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Youth Problems Exposed At eLearning Africa 2011


The Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER) hosted an Umoja session at e-Learning Africa 2011. Sitting around a big round table, young and old Africans gathered to discuss first the problems that face the youth, and then organically, the solutions that that these problems might have. The Umoja session (like a Xhosa Imbizo "Gathering") was not really led at all. Spontaneous statements, and replies characterised a discussion that ranged widely across the continent and also across social classes.

We heard from a young man from Botswana that the ethical fabric of his society is threatened by culture imports from the West, which do not fit the traditions of his society.

Children from impoverished as well as wealthy households were discussed. One participant from Nigeria asked what kind of a role-model one is for one's children if one is an important politician and is shown on national television physically fighting with other politicians. One should be apologetic and explain why such behaviour is wrong, and not be proud of such behaviour as the person in question was.

We discussed the plight of poor slum dwellers in Kenya, whose chances at attaining a decent education were lessened because of basic deprivations, and also distractions from their context. School was not cool, because they could earn money in other illicit ways and their parents were often incapable of encouraging them to go to school. Programs that made sure children go to school and their successes were discussed. Such a programme is also underway at Nkwalini at the Solar Schools Project. Concerned parents and community leaders are forcing children to go to school regardless of whose children they are. The people realise that uneducated children are a burden on the future of the community.

There were also several ideas about how ICTs could help.  A stronger African footprint - something that we have been advocating since we started eKhaya ICT in 2007 - is required to counteract the influences from the West and prevent society from disintegrating.

You can read more about the Umoja session, and view an excellent Mindmap of the proceedings distilled from 2 and a half hours talk by Katja Sarajeva.

Posted: July 14th 2011 07:49

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