All NAG efforts and staff members have been focused on preparing and running the first Future Leaders’ (FL) camp since the arrival of new recruits. The camp started on Saturday 24 September and ended on Wednesday 28 September. The number of FLs on the programme has increased substantially, going from 45 to 76, to ensure extensive coverage of the UGU district. An additional 5 FLs from the Ethekwini Municipality, funded by AECI in Partnership with Progression (disability equity specialists), attended the camp.
The purpose of the camp was to introduce the FL programme to new recruits, administer technical skills training, and served as a way to connect old and new FLs. The team were work-shopped on, amongst other things, asset based community development (ABCD), governance and organisation development, facilitation skills, monitoring and evaluation (M & E), and how to carry out surverys.
But of course it wasn’t all business and no play. Team building activities are always a feature of the FL camps, and this year was no different. In additional to this, Nomusa Buthelezi, our NAG runner enthusiast, encouraged some FLs to join her in the mornings for yoga, aerobics, zumba and running. Other recreational activities, like table tennis, netball, pool and volleyball, kept the team busy when they weren’t learning in session.
There was a real of eagerness to learn at this year’s camp. Many of the FLs displayed an interest in being an agent for change in their communities and helping to shape children’s futures. FLs have a deep knowledge of challenges in their communities, in particular concerning ECD centres, and came up with some creative solutions to these challenges. The old FLs had the opportunity to share from their past experiences and learnings
The group worked very well together. The collaboration and conversation was rich and the creativity and comedy was endless. One of the facilitators exercised a community development theory that suggests that if you allow a community to own a process then they have the ability to step up and follow through. This is exactly what happened during one of the facilitation sessions at the camp.
The talent show was not short of talent this year, some of which included zulu dance, poetry, solo artists, plays.
Testimonial from Umdoni FL (Nondumiso Mbatha):
I enjoyed meeting new people and learning more about the future leaders programme. We started to visit ECD centres in our areas but had no idea what we should be doing there. However, now what is expected of us and understand our role in the ECD centres in terms conducting of monitoring and evaluation (M & E) and organisational development (OD).
Testimonial from Ethekwini FL (Gail Precious Miya):
The camp was very nice because we learnt a lot of new things and new terminology like what is meant by ECD, NPO and OD. We also learnt what you need to do when you visit and how to work in partnership with the organisations. The group from Ethekwini Municipality expected to see other people living with disabilities but on arrival, we found that this was not the case. However, this did not hamper the learning process or the group cohesion. In fact, everyone was very helpful and open. An interesting presentation was delivered by a lady from Brain Boosters. They suggest that kids mustn’t be overloaded with learning, that kids learn with pictures and other learning techniques. We were challenged to practice our presenting skills by doing group tasks. Each group was a given a topic to discuss and present back. The main take out for me from the camp was that we need to understand that we haven’t come to take people’s jobs or take over the running of the organisations, but that we are placed to work in partnership with organisation and to develop their skills and facilitate learning by doing. I will be working with old age pensioners and I am so excited to get to work. The food was good, the water was hot, the camp was great!