Youth Advocacy Network

The Youth Advocacy Network trains young people in new media advocacy so that they can begin to advocate for local issues internationally. Through our internship program, we also connect our most promising youth with established NGOs that wish to build an online presence.
Jun 6, 2014

YAN Graduation and Start Student Internships

The 2013-3013 YAN Program has been a bubbling success with forty-two students participating from two schools.  Students graduated last week and their advocacy projects will be online and ready for viewing soon!

With the end of the school year's program comes the beginning of our summer programming. This year YAN was able to offer summer internship to eleven outstanding students.  Six will be placed in the community - at such organizations as Green Cameroon, Z TV and The Woman's Development Center - while five will be working directly with the Youth Advocacy Network.

Community interns will work to build local organization's capacity and online presence while YAN interns will work to bring a little piece of YAN to student's whose schools are too under-resourced to be included in the year's programming.  The interns have already sorted through the applications for the summer camp and chosen 20 students to participate. Next week they will be calling them to congratulate them and confirm their participation.


One aspect of YAN programming that is not always highlighted in the Advanced Class's sensitization presentations.  On that note I shall leave you for a blog post from the field:


June 3rd 2013

By Antonia 

Advanced YAN puts their research into ACTION!

Sensitization projects are the main thing that sets the Advanced class apart from the regular YAN class. This year we started the school year with nine bright and motivated returning YAN graduates who initiated the Advanced YAN class!

Depending on each individual, students either continued researching their topic from the previous year or started working on research for another topic. Everyone except for 2 groups were working alone. The students and their research topics are as follows:

David and Balemba: Poverty

Henry: Prostitution

Jean: Corruption

Cardine and Deril: Nature Conservation

Desmond: Scamming

Shemilove and Deril: Malaria  

I spoke with the Principal and she agreed to find a classroom or two which we could present in on the last Thursday before school ended (22nd May). The final week of school was a busy one – even though there were 2 public holidays (Monday and Tuesday) we still managed to get the Advanced YAN students together to prepare for their sensitization. On Wednesday, I came to the school with poster board, markers, colored paper and scissors.

We reviewed a previous lesson going over components of a good sensitization, how to keep your crowd entertained, visual aids, and method of delivery. 

We ended up presenting to 38 students!  Presenters started out by introducing themselves, YAN and the topic they researched.  For example, in the poverty group students  gave their definition of poverty and then read the exact definition from their poster. Then they talked more about the problem itself, why these problems matter and finally solutions to poverty. The last part was showing the video that they had filmed, edited and produced! All of the students were really impressed! 

At the end, the group took any questions; one bright and witty Form One girl one asked “How will you stop poverty?” Both David and Balemba seemed a bit perplexed despite the fact that they had done research the entire year on the topic… Soon Balemba turned to the poster and began to list off a few solutions they had previously mentioned such as “Open more schools which provide a free education, give scholarships to those living in poverty…” As he read those things, the girl was obviously not impressed and she asked again, “How will you do those things?” I was happy she really poked at these Advanced YAN students to really make them think how they will instigate change. They looked at each other. They looked at me. I said, “Come on guys, how will you make these things happen. How can you advocate for these changes?” Once I said those key words: change, government and advocacy – both of them had a light bulb turn on in their head. They went into a short explanation about how they can continue doing project such as this one (sensitization), they can have workshops, announce on the radio and even start fundraising on their own for scholarships. The student seemed satisfied with this answer and sat down. 


Mar 5, 2014

YAN Gears up for the 2014-2015 Internship Program

Group Photo of Last Year
Group Photo of Last Year's Interns

Last year seven students from the Youth Advocacy Network were placed in internship with local organizations.  This part of the YAN programs allows our most ambitious and talented studnets to put to work theri newfounds skills for organziations in their community.  The internships will begin in June 2014 and as such we are starting to fundraise now. Each donor, with a donation of eight dollars, will fully support one intern. This money pays for the intern's travel and meal costs during the month, allowing them to accept the unpaid work instead of taking summer jobs.  Donors will recieve a thank you letter and information about their student.  

To give you more information abotu the internship from last year, here is our fellows' blog post from June 2013:

In the morning of Monday, June 3, with summer vacation barely 72 hours begun and YAN graduation just 48 hours into the past, we welcomed 7 of our students into our house at Pala Pala field. These students, among the strongest in all of our YAN classes, hailed from each of the three schools that we teach at. We had selected them based upon the strength of an application and their work in YAN classes to participate in the first ever YAN internship, whereby students were paired with organizations in the Buea area to serve as interns for the month of June. Emmanuel joined us from Lycee Molyko, Nelson came from G.H.S. Limbe, and Eyole, Lucia, Josiane, Tetsop, and Ruth arrived from G.H.S. Buea Town, just down the street.

After these seven students introduced themselves to each other, we proceeded up to Pala Pala field for a game that Clara frequently plays with student groups in Costa Rica—and which I once had to play as a part of a job interview. The game, called “Eyes, ears, mouth, and hand” requires students in groups of three to each take on one role to retrieve an object (in this case, a water bottle) hidden in an open field. One student, who is blindfolded, has the task of trying to find the object. Another student in the group has the job of directing them verbally, but must face away from the field (and thus, their partner), and cannot see what they are doing. The final student stands facing the other two, and can see the entire scene but cannot speak; this person must use visual cues to indicate to the talker what he or she should tell the blindfolded individual to do in order to find the hidden object. It was great watching our students struggle with this game together, and then debrief it with us. What, we asked, was hard about the game? What was easy? What worked and what didn’t? What does this game have to do with collaborating with others in an NGO office setting? Our students (at this point, no longer our students but our nascent interns) got the idea right away.

After discussing the purpose of the internship, we arranged some logistical matters including finances (our interns are supported by individual donations to Youth Advocacy Network; if you’re interesting in supporting an intern for their month-long work, check out our website!). We then took our students around to their organizations and introduced them to their supervisors for the month. Emmanuel and Ruth went to the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), an NGO that works with local communities on agroforestry projects and on protecting wild primate species; Eyole, Tetsop, and Nelson went to the International Centre for Environmental Education and Community Development (ICENECDEV), an NGO that runs educational programs in a local prison and at local schools, and houses an environmental education lending library; and Lucia and Josiane went to ProClimate International, an NGO that sells—and educates the public about—environmentally-friendly wood stoves. We introduced students to their supervisors, made sure that everyone felt comfortable with each other, and then—like anxious parents dropping their kids off on the first day of school—we left our students to begin their work.

In the days that followed, as we visited internship sites and checked in with our interns, we have been beyond impressed by the work that they have already undertaken. Our ERuDeF interns, on just the second day of work, participated in activities for the International Day for the Environment, and documented the experience for inclusion in a forthcoming newsletter. Our ICENECDEV interns have created an amazing newsletter about ICENECDEV’s work, complete with dozens of color photographs, and will begin making a blog about it this coming week. And our ProClimate interns have already journeyed to the neighboring town of Kumba to help sell stoves in the local market, and see how ProClimate goes about its work. With our interns so busy and yet so independent at work, we have been gratified to find that we are scarcely needed at all, apart from a quick drop-in every few days to see how everyone is doing. We are so proud of our interns for their hard work, and so grateful to our partner organizations for giving these students the chance to learn from their organizations and contribute to their organizations’ work in the Buea community.

Dec 2, 2013

Happy Holidays and YAN Update!

Antonia speaking to local news about YAN
Antonia speaking to local news about YAN

Greetings from the Youth Advocacy Nework,

Happy thanksgiving weekend and Christmas season!  YAN's 2013-2014 program is in full swing now.  Antonia Morzenti, this year's teaching fellow, is currently just finishing the process of helping the studends choose advocacy projects. Projects range from diabetes awareness to the lack of access to tehchnology in Cameroon. She has also been working with interested past YAN students during an advaned session once a week.  These students are excited to be continuing and expanding their tech and advocacy education!

Antonia was also asked to present on YAN's behalf at Cameroon's 2013 BarCamp.  Here is a bit more about BarCamp and her experience there:


"BarCamp is held throughout the year in Cameroon and all around the world. This year Buea was fortunate enough to be the first Anglophone region to host the event. Bar Camp is a the largest annual “non-confirance” of passionate individuals who are interested and involved sectors of the digital and technology societ. Those attending and presenting include: bloggers, photographers, videographers, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts,  journalists, activists, professors, field specialists and students. It’s a meeting of forward-thinking minds coming together to discuss the countless opportunities and obstacles they all face in the era of modern technology.

BarCamp is refered to as a “non-conference” because of its informal format and random/sporatic scheduling. Nevertheless and undoubtedly, quality discussions, stimulating interaction and a trade fair-like atmosphere are some of its characteristics. BarCamp is seen as a combining platform between Cameroon’s tech and civil society, geared at addressing grand issues of the day. 

A friend of mine, Al Banda, who works at ActiveSpaces (a organization that incubates local businesses) had invited me to give a presentation at this years BarCamp. He told me that it was going to be a very informal ‘non-conference’ and I would have between 15-20min to give a speech and a powerpoint presentation. Although the expected audience number of 200-300 was not met, I was still able to reach out to a good amount of people. I spoke about the founding of YAN, how it has improved and grown since 2009 and what we are doing presently. I also mentioned the need of interns! It was nice to get feedback from the audience which mostly included focusing more of the curriculum on social media while also advising YAN to work in more schools. After the speech I was asked to say a few words for a local news crew talking about YAN and the BarCamp event in general." 

Antonia Morzenti, November 5th, 2013


Many thanks for all your support and I'll be back in touch in a few months to let you know how classes are going!




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