If you can find your footing between two cultures, you can have the best of both worlds.

Randy Pausch

Young African women and girls are torn between two seemingly incompatible realities as we enter the fifth industrial – digital – revolution. On the one hand, our young women live in a world rich in culture and structured by traditions that frequently marginalise vulnerable women and children. In this world, they experience first-hand the consequences of unbridled corruption and the ravages of poverty. On the other hand, they can enter a seemingly parallel universe of skyscrapers and apparently limitless equal opportunities at the swipe of a screen. Women leading youth clubs and other programmes to empower young women may feel out of touch or without common ground on which to meet and dialogue with the young people, both about these issues directly, and their consequences on outlooks and girls’ ambitions.

Helping African youth workers understand the digital world for young women

In this guide, we hope to explore the best ways of engaging young people online and accompanying them on their digital journey in order that they may live the best of both worlds.

Updating your youth work knowledge for the digital era

This guide will help build on the wealth of knowledge you have already built in your work with young people. It will also help explore the challenges and barriers you may have encountered in your youth work – such as leading youth clubs – and reflect on different possibilities that may lead to solutions. More than anything it will help you to reflect on the importance of dialogue and building trust. The questions asked will help to reflect on key ideas that you can work on with friends and colleagues.

Seeing digital as an opportunity for youth workers

We also want to encourage you to consider how to use the internet to improve your youth work. You can connect to youth workers worldwide, share ideas or ask questions of youth workers across your country or even the world. You can access learning resources for your young people from organisations far away, addressing the gaps in your own – or local – knowledge and skills. 

Reflection Questions

  1. How long have you been involved in youth work? 
  2. How do you feel about the online activity of the youth you work with?
  3. How do you approach this topic in your work with the youth?
  4. Do you feel able to learn from the youth?
  5. As you speak of the digital space with the youth, are you a mentor or a rule setter? Is there dialogue or lecture?

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