Posts Tagged ‘youth leadership’

Goal! Youth leadership through sports

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

by Meghan Davis*

It is a mere few weeks before the frenzy of the 2010 World Cup and the spotlight is now on soccer, which for millions across the world is more than a game.  Even to the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or as many people know it, FIFA, soccer is used as symbol of hope and integration. The organization promotes cultural diversity and educational and humanitarian values through the sport. For the first time in the World Cup’s history, it will be hosted in an African Nation—South Africa. This tournament could not have come at a more opportune time for the nation. Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has achieved many successes but also faced many challenges as a young, integrated democracy.

One of these challenges post-apartheid South Africa faces is the vulnerability of its youth population. The FIFA World Cup has come at an appropriate time to aid the youth to develop the necessary skills they need to achieve success in life. The FIFA World Cup has the potential to become a strong catalyst for creating positive change for the younger generations. South Africa should utilize its power as a host country for this tournament to engage FIFA and organizations into further developing the youth through partnering sports with leadership training.

The combination of leadership development and sports is one of high importance. Sports, soccer in particular, are globalized; anyone, no matter their gender, disability, ethnicity, social background, or religion, can take part in games. Sport and games have the power to reach and teach like no other channel.

There is emerging indication that when youth are given the opportunity to engage in sports, there is an increase in academic performance, higher levels of motivation, improvements in school attendance, and reductions in aggressive behaviors. Sports, game, and play and leadership development training, provide mutual reinforcement of skills acquired on and off the field.

The World Cup has inspired organizations to further incorporate sports into developing strong youth leaders within the community. Here at Leadership Africa USA, we work with the younger generations, helping them to acquire the skill sets that will align their futures with success. Students leave with an enhanced feeling of self-confidence, improved critical thinking and analytical abilities, and improved communication capabilities. It is this same level of self-confidence that exudes from a child when they engage in sporting events.

*Meghan Davis is Leadership Africa USA’s Spring 2010 intern. She is a rising senior at Suffolk University.

Building the Youth Leadership Paradigm

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Walker A. Williams

With 44 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population under 15 yrs (visit the Population Reference Bureau for more population data), there is little doubt that Africa’s youth will play a significant role in the region’s economic, social and political prosperity in the years to come. The U.S. administration recognizes the opportunity to be gained by stressing the importance of youth development in Africa. During his trip to Ghana, President Obama encouraged Ghana’s and Africa’s youth to be the force of change they can be.

“You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities, and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world But these things can only be done if all of you take responsibility for your future .” (Remarks by President Obama to the Ghanaian Parliament, July 11, 2009).

 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  during her trip to the Demcratic Republic of the Congo in August of 2009, called for the mobilization of DRC youth, especially girls, to speak out about the challenges, particularly in the areas of corrpition and violence, of DRC.  She called for the students to “write a new chapter in Congolese history”. Here at Leadership Africa USA, we recognize the importance of calling upon the younger generations to promote effective leadership abilities that can inspire change within a nation.

Leadership Africa USA’s mission is compatible with the U.S. Administration’s emerging Africa policy through our youth leadership programs in several African countries to empower African youth through leadership training; promote skills transfer; support peer-to-peer outreach; and implement proven character building exercises.

 I believe inspired African leadership is key to Africa’s sustainable development in this global economy in order to solve the poverty equation impacting African people.  Effective leadership training is empowerment.

 Leadership Africa USA recognizes that the Africa’s future is dependent on cultivating positive and effective leadership among today’s African youth. As such, we partner with African educators and government officials to promote middle school leadership training.   Our emphasis on always working with our African counterparts stems from our view that “Made in America” doesn’t work in 21st Century Africa.

 Going forward, my goal is to develop creative ways to increase the delivery of leadership training with additional strategic partners and appropriate use of new technology. Youth leadership training should be a more focused initiative of U.S. and African policy if we are to deliver on the promise of accessible quality education for Africa’s children, especially girls.