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MANDELA INSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPMENT STUDIES (MINDS) CIVIC WORKSHOP

The Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) is a continental institute that seeks to address the short, medium, and long-term development challenges in Africa in a holistic and comprehensive manner. The National Coordinator of African Business Centre for Developing Education (ABCDE), Mr. Felix Yirdong was selected to join about 28 youth leaders from North and West African Countries to participate in MINDS civic workshop on elections and governance held in Dakar, Senegal.

The workshop sought to equip the various youth leaders with the skills required to be effective leaders. Resource persons sought to enhance the awareness, knowledge and skills of participants in electoral and governance processes, and effective communication skills in order for participants to be able to mobilize their colleagues to actively participate in the electoral and governance processes in their communities and nations. The two (2) day workshop which was sponsored by MINDS was held at Savana Hotel in Dakar from 19th – 20th March, 2016.

During the opening ceremony Dr. Nkosana Moyo, the founder and Executive Chair of MINDS challenged the youth leaders present at the meeting to start working towards the Africa they want to see instead of sitting unconcerned and hoping for change to come from some politician. He further retreated the need for the youth leaders to begin to think of how they can network to help Africa in the years to come since “irrespective of our nationality, we are all Africans”. At the workshop we were challenged to work to earn respect, work towards the betterment of Africa and stop

complaining, develop the needed skills so as to be relevant to Africa’s development, and identifying yourself as an African. According to Dr. Moyo, the youth in Africa constitute 60% of the population and hence the choice of a leader for any African country is heavily dependent on the youth and their choice of a leader. Therefore it is important for youth leaders to appreciate the power and the role they play in electoral and governance related issues in their respective countries and share these knowledge with their colleagues. Participants

for the workshop were youth leaders from Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Togo, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, South Africa, Central Africa Republic, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Benin and Gabon.

    Topic treaded at the workshop included:

  1. Understanding Democracy
  2. Establishing indicators of democracy
  3. Identifying features of transparent, free and fair elections
  4. Understanding the electoral system
  5. Governance issues in Africa
  6. Ensuring transparency, accountability and participation in governance
  7. How to engage stakeholders for election, governance and development effectively
  8. Effective communication
  9. Leadership skills
  10. How to mobilize a team to achieve a common goal.

At the event, participants from English speaking countries were presented with ABCDE 2016 brochure. There was a discussion between the National Coordinator of ABCDE and the organizers of the MINDS workshop towards holding similar civic education workshop in election and governance for youth in Ghana. MINDS was grateful for the suggestion and have requested for a proposal to that effect.

Certificates of participation were presented to respective participants at the end of the workshop. Overall, the event was successful and insightful. I am grateful to God for the opportunity to be selected for such an important event. I am thankful to Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah (Founder and Chairman, ABCDE) and Ms Susan Mensah (CEO, ABCDE) for their immense support to me always. I am also grateful to all ABCDE staff for their enormous support towards me.

As a follow-up to the workshop ABCDE will consider incorporating the various models from MINDS on leadership, governance and electoral issues into its current curriculm to enlighten the various ABCDE club members on these matter.

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