Sometime late June, a friend on Facebook, knowing of my strong interest in Africa and development issues, pointed me to the YALDA International Facebook group. YALDA, an acronym for Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa, is an NGO that is aimed at training, connecting, motivating and mentoring the next generation of African leaders through university-based clubs and conferences. The YALDA network covers universities in every region of Africa, and even stretches to universities outside the continent, where there are sizeable African student communities. I got hooked by their model which seeks to marry the expertise and experience of the older generation with the creativity and zeal of the youth : Youth envision, professionals assist, Africa is transformed. Simple.
The YALDA 2011 Conference will be held at Gaborone, Botswana, from 18th 22nd August, under the theme "“Spotlight on Africa: Youth Owning the Continent’s Development Wave.” The menu is interesting and enriching, with content derived from community-building, entrepreneurship, technology, health and development. This resonates with my personal ethos and association with similar events in Ghana. Botswana is a great venue because it is an iconic African success story. Unlike most conferences I have been, YALDA conference spans four days, so there is enough time to deliberate on issues, discuss ideas, network and really get to know fellow delegates. I told myself "I have to be there."
So, I got in touch with the organisers about participating in their upcoming conference in Gaborone, Botswana. Just about two weeks ago, I received official confirmation. Botswana, here I come.
Not so quite. For the past two weeks my attempts at getting funds from corporate entities have not been successful. Should I give up?
No. With the encouragement of some friends and mentors I've set up a ChipIn account to crowdsource my fundraising in a collaborative fashion.
The results are encouraging so far. At the end of Day 1, I've raised $120, 12% of my estimated target. I'm calling on all my friends, acquaintances, project mates, admirers, readers and everyone to "Chip In" something to make my participation in the YALDA conference a success. If you don't use PayPal, get in touch with me via phone, email or leave a message in the comments section and I will follow up. I would also appreciate it if you share the link to my ChipIn page (http://gamelmag.chipin.com/participation-presentation-and-blogging-at-yalda-conference-2011) or this post in your social networks.
Support me to attend YALDA 2011 because this conference will be very crucial in shaping my leadership and social activism skills. The panels, presentations and networking at YALDA 2011 will create the platform to learn many useful things that will be infused into my activities back home, thus promoting development.
I want to use this opportunity to thank Worlali Senyo, Raquel Wilson, Kamon Ayeva, Kwame Andah, Edward Tagoe, Prisca Kekesi, Dzidodo Adjahoe, Gladys Coleman and Christopher Adika for all the financial and moral support they have given me in my journey to Gaborone so far.