Don Bosco Tech Africa (DBTA) will from this year be hosting two Annual Stakeholders Assemblies (ASA); One in March which will be in-person, involving the office of the Economer, Planning and Development Office (PDO), Province Youth Ministry Delegate, Province Technical and Vocational Education and Training (PTVET), and the Province Job Service Officers (PJSOs) and another one in September.
The 6th Annual Stakeholders Assembly was held from 22nd March to 26th March 2021 at Savelberg Retreat Centre, in Nairobi (Kenya), with some delegates attending virtually owing to the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions in various countries. This meeting was an opportunity to align the annual plans of DBTA office and the TVET activities of the Salesian Provinces in the Africa-Madagascar region. Besides, the meeting offered a platform to plan the TVET activities in the Provinces, especially for the office of the PTVET under the guidance of the Youth Ministry Delegate.
Among the notable partner development organizations that attended this year’s ASA were: representatives from the Youth Ministry Department in Rome (Italy), Don Bosco Tech ASEAN, Don Bosco Mondo (Bonn), Institut de la Francophonie pour l’éducation et la formation (IFEF), and Supporting Alliance for African Mobility (SAAM).
A total of 55 participants attended the conference both in-person and virtually. The meeting was moderated by Br. John Njuguna, DBTA Deputy Director.
During his keynote address, Fr. Alphonse Owoudou, the Regional Councillor for Africa – Madagascar, expressed his profound gratitude to all participants for attending this crucial meeting, and thanked the DBTA team for the milestones achieved. He reminded the participants about two elements of Salesian Youth Ministry; governance which entails decision making and animation that entails accompanying, assisting and helping the vulnerable young people.
While addressing participants, Fr. Patrick Anthonyraj from the Youth Ministry Department in Rome expounded on the role of the Youth Ministry Delegates in the Provinces in relation to DBTA.
On his introductory speech, Fr. George Tharaniyil, the DBTA Executive Director, acknowledged all individuals and partner organizations present, and highlighted the agenda that would shape discussions for the week-long meeting. “Let us make use of this opportunity to build the network, its capacities and ultimately to direct all our efforts to the young people in the training Centres.” He emphasized.
Mr. Steffen Gross, the Project Manager Public Cooperation Partners at Don Bosco Mondo, also had an opportunity to address participants about the ongoing projects and future project prospects for the Salesian Provinces. He underscored the importance of a strong TVET strategy in the Provinces, and the power of collaboration and a formidable network which would bring more opportunities to benefit the young people.
The Youth Ministry Delegates (YMDs) also had an opportunity to make a presentation of their current activities in relation to the TVET Centres. Through this ASA meeting, the roles of YMDs in relation to TVET activities in the Provinces and their interaction with DBTA office in managing projects were clearly defined.
The DBTA team explained the various projects and work packages for the provinces to the participants. This was followed by side meetings between DBTA team and the representatives from the different provinces, to help the office understand better the situation on the ground, and to ensure that everyone focuses their energies on the same goals and objectives of empowering the vulnerable young people.
Later on, there were team building activities providing participants with an opportunity to bond and learn from one another. This was followed by a tree planting exercise, whereby three orange seedlings were planted in commemoration of the recent Africa Environment Day and as a way of promoting green practices.
In his concluding message, Fr. Patrick Anthonyraj thanked DBTA and all the participants for their active participation in the meeting despite the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, also reminding them the priorities of the Congregation – the Salesian TVET Centres as the ‘option for the poorest’. “This journey is hard, tedious and long. We are not alone. We cannot be alone. Let us come together on every level. Let us share our resource in every possibility! Let us move towards the same goal every day!” he concluded.
At the close of the week-long conference, Fr. George TJ thanked all stakeholders for the continued support to DBTA initiatives. “As we go back to our Provinces, let’s go with renewed enthusiasm. Let’s keep up the momentum. Let’s keep up the communication with DBTA and most importantly, within your Provinces.” He stressed.