The Africa Liberal Youth recently had an opportunity to attend a youth workshop hosted by the Africa Liberal Network and funded by the Liberal Democrats in Johannesburg, South Africa. On the fringe of the Liberal International meeting from 26 – 29 October 2017, they learned about social media use for political organisations, fundraising for projects and got to share company with some of the world’s biggest liberal figures.
Richard Nii Amarh, the Secretary-General of ALY, wrote about their experience at this youth workshop:
“The Africa Liberal Youth (ALY) had the opportunity to stay in Johannesburg between 26 and 29 October 2017 to undertake a workshop on Social Media and Fundraising. In fact this was the same time the Liberal International Executive Committee was having its 199th Executive Committee meeting. This workshop was made possible through the kind funding of the International Office of the Liberal Democrats.
The purpose of this workshop was to equip the Executive Committee of ALY with the necessary skills to take full advantage of social media to achieve its purpose, while at the same time raise funds to finance its operations. All six Executive Committee members of ALY were present: Richard Nii Amarh, Secretary General; Luyolo Mphithi, Treasurer; Jawad Chafil, North Africa Coordinator; Emmanuel Osei, West Africa Coordinator; Hamisi Kapalila, East Africa Coordinator; and Lidia Rauch, Southern Africa Coordinator. These executives were also joined by Tone Bjorndal, Secretary General of IFLRY and Anders Rehnberg, vice President of IFLRY. Harriet Shone of the LibDems International Office and Zanie Ferreira of the ALN were there to supervise the two-day workshop.
The workshop exposed the participants to the intricacies of social media platforms, how they work optimally, how they can be improved, how to use them professionally, etc. The team had the opportunity to audit their own social media platforms based on professional standards provided by the facilitators. This audit helped them identify the strengths and weaknesses of the social media platforms and to help them review them for the better. Marike Groenewald, the facilitator, and Mabine Seabe of the Democratic Alliance should be commended for the sharing of their immense knowledge in social media communication with the participants.
The second day of the workshop gave the team an opportunity to balance the balance sheet. It was time to talk money. Participants learnt a lot from, Jonathan Moakes, chief strategist for the Democratic Alliance who had a hand in building up the DA to the admirable party it is today. Fundraising is not always a comfortable subject in politics. ALY has the advantage of not being a political party and might be luckier. Yet it has to prioritise fundraising and use social media to its advantage. Jonathan exposed us to very diverse resources and, most importantly, practical ways of raising funds to support our activities.
On the last day we had the chance to meet in order to plan how we would execute all we had learned. By ourselves, without a facilitator, only us. This gave the Executive Committee the chance to make decisions and provide timelines for these plans. The workshop was not the only thing that happened in Johannesburg. ALY executives had the chance to interact with some LI Executive committee members as well as the opportunity to attend the FNF Freedom Award. It was an amazing opportunity to meet some important Liberals and listen to the freedom situations in some Africa countries.
On the first day of our training, we had the opportunity to have some encouraging words from the President of the Africa Liberal Network, Stevens Mokgalapa. This was so refreshing as we hardly get to meeting him until such occasions. This has been a very great opportunity for ALY. As a continental organisation, with executives from diverse areas in Africa, we hardly get the chance to meet in person. The workshop along with our Executive Meeting left us with a positive feeling and a renewed energy for the ALY.
I would like to thank the funders and hosts, as well as my team for their hard work and dedication.”