7 December 2011
The Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) is the largest decentralized intergovernmental organisation solely committed to youth development set up by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1973. It operates in four regional Centres in Africa (Zambia), Asia (India), Caribbean (Guyana), South Pacific (Solomon Island), and the Pan-Commonwealth Office in London.
Although CYP has its presence in Africa with Zambia being the Commonwealth Youth Programme Regional Centre for Africa (CYP RCA), a visit by pupils from Ask International Community School revealed that, to most Zambian School pupils, its presence and programme activities are not known. November, 2011 was a land mark for pupils from Ask International Community School who made an educational tour to the CYP RCA-Commonwealth Secretariat in Lusaka.
The experience was educative and informative as observed from the personal comments made by the pupils. According to Theresa Banda a grade 10 pupil narrates, “November was just like any other month, but it was the most important and special month of my life because of the education tour at Commonwealth Centre. It is such a beautiful place, the secretariat officers welcomed us well and I felt at home”. We learnt what the Commonwealth is, its composition, Commonwealth day, Diversity and Unity; and history just to mention but a few, by exploring the young commonwealth web site. The information we got was like a house built on a rock foundation and I promise not to fail them with the information they gave me and the school at large. Wemaka Mutale also in the same grade shared similar sentiments with Theresa by stating that, he had no knowledge about commonwealth and never knew that CYP RCA was in Lusaka. He added that, the information he got brought development in his life.
Another pupil Evelyn Chricencia Namwiinga echoed her experience by stating that, another important thing learnt was knowing the focus of CYP in empowering young people through the three key programmes which are the Youth Enterprise and Sustainable Livelihood (YESL), Youth Work, Education and Training (YWET) and Governance, Development and Youth Network (GDYN). The other exciting thing was when we had the chance of operating the computers and exploring the young commonwealth web site which made our tour.
Mr. Alick Mulonda Mumba a teacher at Ask International School in his closing remarks stated that, the tour to Commonwealth was so great in the sense that what was experienced was more than expected. ASK International Community School was so excited to have been accorded a chance of been exposed at the Secretariat Office. What was thought to be a small tour turned to be an eye opener to the world. The exposure to computer lessons was great because to some pupils, it was the first time to sit before the computer and be able to operate them.
As they saying go “information is power”, this became a reality for pupils from Ask international Community School as the Head-Boy Emmanuel Nkunka pledged that, ‘we got the information which will remain in us and help us in future. It also made us realise how many Zambians don’t know how the office operates especially that it oversees about 22 countries in Africa and few people have noticed how important this office is”.