New cycle of the initiative starts with a meeting of 42 volunteering tutors from 14 African nations.
By Liliane Mugombozi
Together for a New Africa – Second Edition (T4NA II) opened its doors on September 26, 2022, at Mariapolis Piero, a little town of the Focolare Movement in Nairobi, Kenya
This second cycle of a grassroots initiative starts with a training of tutors for five days with 42 participants from 14 countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, D.R. Congo, Angola, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Tutors are the key persons in the project, and during this week they will deepen the specific learning method of T4NA, they will acquire sufficient soft skills to guide and moderate small groups of trainees for the coming 36 months, as well as organize and mobilize funds with them for initiatives with a positive impact on the local communities.
The program of the first day started with a “revisit” of the genesis and first ideas by African students of Sophia University Institute, Italy (“Sophia”), who through their stories and lived experiences highlighted the aim of the project: to address the leadership challenge of the African continent and, through the Culture of Unity, to empower people by building their capacity so as to find ways to solve their problems with their means.
This was followed by an “evaluation” of the first cycle: tutors who accompanied students in the last 3 years alternated on stage, and shared their stories, experiences, hopes and challenges.
Their interventions shed light on a very interesting fact: the success of the project is built on a strong base of volunteerism and on a considerable commitment of tutors, lecturers, and the youth themselves. Another sign of growth: some of today’s tutors were students during the last cycle.
The afternoon program was rich in insights and perspective: Prof. Declan O’Byrne, Rector of Sophia, introduced the participants, both new and old, to the “roots” of the Culture of Unity. He emphasized in particular the life experience and thoughts of Chiara Lubich, founder of “Sophia”.
After that, an interdisciplinary round table took place, moderated by Rainer Gude, with Raphael Takougang, Daniela Ropelato, Liliane Mugombozi and Annette Baloing. This session expounded on concrete realizations of the culture of unity in politics, economics, law, and communication.
A moment of dialogue that concluded this first day, gave a clear indication of the high expectations of the participants, highlighting once more the ambitious aim of T4NA.
It is a fascinating opportunity for individuals and groups to be part of an energetic grassroots initiative masterminded by farsighted African youth for a better future for their homelands