News — June 23, 2014
2014 JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference
From May 21 to 24, JCI members gathered in Lomé, Togo to learn new skills for creating impact.
From 35 different countries, 486 delegates gathered at the 2014 JCI Africa and Middle East Conference. Workshops, forums and seminars at this year’s Conference focused on how to create positive change by starting at the local level with a needs analysis and following the process of the JCI Active Citizen Framework to ultimately achieve sustainable global impact.
Harnessing Passion for Impact
The JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference started strong with more than 200 enthusiastic delegates in attendance at the First Timers Orientation. These eager young active citizens set out on their first Conference experience inspired by the 2014 JCI Vice Presidents to make the most of their few days in Lomé, Togo. Recognizing the rich culture and history of the host country, the JCI National Presidents were escorted onto the Opening Ceremony stage as if they were ancient kings of the Ewe culture of Togo. Minister of Grassroots Development and Youth Employment of Togo Madame Victoire Dogbe welcomed delegates and thanked them for gathering in Lomé as exemplary young active citizens. A vibrant welcome party immediately followed this colorful and entertaining Opening Ceremony.
The next day of the Conference opened with the JCI Morning Show featuring special guest 2011 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP) Honoree Aimée Abra Tenu. As a social entrepreneur, she spoke about her projects to create positive change such as education programs for underprivileged children, community gardening for food production and recycling initiatives. Other well-attended Conference events included the JCI Skills Development Forum and the JCI Active Citizen FrameWorkshop. The FrameWorkshop highlighted local JCI partners and supporters, 2011 JCI TOYP Honoree Dr. Serge Michel Kodom, UN System Representative of Togo Madam Kadiata Ndiaye and Operational Director of Grassroots Development Agency Madam Katanga Mazalo Eléonore. They shared their stories of impact according to the three stages of community development, Health and Wellness, Education and Economic Empowerment and Sustainability, and inspired attendees to take similar action in their communities. Delegates learned that the more resources and more community members from all sectors of society invested in a JCI project, the more impactful it can be on a local and global level. Chairman of Asky Airlines and Founder and Honorary President of Ecobank Mr. Djondo Gervais also played an exciting role at the Conference as a keynote speaker. His stories of great success through hard work, loyalty to his culture and country and service to his community empowered delegates.
Creating Community Change
Throughout the three days of the Conference, delegates participated in an ongoing needs analysis of the host city of Lomé. Led by L’Agence nationale d’appui au développement à la base (ANADEB), 90 delegates joined ANADEB volunteers and learned firsthand how to conduct a needs analysis in different neighborhoods in and around Lomé. This allowed delegates to give back to the host community each day of the Conference, while learning valuable lessons and skills regarding needs analysis to take back to their Local Organizations.
On the last day of the Conference, more than 600 people, delegates and active citizens from around Lomé participated in the community engagement activity. AIMES-AFRIQUE, a health organization led by Conference guest and 2011 JCI TOYP Honoree Dr. Kodom, implemented the activity. With the help of Conference delegates, 15 medical doctors from AIMES-AFRIQUE conducted medical consultations for underprivileged people in a village right outside Lomé and at the Lomé penitentiary. Overall, they consulted 1,350 people and gave medicine to those in need based on their diagnosis. Advancing JCI’s commitment to sharing the voice of young people for a better world, Conference delegates also hit the streets to encourage citizens to take the MY World 2015 survey. The survey allows young people to choose the top six priorities they believe are most important for the well being and sustainability of their community and their world. The investment of young active citizens in the post 2015 development agenda creation process through this survey is crucial to its global success and implementation. Conference delegates left Lomé with an invigorated passion to take local action for global change and Unite to Impact their communities for a better world.
See you next year at the 2015 JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference in Accra, Ghana May 6 to 9! Congratulations to JCI South Africa for hosting the 2016 JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference in Johannesburg.
For those who attended the 2014 JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference, share your favorite memories on the JCI Facebook page.
Register today for the 2014 JCI Global Partnership Summit, July 23 to 25 in New York City, USA.