14 May 2008
The course is designed to provide youth workers with knowledge and skills to facilitate the development of young people
“In the last few years there have been times where children raped by their relatives have come to see me,” explains Cheryl Sam, a guidance counsellor and social studies teacher. “When this happens I have to do all I can to offer them some comfort and hope that they will be able to get through the ordeal.”
Ms Sam, 43, works with children throughout Guyana, a number of whom have dropped out of school.
Many of the young people she speaks with are exposed to peer pressure, which is also seen by Glenna Toney in her role as a Youth Officer at Guyana’s Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport. She notes that “there are a great deal of parents who both have to work, so don’t have time to spend with their children, which often leads them exposed to problems like drugs, prostitution and gambling.”
Ms Sam and Ms Toney are graduates of the Commonwealth Youth Programme Diploma in Youth Development Work, which is taught in 45 countries by 27 universities and training agencies across the Commonwealth.
It is designed to provide youth workers with knowledge on which to base their work with young people; an understanding of the values and ethics of the profession; and the practical skills to undertake the work.
Back in class
Despite the difficulties they are encountering, Ms Sam and Ms Toney have witnessed a number of occasions in recent years where their work has directly impacted on an individual’s life. “I have known some kids who left school at 11 but because of the work we have done with them, they are now back in class, because they appreciate that there is another path they can take,” says Ms Toney.
After an impromptu game of football or other local community activity, a team of Ms Toney’s colleagues will often make themselves available, in case any teenager would like to discuss anything that is troubling them. As an unassuming and non-committal presence in communities they aim to be approachable figures for any young person.
Both youth workers have been able to pass on their training from the diploma to other colleagues working in the same field.
Ms Sam has also implemented an activity which encourages young people to work together, “because they can understand and communicate with each other better than adults can.”
She explains: “Because we can’t be with them the whole time, I give advice to young people so when they speak with each other they can pass it on so that it becomes endemic within their groups.”
The Commonwealth’s Diploma is concerned with young people's personal and social development in its broadest sense, and uses both formal and informal educational methods. It is made up of 13 ‘core’ modules, in addition to region-specific modules. The modules cover topics such as enterprise and economic development, youth policy, gender, health, project management, the environment and sustainable development.
I am a first year student of the commonwealth youth in Development work diploma course in the university of Ghana Legon.It is very interesting course and very educative.I have already recommended it to most of my colleagues.Thanks Commonwealth secretariar for this opportunity
Dear Sir, Please I am a Nigerian. I am Currently Living in Nigeria. I am a youth worker for over a decade, Please I need more infomation about the Commonwealth Diploma educates the educators\. kindly send to me all the detail and application pack . Thanks Omotosho Bolarinwa Michael
I find this interesting more especially in South Africa.I am one in a million who is dealing with youth programmes but still I need to be capacitated and empowered so that I can be able to have different approach tactics when it comes to urban /rural communities.
The services of these diplomats are needed especially in Africa where qualified educationist are not available. The educators will also be motivated if they must go and reach out to these people because it is not easy to stay in a strange land and deliver one's services.