For the first time since 2019, the flagship IFWEA Youth Global Awareness Programme (YGAP) was held in person, at Community House in Cape Town, South Africa. Nineteen participants from organisations including ISD, IBTIKAR, ABF, TSL, UNI Africa, Patsimeredu Education Trust, ZCIEA and StreetNet gathered from 16 to 29 October 2022. The participants were drawn from IFWEA affiliate or partner organisations, from Zimbabwe, Sweden, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Bosnia, Finland, DRC, Serbia, Tunisia and Malawi.
The theme for this year’s immersive course is Education of Empowerment: Crafting an Internationalist approach to neo-nationalism. Through a series of participative workshops, as well as immersion in community-based organisations ranging from alternative media to food scheme initiatives, YGAPers examined and explored their responses, as young leaders and worker educators, to the challenges posed by the rise of neo-nationalistic politics.
The rise of rightwing and divisive politics
During the first week of the programme, YGAPers tried out different out forms and methods of learning to address deep divisions in national and international identities and in the current context, the rise in popularity of extremely rightwing and dangerously divisive, yet formidable, politics. Saliem Patel, IFWEA Programme Director says: “The exercises are fun but also extremely sensitive to the tragedies inflicted in the remaking of national and international identities, in order to understand and rework our concept and practice of national and international solidarity.”
During the second week. YGAPers spent several days at study visit hosts: Philisa Abafazi Bethu, SA Heal The Hood, Ikhaya Garden, Sakhisizwe Youth, VPUU- Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading, Environmental Monitoring Group, GroundUp and the Commercial, Stevedoring, Agriculture and Allied Worker Union, (CSAAWU). The programme culminated with a day of postcard presentations, where YGAPers choose a format – video, slides, print etc – to showcase their experiences during their two-week immersion. Many choose to focus on their study visits, highlighting lessons learnt and what can be used going forward, in their own organisations.