UEM News

"Our diversity is our strength"

Current and former South-South and South-North volunteers of UEM (photo: Zakaria Mnkai/UEM).

From 23th – 26th August, 2019 the UEM Africa regional office conducted a midterm workshop to current and former South-South and South – North volunteers. The workshop was hosted by the Anglican Church of Rwanda (EAR) Cyangugu Diocese. 12 former and 3 current volunteers attended the workshop which aimed at sharing experiences and learning from each other.

The sharing of experiences from volunteers had shown that they gained a lot skills during their volunteer period in the different UEM member churches. Mr. Fiston Ngesera Mumbere who is from the Evangelical Church of Cameroon (EEC) reported that: "when I began my volunteer term, I was not even able to write a book regarding Sunday school lessons, but with the experience I gained from the Theology Institution where I worked in CBCA, I was able to publish 6 books namely "opportunities for the mission and hope for the church"; "life skills for our children and youth of ours schools today"; "Interaction with the word of God"; "a foundation for disciples training"; "Life skills for the training of disciples of Jesus Christ today among children"; and "Live the glory of god through my feelings and my emotions".

The workshop also intended to introduce to the network of African Youth United in Mission (AYUM) to those youth volunteers alumni. These recommendations and suggestion were proposed on how to improve communication and make UEM be owned by every young adult from member churches.

  • Church leaders should make use of former volunteers in youth programmes.
  • UEM should consider former volunteers on available vacancies and scholarship for further studies.
  • All volunteers are automatically considered as being members of AYUM.
  • All volunteers are requested to prepare small projects for self-reliance activities when they finish their volunteer contracts and UEM is requested to support it financially if possible.
  • UEM should be in contact with the hosting family to make sure that volunteers are well care as expected.

Apart from the successful shared stories, participants also mentioned some challenges. Some of them stated that they are not recognized by their churches and not used as they expected. Another issue is that, during their stay in the receiving churches, they expected that the sending churches would make a follow up on their progress, however, the whole year of their stay, there is no communication and even no follow up done by their home churches.

Zakaria Mnkai (Program Officer of UEM, region Africa)

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