The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

This guide shares our experiences as women leading youth projects for women and girls in three African countries – Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. Whilst some of the challenges we face are different, many are similar. We see that most of us start youth projects for young women and girls because we see their needs.  We see young people in places like Nairobi, Lagos and Johannesburg without access to quality education, unable to convert that education into a good job, or full of talents but lacking in confidence. We see girls with little opportunity to play safely or to study quietly. We see a need and we, as women invested in our communities, decide to do something about it.

We want to share the fruits of our labours with you

This guide explores the building blocks of a successful youth club such as:

  • Making sure it truly serves women and girls in our communities 
  • Using resources better
  • Asking for and receiving money and support, and
  • Making sure that it is well run

It also explains some key ideas that will keep your young people safe and convince donors and funders that you are the organisation best able to make an impact for good with their money. This is all done through sharing the story of Chidi, a composite of some of the amazing women we know in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria who are dedicated to empowering young women through youth work.

This isn’t a rule book

You can use this tool on your own or as a team to reflect on and develop your youth activities. Use it to:

  • Celebrate what you are already doing well, and everything you already know! 
  • Identify what you could do better
  • Spark your creativity
  • Inspire your team

So are you ready? 

You can read this guide as a book, or dip in and out. Each page can be shared with your friends and colleagues from your mobile. And each page has reflection questions so that you can relate our experience as youth workers with your own project – essentially you can use this as a training course.

Reflection Questions

  1. When did you first get involved in youth work? Why?
  2. What has been your greatest achievement as a youth worker?
  3. What has been your greatest lesson?
  4. What would you tell someone thinking of getting involved in youth clubs?
  5. What is the greatest challenge for your youth organisation right now?

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