By Nformi Sonde Kinsai
The Water and Climate Network of Youth Organisations of Central Africa, known by its French acronym as RECOJAC, is benefitting from the technical and financial support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO; and the Global Water Partnership, to prepare youths of the Central African Sub-region to effectively participate and showcase their projects at the March 2022 World Water Forum.
The event planned for Dakar, Senegal, is in its 9th edition and is placed under the theme: “Water Security for Peace and Development.” At an online workshop in Yaounde on September 24 to prepare the young people ahead of the forum, the Regional Coordinator of RECOJAC, Michelle Nken, said the organisation was designated Focal Point for Central Africa at the level of the African Youth Pilot Committee for mobilisation of young people.
She said that was why the online workshop, coordinated from Yaounde, had participants from Congo-Brazzaville; Cameroon; Chad; Gabon, and the Central Africa Republic.
She was grateful to the Multi-sectoral Regional Bureau of UNESCO for Central Africa and GWP for supporting, in 2020; the Water for Life Cameroon, Central African Youth project towards Dakar 2022 with US 3000 dollars each.
The purpose of the project, Nken maintained, is to select some projects designed by the youths in the sub-region; provide technical and financial support to get them matured so they could be presented at the upcoming World Water Forum.
“In 2020, 171 projects were received; three were selected following a rigorous process and have already benefitted from the technical support. In the financial domain, the selected projects have each received US 500 dollars in 2020 and in 2021.
“The organisation of this regional workshop is part of the action to continue accelerating the preparation process of the selected youths and the perpetual mobilisation of young people in the region around the upcoming forum. The event would serve as an opportunity for the young people to build partnerships with technical and donor institutions.
“We are working hard for Central Africa to have a different type of participation. Our sub-region is not always well represented meaning that many projects may be ongoing but not put to the limelight. We want, through our projects; to showcase the know-how and ingenuity of the youths of the sub-region.
“It is an opportunity for them to have visibility for possible endorsement and funding of their projects on a higher scale,” Nken stated.
On why they are accompanying youths in Central Africa to be more engaged in the water sector, the Regional Communication Officer and Knowledge Management for the GWP in Central Africa, Samyra Amabo, said this is part of the institution’s 2020-2025 strategy.
“We have a whole section for youth’s engagement. Water is everybody’s problem whether you are young, old, in the private or public sector, man or woman. When youths begin to see and understand why it is important for them to be engaged in securing water resources for the future, they come up with project ideas and that’s when we come in to help them make these projects sustainable.” Amabo told reporters in an interview.
The event was also marked by elections into the national bureau of RECOJAC and the holding of a regional general assembly of the organisation.