A. WEST AFRICA SUB REGIONAL SESSION
Learning and reflections:
i. Workshop statistics:
Venue: FOPADESC, Lome-Togo
Date: 6-12 April 2013
Countries in attendance: Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Mali, Guinea, and The Gambia.
Absent:Niger. Due to logistics
No. of participants: 33 participants (10 Females, 23 males)
Language: English and French (with simultaneous interpretation)
ii. Expectations sharing
– To share experience and learn together so that YCSers can face the challenges in the continent as it seekto achieve peace and justice,
– That all participants are truly equipped to be peacemakers in their communities,
– Forging strong links of friendship with the representatives of various countries for a synergistic action in the sub-region,
iii. Analysis of challenges in YCS West Africa sub region using the “problem tree analysis”
– The problem tree analysis has three areas: the trunk of the tree which represents the Core problem that the YCS is experiencing; the roots which represents the Causes of the problem; and the branches which represents the Consequences of the problem
– Core problem (s): Poor leadership with weak spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship;
– Causes: poor commitment to learning, no proper transition and transmission of memory, weak communication structure, weak financial support, little spiritual formation, absence of Adult Assistants (Chaplains and animators)
– Consequences:mismanagement of funds, bad reputation for the Movement, non-committed members, loss of sectional members, no concrete action plans, poor application of the YCS spirituality, ‘sectionalism’ in the local groups.
iv. Psychosocial Conflictanalysis
– Facilitated by three team members from the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund (FASTENOPFER). Namely Felix, Johanna, and Abdoulaye
– Participants presented reports on specific conflict situation in their various countries (and how the YCS has contributed or is working to resolve it).
– As an introduction, the participants were informed of three methods of dealing with conflicts, these are: Working in conflict, Working on Conflict, and Working around conflict.The Team selected the Working on conflict method for the proceeding sessions.
– The Conflict situation: After discussing in pairs, in groups and at the plenary, a conflict situation was selected for analysis using the Psychosocial Conflict Analysis Tool.The conflict situation selected was a case of protest and riots by students (majority Muslim students) incertain Catholic Schoolover the decision of the administration to make it compulsory for all final year students to get pass mark in the internal school exams before they will be allowed to register for the final external West AfricaExamination. However, some Muslim students felt that they were been targeted by the administration, the newly appointed Vice Principal of the school in particular because some of them had not passedthe school exams. Unfortunately, the Head Prefect of the school who was a Muslim student misinformed the other students about this situation, thus the students decided to protest in which process they went on rampage, destroyed school properties, and threatened to beat up the Vice Principal. In fear, the Vice Principal locked himself in his office, hid under the table and called for the intervention of the police and the school Principal. The police responded to the emergency call by the Vice principal, they intervened and the school was closed until theschool administration is able to resolve the conflict.
When the situation had calmed, the National Team of YCS in that country had a meeting with some of their members who were students in the school to ascertain what actually happened. Following that, they requested for a meeting with the Vice Principal of the school during which firstly they apologized to him on behalf of the students, then went on to hear the Vice Principals side of the story. At the end of the meeting, the National Team reasoned that the major cause of the conflict was the miscommunication of the Vice Principal’s directive to the students by the school Head Prefect. Thus, they recommended that the administration should return to its old system of having a Catholic Student as the Head Prefect of the School to avert future occurrence of such unfortunate incidence.
– The analysis:The analysis of the conflict situation and the intervention of the YCS were done using the five building blocks of the Psychosocial Conflict Analysis tool. See appendix for details.
v. The role of Young people in the New Evangelization
– Although the definition and perception of who is a youth may differ from one organization to the other, however there are some common characteristics that we can note: The need and desire to accept others;Need and desire to feel loved; and Need to accept oneself. The Bible provides some examples on characteristics of Youths:
i. The young Daniel who is firm in resolution;
ii. Young Joseph is an example of fidelity ;
iii. The young David facing challenges from Goliath;
iv. The rich young man: an unsatisfactory life.
v. Saul of Tarsus: young fundamentalist.
vi. Eutychus : it represents the youth with a dividedmind (Acts 20:9 )
vii. The youngprophet: easily influenced (1 Kings 1:18)
– The New Evangelization: Does not mean New Gospel, but rather a new way of communicating the Gospel, it is call for renewal of the missionary world. Four important roles youth can play in living the gospel (in the new evangelization) are to engage in studying the Bible, get involved in mission and direct evangelization, commit to active involvement in life of the society, and give attention to faith lived in the family.
1. Action plans related to the theme of the workshop implemented by National Movements should be documented and communicated to the Pan African office prior to the workshop.
2. Most of the facilitators of the session on Psychosocial Conflict analysis should be mainly from the YCS and guided by an external facilitator.
3. At least one of the two regional coordinators should be present (full time) throughout the entire session; this will help in proper communication and transmission of information during and after the workshop.