News — June 11, 2013
2013 Africa and the Middle East Conference
From May 8-11, Gaborone, Botswana hosted JCI members who are committed to taking local action to create global impact.
From 35 different countries, 341 delegates gathered at the 2013 JCI Africa and Middle East Conference. Seminars, forums and workshops at the Conference focused on impact and how members can work with partners to maximize their ability to create sustainable solutions to local challenges.
Before the JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference began, 24 JCI members graduated from the JCI Leadership Academy for Africa and the Middle East. Members from around the region participated in this two-day academy to sharpen their leadership skills and learn more about creating sustainable, impactful projects in their communities with fellow JCI members and local partners. The first day of the Conference began with discussion of important issues and presentation of national reports at the National Presidents Meeting. Some delegates took advantage of developing their skills at JCI Achieve and others attended the First Timers program, who were greeted by excited JCI Vice Presidents ready to help these members make the most of their Conference experience. The Conference began with an extravagant Opening Ceremony. More than 30 Chief Delegates graced the stage in beautiful national dress and were greeted by loud cheers from the audience. Delegates beamed with pride, ready to take action and start the Conference.
Inspiring through Impact
The morning after the Opening Ceremony, delegates attended the JCI Morning Show to begin their day with motivation and energy. 2010 Miss Universe from Botswana, Tirelo Ramasedi hosted and encouraged delegates to create their own story of impact in their community. Audience members enjoyed a Nothing But Nets inspired “Minute to Win It” game and a video presentation from guest speaker Theresa Wilson from the Blessing Basket project. Theresa’s story of providing artisan jobs and paying a wage beyond fair trade to combat poverty in Africa truly embodies the JCI Mission and allowed delegates to think about how they can advance the UN Millennium Development Goals in their community.
Delegates then attended the JCI Active Citizen FrameWorkshop to put their ideas of impact to action by learning how to engage stakeholders in their community, therefore enhancing their projects. The more resources and more community members invested in a JCI project, the more impactful it can be on a local and global level.
Another inspiring keynote speaker gave delegates the opportunity to think about what kind of positive, sustainable impact they can create for refugees across their region. The Conference welcomed Ms. Lynn Ngugi from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) in Botswana to speak with delegates about the growing need for refugee support. She talked about how JCI members have the unique ability to be an integral part in assisting refugees in their communities. Later that day in General Assembly, JCI Lebanon made an official request to come up with concrete project ideas and partnerships to carry out refugee-focused projects across Africa and the Middle East.
Creating Lasting Change
On the final day of the Conference, more than 400 people, both delegates and citizens from Gaborone, participated in the community engagement project. Focused on UN MDGs #1 Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger and #2 Achieve Universal Primary Education, the participants took part in a project to build a community daycare center. This center will serve as a safe place for children to receive care and educational services in the Gaborone West community. The daycare will specifically provide services for orphans as well as low-income families who cannot afford daycare services. Delegates took part in the groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the start of this impactful project. They cleaned up the surrounding land and planted trees, laying the groundwork for sustainable landscaping.
Delegates were energized and motivated by this project. Leaving the Conference center to take concrete action in the community united the delegates with community members and encouraged each of them to continue to live the JCI Mission.
See you next year at the JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference in Lomé, Togo!
For those who attended the Africa and the Middle East Conference, share your favorite memories on the JCI Facebook page.
The 2013 JCI European Conference begins on May 29 in Monte Carlo, Monaco and the 2013 JCI Asia-Pacific Conference starts on June 13 in Gwangju, Korea.
Register today for the 2013 JCI Global Partnership Summit, July 24 to 26 in New York City.