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CameroonFDP Youth Council Initiative

Copyrights: Cameroon Football Development Program

CameroonFDP Youth Council Initiative

Our new youth councils will take responsibility for organising and planning activities for players both on and off the field.

From weekend football festivals to team service projects, youth in our programmes will now have a voice in their community’s development.

Over the past several years, CameroonFDP has hosted various football competitions in the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon. We take pride in our innovative approach to grassroots football, which incorporates health, education, and leadership lessons in every match. As members of streetfootballworld, we strive to ensure our training sessions and game days align with the values and best practices of the greater ‘football for good’ movement.

Recently, we noticed something was missing: there were no youth involved in the planning process. Like nearly all other organisers of football in the country, it was adults (and mostly men) responsible for all the decision-making. This year, we decided to change that and get youth, both boys and girls, more involved in leadership roles with creation of youth councils.

By implementing youth councils in communities where we work, CameroonFDP hopes to provide leadership opportunities for participants, allowing them to build a foundation of professional skills, confidence and responsibility that will enrich their future and make them better off the field.

In June and July 2017, CameroonFDP hosted a graduate from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Madison Clark, who shared her wealth of knowledge in leadership and governance. After spending a few weeks in country getting acclimated, Ms. Clark visited two of our sites in Kumba Town and Kosala during their practice sessions and talked about a new upcoming youth leadership opportunity: the establishment of youth councils.

Kumba Town and Kosala were the two sites chosen to jumpstart this initiative due to the number of active youth in the community. Followed by a session filled with football drills and games, Madison spoke to the players, explaining the roles and responsibilities, application process and election procedures. She also highlighted the importance of a gender-equal council and encouraged both boys and girls to run for the council.

Elections were communicated to the youth at the two sites. There were many interested participants in the new initiative, so many obtained an application. At Kosala, 13 youth participated in the ballot. After a smooth election, there were five clear winners. Votes were tallied during the session and the winners were announced at the end. The following week elections were held in Kumba Town. There were about 15 youth on the ballot for the various eight positions. Also a smooth election, there were clearly defined winners and no need for tie-breakers. The council was composed of four girls and four boys so there is a gender-equal council.

The selected youth seemed very excited about being chosen among their peers to represent them! An orientation for both groups was held a week later to discuss expectations, detailed responsibilities, upcoming meeting dates/time, etc.  Documentation of these processes now forms the Youth Council Guide for CameroonFDP, which we intend to incorporate into the governance structure of our other sites around Kumba, our headquarters, and Nkwen, our newest site in Bamenda, the capital of the Northwest Region.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team].

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Monday, August 28, 2017 - 12:11

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