Since November 2014, CIELARKO has been developing an Active Citizenship Process Manual for the South African Youth Leaders Network (SAYLN), a network of South African youth organisations (see www.sayln.org.za).

In mid March 2015 Layo and Stefan facilitated a train-the-trainers workshop for SAYLN to offer new content for the work with youth, to support the development of awareness (of self, diversity, and community) and the ability to take action within SAYLN’s youth leaders, the organisation as a whole and the communities it touches, step by step. Simphiwe attended the training as a participant.

Each one of us was inspired by the process, in different ways…

Layo: “The group created a safe space together, in which difficult topics could be discussed openly. I honour the eagerness with which everyone participated, the passion with which so many people are contributing to their communities and the bravery with which people faced and shared their own challenges. After these days with SAYLN’s youth leaders, I realise that we will never be able to ‘force’ South Africa into the perfect rainbow that we desire and at the same time am positive that the rainbow will develop strength and stability over time, as groups such as this one continue to reflect on the facts of their past and present and, in consequence, to act more and more consciously.”

Stefan: “I was very impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm with which the participants lead and develop the youth organisations they are responsible for all over South Africa. At the workshop it was wonderful to experience the group creating a forum in which difficult issues from very diverse backgrounds were shared. I am confident that this group of youth leadership workers will carry the practical tools, exercises and techniques back into their respective organisations in order to inspire hundreds of young South Africans to be active, each in their own way, in creating the communities we long for.”

Simphiwe: “The process taught me a few things about myself and my desires for South Africa. As an example, I want a country where everyone is tolerant to difference. My highlight of this process was when we had to work on our action plan for how we will roll out the Active Citizenship process manual in our communities. Seeing everyone eager about this work was touching because I believe if we all come together we can do a much better job than individually.”

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