After three days of anticipation the Workshop has finally started! My time zones are still way-off, so I woke up at 4:30 am to catch up on a few emails, before heading outside to see the resort grounds for the first time.
After breakfast, our program started promptly at 8:00am in large conference room located within the complex. We began with an opening ceremony with several dignitaries: the Director of the International Labour Organization, the Director of the Commonwealth Youth Programme Africa and a representative from the Zambian Ministry of Sport, Youth & Child Development. The highlight of the opening was the beautiful a cappella signing of the Zambian national anthem by the workshop participants. I’m going to briefly summarize the day’s programming in note form:
-Opening ceremonies with speeches by dignitaries, and a group photo
-Introductory name game by the participants. We were asked not only for our name, origin, and work, but also “what we do would do if we were the opposite sex?” The responses ranged from very funny (by both men and women) to very serious answers on empowerment and power. My answer: “Since all of the women in my life drive me crazy, if I was a woman, I would similarly drive men crazy.”
-An overview of different ways to create dialogue within a group. We ended up using two of those methods during first days. The café method involves splitting individuals into small groups and having them sit around a circle with one designated facilitator. After 10-15 minutes of discussion, the groups would shuffle and everyone except the facilitator would move to a new group. We used this format to discuss different youth entrepreneurship programs in our countries.
-The second dialogue format that we were introduced to was a talk show format called the fishbowl. In this format, participants represented hosts, panelists, and audience guests, who would rotate in and out of the “fishbowl” and either provide or answer questions. In this session, we discussed the role of government in youth employment and the perspectives from different countries.
-We had a short presentation on what the Commonwealth organization is and what its goals are. One of our participants is actually from the newest Commonwealth state, Rwanda.
-Tatenda from Zimbabwe gave a short presentation on the program that he was running in his country targeted towards youth employment.
-We took part in an activity where we stood in a circle while a ball tied to a string was thrown across our circle from person to person. Once a ball was thrown to you, you needed to tell a story about how networking had helped you achieve success in your personal or professional life. By the time that everyone had a turn, we had created a giant web with the string, which of course, symbolizes the networks that we are creating.
In the evening, we climbed onto a two-story boat and went for a beautiful trip towards the edge of the Zambian waters. The trip was perfectly timed with the sunset, so be sure to check out the photo album below for the photos. On the boat, we completed the networking activity and further socialized between all of the participants.
Click here for the updated photo album with lots more photos. Today’s photos are numbered 46-75.