When I first joined ActionAid, I was struck by the significance of the three pillars in our theory of change: empowerment, campaigning and solidarity.
An important set of ingredients for tackling global poverty and social injustice, or as Simon Sentamu (our HRBA trainer and advisor) says - “three important stones for making our soup”.
So it was with this in mind, that I left for Dar, and savoured every minute of the workshop that I attended at ActionAid’s Global Platform training centre.
The aim of the workshop was to start designing an HRBA Youth Foundation course – an important part of ActionAid’s new international strategy. It brought together youth engagement champions from across ActionAid – both young and older – to design a 5 day training course, which will be piloted in May 2013.
A small group of us, consisting of Global Platform Managers, youth programmers, youth activists and campaigners, HRBA practitioners and trainers, and youth development folk converged – discussed, debated and yes, even managed to find points we agreed on! We discussed who our target groups should be, what our training objectives should be and how we will go about this.
For me, demonstrating the values and principles of our HRBA throughout the training itself, is crucial.
How do we make sure that by the end of the training participants know what each of our HRBA foundation stones feels like?
In our course, empowerment will be fostered through the learning and critical reflection and discussion around who youth are, and what role they have to play in their own, and their wider communities’ development.
Solidarity will be demonstrated by bringing together for the first time a range of youth champions from different units, country offices and backgrounds; each bringing their own invaluable knowledge and experiences.
With regard to the third pillar, campaigning, we will create a network of youth champions across the federation – ready to advocate and lobby internally for the rights of young people within the organisation.
Coming away from the workshop, I felt that we had already started to bring our HRBA to life. I left feeling empowered – I learnt much more about campaigns; their dynamic nature and the significance of planning.
I left seeing the beginnings of solidarity networks forming across units and countries; knowing that all the participants agreed to return to their countries and tell their colleagues about the workshop and future course.
Most of all, I left believing that our network of youth champions already exists.
There is nothing better, than a really inspiring workshop, and as one participant, Ann Sophie said to me, “this is incredibly exciting!”