United Nations of Africa

So the first real day of training was really intense. We woke up and everyone was very tired from the night before as we were having our breakfast but then we say a group of baby monkeys in the trees around us so we all cheered up. We drove for about an hour through into Nairobi City and into the United Nations building. This place was probably one of the coolest buildings I have visited with all the flags lined up and big bushes cut out in the shape of giraffes.
As we entered the conference we were welcomed by Willis (Director of International Youth Kenya) with an introduction speech about what opportunities programmes likes these can bring to people in Kenya. Then we had a speech from Kelvin Keya (Partnerships Communications Specialist UN Volunteers) about what exactly his organisations was doing for the people of Kenya. He thanked us all greatly for coming and for participating in helping the community and talked about how we can help create opportunities for people by teaching basic video, audio and photography skills. We were then introduced to the director if the entire programme Dimitri who also thank us for coming, and spoke about the meaning of information – “if you can manage information you can manage the world”. I particularly like this quote from him because it relates well to what we have been learning in Media Studies at University. Broken down, it relates to how new opportunities that are arising due to social networking and better technology; and how this helps to contribute to how information can be more accessible and easier spread. The final introductions came from a man called David who was relating a message from the Chairman if the Youth Employment Fund. (Their goal is to promote youth employment and enterprenurialship). In his speech he quoted Winston Churchill, “History will be kind if you write it” – this was very interesting and I think it really resonates here, it is an understanding that we can change our future and the future of others for the better by participating in programmes like these.
We then had a brief speech from Peter Day who addressed what we are here to achieve and also outlines that we are not online engaging in this programme just for the students, we are also engaging and learning ourselves. This is called community based learning, this goes beyond just volunteering, it also helps us change and grow. Just from other people in my group I have learnt a great amount about video editing and filming already in order to teach others these skills.
We then had a fantastic speech from Sonja who got up and introduced who we were, what we did and what we were looking to get out of the next couple of weeks.
And that was only the first hour of the day… The actually community based learning came after the tea break…

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One comment on “United Nations of Africa

  1. You guy’s will have to let me know if my comments are appearing, as I have had some difficulties with joining up to this WordPress account. I really can’t wait to hear all of your stories in person about this, I have been following this blog everyday and catching up with what you guys are up too out there! Sarah I am really happy you got experience married life, albeit for 5 minutes! I really like the concept of the ‘two hands’ as a symbolic representation of intercultural partnerships of different tribes, I think this really represents the message you are trying to convey in the video clips. I also really related to the quote you included “if you can manage information, you can manage the world” from Dimitri. This really ties in with our course in general, about recognizing the powerful pervading stance of the media as an industry. Although the media often gets a lot of criticism for its power, in conjunctions with magazines and newspapers, the methods you are all passing on out there to Kenyan communities, highlights the real reasons I take part in this course. That is, the power of the media in improving social capital.

    Keep posting pictures! they keep me motivated whilst i’m writing two essays 🙂

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