World Youth Alliance club hosts conference on foreign aid and coercive practices

By Sebit J. Lavirick

The World Youth Alliance (WYA) club at USIU-Africa, in collaboration with the World Youth Alliance Africa Regional Office organized a conference held on November 21 and 22. The conference tackled the theme ‘Foreign Aid and Coercive Practices: African Youth Perspective on Donor Funding and Ideology’ and brought together young minds, seasoned professionals, and experts to explore the complex dynamics surrounding foreign aid and its impact on African nations.

The first day kicked off with a presentation from Mr. Nyingi Wahome, WYA-Africa Regional Advocacy Fellow who introduced the session and set the stage for enlightening discussions. Dr. Hemes Wanjiku, NASCOP-AYP Program Manager, took the stage for a plenary session on ‘Financial Aid as a Tool for Change’. Dr. Wanjiku's insights delved into the transformative potential of financial aid when directed towards youth-driven initiatives, emphasizing sustainable change.

The event then transitioned to an online plenary session led by Mislav Barisic, WYA Director of Advocacy, focusing on ‘Tackling Foreign Aid and Coercive Practices White Paper’. The discussion zeroed in on China and India, analyzing their roles in foreign aid and the potential coercive practices that may accompany such assistance. The session also had a discussion on ‘Foreign Aid as a Tool to Promote Ideology’, exploring the link between donor funding and reproductive health which was presented by Mr. Richard Kakeeto, KCDF Life Committee Convener.

The day concluded with group discussions centered on leadership training on advocacy strategies, reporting, relationship building, partnerships, and exploring youth impact on donor funding and ideology through homegrown solutions.

The second day commenced with a plenary session examining the connection between corruption in Africa and coercive practices. A case study on the financing of research and government officials in African countries shed light on the intricate web of corruption that can accompany foreign aid.

Ms. Joy Maina, WYA Africa Regional staff, took the stage to discuss WYA program implementation, specifically the Human Dignity Curriculum (HDC) and the FEMM program. Her presentation highlighted the tangible impact of these programs in empowering youth. The spotlight then shifted to a plenary session on ‘National Debt as a Consequence of Foreign Aid’. The discussion delved into the effects of the Belt and Road Initiative's development aid on African countries, offering a comprehensive understanding of the economic implications.

The conference concluded with a closing ceremony featuring Best Delegate Awards presented by Mr. Nyingi Wahome, WYA Africa Regional Advocacy.

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