By Noutcha Issoy Lubiche
Every now and then most youth wonder how they can effectively take part in the development of their community. They usually complain about the lack of finances, practical knowledge and methods on how youth or individuals can get involved in their community. From the discussions we had with some young people from Cameroon, we realized that they are willing to do something for their community, but do not know the procedure and the steps needed to come out with a solution to a societal problem. After analyzing the deep nature of the questions posed by most youth when we are told that we are the leaders of tomorrow or the change-makers of today, most of us always ask this question:
What can I really do to help my country and how can I do it?
Looking at the pertinence of the question, I realized that it was very deep. Indeed, from my personal experience as a young person I had the chance to work with great minded people whose thoughts and ways of life helped to forge my personality, what I learned informally never did I hear it in a formal class lesson, the tough challenges of life where never spoken or faced in a formal class certain as we went to a place (school) where rules and regulations are well established and publicly known. But then, out of the class setting, we are confronted with other realities of the society (the practical world, the biggest socialization milieu of every human being) a world where anyone does what so ever pleases him even though rules and regulations are made but then they are not communicated or widely taught or vulgarize, the essentials are not known and are not ta-ught to the citizens thus accounting for some of the problems faced today in the world. The lack of important notions needed by every citizens concerning their communities and country has led most youths of today to wonder on the kind of mission they are called upon to realize for their community and the world. With the little notions gotten from the informal sectors and trainings, we thought it wise to come out with the little lessons, tips and knowledge learned during diversified workshops even though not sufficient ,just to help guide our friends on how they can help impact their community and the world through the use basic resources yet effective for change. From the steps below, youths will have a greater view on how to come out with a solution to a community problem thus helping them to effectively engage in nation building.
Be ready to volunteer
Most of the time, young people complain that they are not given enough opportunity to enterprise or they lack the finances to get the required educational skills to be able to create or come out with initiatives. Is true to an extent that some policies do not permit young generation to fully involve in the professional milieu or acquire the necessary skills to excel in the domain of their choice? From personal experiences with our peers, we realized that most young people are lazy and at times not ready to learn and learn well but they rather prefer to hustle for money in a domain where they have little or no knowledge and experience which lead to their low performance and poor results in most cases. Believing that formal education cannot provide us with all the necessary skills and knowledge needed to become a good leader or a great entrepreneur in the society. We advise youth to take wise their time so as to be in the right place at the right time, doing the right things with the right people. Becoming great is not a day’s job but is the daily accumulation of positive ideas and skills, the constant lightening of our activism spirit by always taking parts in activities that helps promote our skills and bring out the talents within us that help us to become great people and be ready to offer part of your time in voluntary actions, this was the secret used by experienced and though leaders of the world ,volunteering is the best school of experiences, the different challenges helps to mold our perceptions of the society and it spurs us to become better people willing to make a difference in e the society, It is only by learning to do something without receiving a payment that we develop virtues and values that lead us to greater perfection in our service to humanity. Dear friends be ready to learn at all times through volunteering, this is the secret to become professional no formal educational system in the world will teach his population about all the essential things of life.
Identify the problem
We should understand that to come out with a good and sustainable project for a community, we should start by identifying the pertinent problem faced by the community. Great entrepreneur or leaders did not develop their idea, it is by examining our society and the community where we leave in that we are able to identify a particular difficulty or challenges faced within the community. We need to take the one step at a time approach as youths if we wish to make a contribution to the world, to create a development impact, we start from one problem before moving to the next. We must say that we should read and work with our eyes open it is from a situation around us that we are able to develop the most fantastic idea that may lead to a great impact or change in the world .looking at our present generation. I consider it a bless one, the elderly generation through their brilliant ideas have already help in guiding us on how we can create an impact in the world. Taking the sustainable development goals as a perfect example, we must say that it is a summary of all the possible challenges or problems faced by countries of the world, what we as young people just need to do is to identify ourselves with the goal which sound very pertinent to us and from there we can use a creative mind to bring a solution to the problem face in our community and why not the world. For example, how do we address poverty, poor education, violation of human rights, climate change or why are cases of embezzlement rampant in Africa? These are all problems we can identify in our community, what is left for us youths is how do we bring solutions to each one of these problems?
Work with facts related to the issues you are addressing
It doesn’t suffices to identify a problem within a community. What makes the problem more pertinent is at the level of the available statistics, be it from textbooks, newspapers, achieves, pictures, testimonies, radios or media that we are able to judge the pertinence of the problem we are trying to bring a solution to the above mention problem, we will use the available resource to see if the identified problem is really pertinent. We do not judge the negative or positive impact of a problem by seating in our rooms, we get to the field and confronts people’s opinions and ideas about what we consider pertinent to the society before we can effectively develop an idea or else we might develop solutions that has for long be experimented and yet nothing has change or solved the problem thus missing the set focus.
Analyze the facts or data collected
After collecting the data concerning the problem you are out to address, use a critical approach method to analyze the information gotten, you analyze the gotten facts by weighing the information which one is true and which one may sound false, which information is positive or negative? You can use the SWOT approach (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threads) this helps you too, when it comes to bringing out the solution to the problem you’re trying to address.
Communicating your results
After the analyzing the collected data, meet other people and share the result you have gotten in so far as the problem you identified is concern, sharing is to help you to evaluate if your result or what you analyzed is true or pertinent? It is a way for you to check or evaluate your own ideas and conclusion about the identified problem not everybody see a particular problem the same way and note others opinions and ideas matters too but then you have the final say about your focus.
At this particular stage, you are called upon to make deep reflections, deep reflections because this is the heart of your work, what solution, can you propose to help a particular need, you are therefore called upon to make use of a creative and enterprising mind, thoughts that will make your actions or enterprise really outstanding, different, out of the common which aims at bringing a direct solution to the problem your community is facing. For example will creating a community farm help to reduce the level of famine in my locality? Or will the creation of a training center for women and girls help to empower more women to become great entrepreneur in petit businesses? This is a guide to the way we should reflect when trying to bring a solution to a challenge.
Sharing with professionals
Sharing your ideas at this point with the third party or professional is not a weakness, but it is rather a way for you to analyze the feasibility of the proposed idea, using the SWOT technique once again what are the strength, the weakness, the opportunities and the thread your idea may lead to if implemented, what will be the effect on human beings, the environment. How far can your proposed idea be realized or will it really help to bring a solution or will it rather widen or expand the problem? We should note that consulting expects of the domain we wish to work in, is very vital when you wish to enterprise or engage in an action. Doing that, will help to prevent you from wasting time, money, resources and energy in a project that might have little or no impact in your community.
At this level you should try to examine the technical, the human resources and the financial cost that your idea might need to cost if you are to implement it. What do you have as an individual for the project (the capital, labor, land, and entrepreneur), what do you need to add to what you have already? Given to the fact that we are working today in the world with professional standards, make sure you use the professional approach either by calling an expert to assist you to make your budget if you witness challenges. Make sure you put the cost of everything you need to make your idea come to life. Do not neglect any detail and make sure you include the cost of the things you already have as asserts for the project.
Planning the activities
Here, we are called upon to come out with a chronological plan of the activities we will be carrying out .We should note that, three main phases exist in the pacification of a project activity, we have a plan of work before the implementation of the project, during the implementation phase and then after the implementation. This helps us to organize our ideas and our work method in a way that we do not miss out something or fail to evaluate if what we have in mind is actually moving the right way. Like the adage goes, (proper planning prevents poor performance and failing to plan is planning to fail) we must plan our different activities in a chronological way without missing out any.
In this particular phase, we are called upon to move, moving do not implies leaving a country to another, moving here means that we should stretch our eyes and ears toward the right direction, go to the net, listen to the radio and televisions, attain forums, go to ministries, organization and embassies to find out about, sponsorship opportunities in relationship to the project and the problem you wish to solve in your community. If any available sponsor facility take the required forms and fill it , be truthful , be convincing in the way you write and defend your project ,remain focus and keep the hope to be selected ,but please do not put all your hopes on a single sponsor when applying ,you may get a negative response that at times destabilize.
Setting up monitoring and evaluation techniques
This is when you are fortunate to implement your idea or you gained sponsorship .Always make sure you develop those mechanisms that will help you evaluate the process or evolution of the project you are realizing, organize frequent meeting with your team to be sure everything is moving right ,take daily statistics, images about the evolution of the project, give feet backs to your sponsors or make monthly reports about the positive and negative challenges you face and seek for solutions to either prevent the negative results immediately or capitalize on the positive outcomes.
No human work is perfect but each day we strive towards perfection, the above steps may sound not sufficient to the experts in project writings, but note that our focus is not to give a whole lesson on project writing. We rather wish to give the tips/ secret and the most important steps for young dynamic leaders willing to do something to help realize the sustainable development goals objectives in their little community but then they lack the knowledge on how they should engage or how people even engage in community actions. The youth are today and tomorrow’s future, most of us perish because we lack the right knowledge on how things are done. We hope this modest contribution of ours will help inspire somebody reading this to do something for his community depending on his passion or what he things essential for humanity.
- Lessons from training workshop with Institute for Management and professional training (IMPT) on proper project writing ,monitoring and evaluation
- Lessons from training workshop with Network for Solidarity, Empowerment and Transformation for All (New SETA) on rebuilding peace through actions with inclusive reach.
- Lessons from activity with African Network against Illiteracy, Conflicts and Human Rights Abuse (Anichra), training workshop on volunteering.
- Lesson from activity with Association de development Harmonious entre Human(AD2H) ,field activities on sensitization and cleaning campaigns in the Community
- Lessons from activities with health club of the University of Yaoundé I, organization of sensitization campaigns on blood donation, Aids, SRH.
- Lessons from the History Geography and Archeology Academic Club(CHGA) activities and projects on African American world celebrations days
- Lessons from training workshop with France voluntaries,
- Lessons from training workshop with Junior Chamber International (JCI), during the Leadership Academy workshop.