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Home Nos activités Formations Building bridges between young people and traditional leaders

Building bridges between young people and traditional leaders

Jeunes de FoumbanFrom 14 to 18 December 2011 World Dynamics of Young People (WDYP) was on a mission in Bangangte, Bati and Foumban, in the West of Cameroon, in relation with the “intergenerational dialogue” project. This project focuses on improving the relations between young people and traditional leaders, like the village-chiefs and notables. One month before, during an earlier field visit to carry out a baseline study, we found out that one of the needs of both the younger and older generation were to increase communication skills in order to make exchanges more effective.

Based on this information the beneficiaries and WDYP decided to organize a training on communication, both for the youth and the traditional leaders, although the approach is different. In each locality were made a training with young people and a training with traditional leaders. In Bati and Bangangte, the traditional leaders were made of notables. Contrarily to Bangangte and Bati, Foumban, which comprises more than 32 villages headed by chiefs, has many youth’s organisations that interact with their chiefs in many village activities, but with some limits in the communication. The training with traditional leader in Foumban brought together chiefs and notables representing their traditional chiefs who could not personally take part.

Chef et notables de FoumbanIn the training with young people we focused on the basics of communication and different tools to understand and practise “good” communication. Very soon it became clear that communicating is much more than talking but concerns also non-verbal communication: there are always many “hidden” messages trough physical expression. Someone can for example say something in words, which contains an aspect of information but the underlying meaning might be different. That is why it is very important to actively listen, ask questions and use all your senses. We practised in using the different techniques and the participants gave each other a feedback, analysed the interpretation of several statements and discussed examples of “bad” communication and how to improve the way of transferring a message. All exercises were concentrated on the relation with traditional leaders.

Jeunes de BatiAt the end of the training the participants expressed their satisfaction and gave some perspectives for the future. Many of them wished to take part in this kind of trainings again. Young people in many areas express the wish that the next training should not be done separately but together with the youths and the traditional leaders, in order to open up more dialogue directly, because Effective communication is more than just talking!

We were glad to hear thoughts in this direction, because we are convinced that in order to create a better relation it is necessary for them to exchange face to face. During the discussion with a group of notables, it became clear they are also open to organize meetings with the youth.

There is still a long way to go, but we have the feeling we made a step in the right direction!