agenda 2030, a global mission to leave no one behind,  driven by 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its a great ambition but the UN considered African rural communities the weak link in this ambition. Our meeting discussed how we as youth could impact African rural communities with these new goals and concluded that NAYD's wide network of rural community activists throughout the Continent was well placed to help drive Agenda 2030 into these communities. Over the next few months mixed-gender teams were formed throughout the Continent who in turn started developing wide reaching stakeholder networks. A Facebook chat was created as a forum to discuss issues faced and progress made. The chat has an automatic translate facility to help conversations with different languages. Members also freely offered their time to translate into Portuguese and French. A steering group oversaw the initiative and helped country teams develop action plans. A BLOG was created for members to post their activities and a Google map to show the locations of their SDG activities.

The #NAYDSDGs initiative was recognised by UN DESA in May as SDG17, Partnership for Development with individual country teams included as part of the initiative. Partnerships have been formed with national, continental and global organisations to hold hands with us to help drive the initiative forward. By the end of 2016 most African countries have #NAYSDSGs teams overseen and supported by a steering group. We have applied for a continental Energy Globe award for 2017 in the category of Youth - wish us luck!

Whilst great progress has been made issues have been faced including the requirement for a simple system for benchmarking and monitoring SDG progress in rural communities.  A priority for 2017 is to hold a capacity building workshop where team members, partners and experts in the SDGs can meet face to face to discuss effective ways of driving the initiative forward. This didn't happen In 2016 because it wasn't possible to raise the airfares necessary. These efforts did however raise the profile of #NAYDSDGs and we are much better placed to make this happen.

With one year of the SDGs already passed though there is an increasing sense of urgency to accelerate rural community development and all efforts need to be made to strengthen our stakeholder network. This is why, in addition to the monitoring tool and the workshop, we are also seeking to find SDG experts in each of the different Goals, and willing to support our teams activities.

NGO of the month

NAYD continues to highlight the work done by youth-led CBOs and NGOs at the community level to impact positive change. Every month NAYD selects an organization working towards development in Africa through different projects and gives the organization great publicity throughout the month, enabling the possibility of partnerships. More information on the NGOs recognized below can be read here. If you would like your organization to be considered as an NGO of The Month this year send an email to judyannet@nayd.org.
Congratulations to the NGOs of the Month in 2016:
1.      January - Supreme Malawi
2.      February - Farm Solutions 365 - Uganda
3.      March - National Association of Youth Organisations - Zimbabwe
4.      April- Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD) - Rwanda
5.      May- Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) - Liberia
6.      June- Gender and Livelihoods Opportunities for Rural Youth (GLORY) - Uganda
7.      July- Dentistes de Sud - Guinea
8.     August- Jeunesse Unie pour le Progrès et le Développement (JUPD) - Benin
9.      September- EducommunicAfrik - Burkina Faso
10.  October - Power for all - continental
11.  November- Farm Solutions 365 - Uganda
12.  December - Hope Land Congo - DRC  

NGO's of the month will also receive a NAYD certificate signed by Pochi, Paul and Judy.

We have had a successful year engaging with young changemakers working in climate action advocacy, accountability in public resources, and in engaging the community in social change. It’s been an inspiring year of learning from young people doing great work in their communities. Past chats can be seen here #NAYDchat as we prepare for another year of engaging with you.  

INSPIRE Quarterly
Starting January 2017, our online magazine INSPIRE will be produced four times in a year (January, April, July, October). Each of the 4 issues will focus on a particular theme and will include articles and pictures from young people in Africa. In 2016 we produced a special SDGs edition

In Conversation with Series
In February 2016, NAYD started a new series featuring expert opinion on topical issues such as Citizen-led Accountability, Online Activism, Community Engagement for Social Change and Active Youth for Community Development in Africa. All these features can be found at In Conversation Series. You can expect more in-depth conversations in 2017 from key thought leaders across the world.

Live Google Hangouts
Our hangouts continue to entertain and educate with speakers from around the continent given us their views on sustainable development - 4 separate hangouts featuring country teams from #NAYDSDGs Cameroon, Burundi, Niger and Somalia talking about SDG priorities in their country; Nelson Kwaje from Design 2 Transform, an organisation that aims to design professional websites for Community Based Organizations talking on the very important topic of setting up communication and network systems in rural communities in Africa;  Ms. Namhla Mniki-Mangaliso,  Director at African Monitor (AM) talking about youth and the challenges and opportunities with Agenda30 and Agenda63 and Patson Malisa, CEO of Organisation of African Youth and a member of the #NAYDSDGs steering group giving us his views on the benefits or otherwise of High Level Political Forums to rural African communities. All the chats can be seen on NAYDtv and we recommend them to you (despite the 'occasional' internet connectivity issues!).  

How did NAYD inspire you in 2016?
“To say NAYD inspired me is just an understatement as it has not only inspired me but also empowered me to fully understand that strength in the African spirit and that the solution to the numerous challenges we face as a continent is to look inward and is in the hands of her people. It has also reemphasized the fact that participation in the development of our communities is not just a selfless service but also a constitutive part of our existence”
Thaddeus Ugoh, Human Rights & community development advocate (Nigeria)

'NAYD has really inspired me to sensitize people at the grassroots level to track and monitor public projects in the budget by engaging their representatives to deliver service. This has really strengthened accountability and transparency in local communities'
Uadamen Ilevbaoje (Nigeria)

“Thanks a lot. NAYD had empowered me indirectly because I help to inform those who can be touched”
Mary-Christabel Yaje (Cameroon)

“NAYD has inspired me to be active in community empowerment through capacity building programs and to be part of the source of joy to individuals and communities whose faces shine with contentment and joy as a result of the knowledge impacted”
Nicholas (Kenya)

“As a social worker I took a leading role in making sure that the girl child has an opportunity to quality education”
Arthur Michael Kanjere (Malawi)

“I have been inspired by others to be active”
Patrick Chinguwo (Malawi)

2017: Projects and Activities
These, among others, are the projects we are looking forward to in 2017:
·         Capacity Building Workshop – top of the agenda for 2017 is to hold the workshop that will bring team members and partners together.
·         Monitoring & Benchmarking SDGs - We have been trying to find ways to monitor and report progress made by youth in implementing the SDGs in the rural communities with no success so far. To address this issue, NAYD has decided to develop a tool for benchmarking and monitoring the SDGs in rural communities. We are excited to work with volunteers from the NAYD community to build a tool that can help us examine how we are doing and motivate us to work more to effectively implement the SDGs.
·         17 Experts in SDGs – we are in the process of coming up with 17 experts who are well versed in the 17  areas covered by the SDGs to advise us as we progress with our efforts to work with youth to implement these goals. Do you have the relevant knowledge and are you involved in rural community development? Please email help@nayd.org with a brief CV.  
·         Research Desk - To authoritatively comment on issues affecting young people in Africa, NAYD is setting up a research desk of researchers led by a senior researcher who will oversee our research projects. If you are a researcher keep an eye out for our call for applications.
·         INSPIRE January Issue – the first issue of INSPIRE 2017 will be produced in January. It will focus on the theme Youth & Politics in Africa. At NAYD we have always maintained an apolitical stance but we know development and politics are closely related, for this reason we want to find out the experiences of youth engaged in politics, reasons why youth do not run for political office, reasons why youth are often ‘used’ by politicians, experiences with campaigns, civic education. Email us your stories with the subject line: Inspire Youth & Politics at annetjudy@yahoo.com
·         Your ideasFinally, we always welcome ideas from our community members. Let us hear your ideas and we will collaboratively bring them to light. Tweet us at @NAYDinfo or email us at help@nayd.org.

Finally, THANK YOU to all our members. It is truly inspiring to read your stories and see your pictures from across the continent.  Every action in your community makes a difference to someone's life and inspires others to get involved. This is the way to a sustainable future, a future where no-one is left behind. 

Judyannet Muchiri and Paul Shaw