The Organisation

The mission of the AYC

Our mission is to contribute to solidifying peace and sustainable development through spaces of exchange among Burundian young people.

Our goals
– Search for and promotion of reconciliation and peace in a broad manner
– Sustainable development for Burundi and all people living there
– Consciousness-raising among youth to fight against discrimination and promote human rights, gender equality and democracy
– Education efforts to empower civil society and youth as a peace-builders
– Involvement of Burundian youth residing in Bujumbura, in the countryside and abroad in moral, economic and political reconstruction of the country;
– Re- establishment of the noble values of solidarity and mutual support focusing on the search of sustainable peace, development and democracy of the country;
– Creation of a context for expression and participation for the youth of Burundi and of the Diaspora to the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Why is it necessary to create a new organization?
Burundi experienced since independence a series of conflicts that raise high costs to its population. 65% of its population are young people. They have been used as an instrument of war by politicians. Some of those young died, others are actually handicapped. Many of them dropped their studies and went to fight against their brothers and sisters. A large number of youth of Burundi left their mother country toward Europe, particularly to Nordic countries. Those who continued education in Burundi are now often victims of unemployment; many lack hope for a better future.

But we, the young, don’t have to follow events and sit idle. We have to come together and work for peace and sustainable development through democratization and active participation. That is the solution for all Burundians. Each young person has to know that peace is his or her business, that he/she has to contribute to build this country. Through space of debates, participation, contribution of all young people, training, reinforcement of capacity and help to youth in need, we can change things in this country. That is the substance of being of the Amahoro Youth Club.

There are many civil society organizations in Burundi but, like in other post-war contexts and not only there, we see little integrated efforts and commitment to advance the concrete work for peace on the part of local organizations. Also in the light of our cooperation with TFF, Sweden, whose support and inspiration is very important to us, we believe AYC can contribute three important things to the Burundian civil society:

  1. the energies and willingness of young people to work on the stability of our country. While we need and ask for support from external donors, we believe in and search for opportunities to fundraise in the country as well and have a vision to become financially sustainable in the future;
  2. the real motivation to work together with other organizations and plant the seeds of a social movement in Burundi rather than compete for funds, social image etc;
  3. the commitment to work in a positive peace perspective, rather than subscribe to the dominant discourse focusing on violence and wrongs. We emphasize achievements, celebrating successes of our peace process and our good stories as well as advance concrete ideas for action in order to contribute to the a momentum for advancing on the road of stability and peace.

Who benefits primarily from our organization’s activities?
Our main beneficiaries are young people who want to participate and contribute to peace and development in Burundi, a country in which the voice of young people does not yet have its place in the middle of politicians and other actors that take care of their interests.
All Burundians, potentially, will benefit from the AYC activities because the young of this country will get education through trainings , seminars, public meetings and dialogues that we expect to start organizing in a continuous and sustainable way in the coming years. We will thus contribute to educating future Burundian leaders that are rooted in needs of all people and the desire to promote peace in our country.

Do we work with other youth organizations?
A number of our founding members and collaborators are active in other civil society organizations thus bringing in valuable experiences to our Club. We have the support and active participation of five representatives from the organizations initially included in the TFF initiated Amahoro Coalition We are collaborating actively with Génies en Herbes, a youth organization that organizes contests and educational activities for young people in secondary schools and other youth organizations.. Since June 2007, Génies en Herbe hosts meetings of the AYC around the topics of mission, plans, organizational structure and communication. Some of us are students from the private Lumiére University.

The AYC is in contact with the Association for the Promotion of the Burundian Girls “Association pour la Promotion de la Fille Burundaise”, a leading organization of young women in Burundi that works on gender and promotion of women’s equality. They invited AYC founding members to participate in 1325 UN resolution seminars that they organized on 20-21th of March 2008.

The AYC plans to create a network of youth organizations through this blog.

Activities to develop the Club’s statutes and competences

The beginning. The idea of creating the Amahoro Youth Club was born in May 2007 by two students of Light University of Bujumbura, an organization member in the TFF Amahoro Coalition, who share the vision of Burundi achieving peace and sustainable development through democratizing activities by young Burundians. The need became evident in the Coalition meetings where young people did not have enough social space and power to contribute meaningfully their perspectives and energies and be listened to.

Founding and statutes. The idea developed and caught the attention of other young people from different Universities and organizations, part of the old Coalition and beyond. In November 2007, the founding members reached the number of 13 and they set up statutes that are currently in the process of legalization. They themselves support the fees that are asked during the process as well as other small organizational expenses.

Training. In November, the AYC with TFF’s Ina Curic organized a 3 days training seminars on the theme of mobilization for social change. As a follow-up a two-days training seminar on formulating and deciding the AYC mission, management, communication strategies and organizational tools has been conducted by Jan Oberg and Ina Curic.

Co-operation and openness. We are a youth organization but the AYC is open to any contribution and participation of all people without any distinction of gender; in particular we encourage young women to join.

We aim to work with any organization that has the same or complementary goals and view the relationship of peace, sustainable development and democratization the way we do.

Staff unpaid –volunteers and supporters. The AYC has a staff that responds to the regulations in the statutes. A Legal representative, Armand GIRAMAHORO, student at Light University of Bujumbura, a Vice Legal Representative, Jean Bosco BIGIRIMANA, student at the same university. There is a Treasurer, a secretary, Tharcisse NDAYIZEYE, student at public University of Burundi. Landry NINTERETSE, educated in media and journalism, is in charge of communication.

All the founding members are volunteers. There is no paid staff. TFF Associate Adolphe SURURU, a sociologist specialized in non-violent communication is also a resource that we count on in many of our activities.

Decision-making. As stated in AYC’s statutes, the General Assembly is the ultimate organ of the Club and it includes all members, each having one equal vote. We adhere to the model of consensus in terms of making decisions. Since we are not a very big organization yet, we have the Board that makes sure that the decisions it takes are expressing and fulfilling all the members’ expectations.

TFF’s role. Ina Curic and Jan Oberg from TFF are our advisors. TFF has done so much in our country and through Jan Oberg’s course in peace studies and the meetings and seminars with the former Amahoro Coalition NGOs, we were inspired to start our Club last year when we felt that the NGO Coalition did not meet our wishes for change. We are very aware that we need more management skills, organizational competence, intellectual training and funds – and that is what our Action Plan below is all about.

Who benefits in our organization? We have shaped the Statutes of AYC as democratically as possible and plan discouraging any divide between core staff- new staff, staff-assisted persons or participants to our programs, board members-simple members or old and experience people and new people that want to join.
We want all young people, men and women, that benefit from our activities to take an active stance regarding their personal lives and also the future directions, programs, ideas for AYC to engage in working towards.

We believe that an important strength resides in numbers as well as quality, so that in order to achieve the social change we want to bring about, it is essential to encourage as many young people as possible to enter, work for, and actively contribute to the vision of society AYC promotes. At the same time we will ensure that new members fully support our mission and aims.

There is no doubt that conflict will happen anyhow. That is why we are eager to learn more about conflict-analysis, -resolution, reconciliation and negotiation – skills we can use internally but also in our interactions with the surrounding society.

The projects and the activities

Activities we require support for
We want the Folke Bernadotte Academy grant to make a contribution that can cover a share of the realization of our Action Plan from June and 6-12 months ahead which amounts to a total of FrBu 39,358.000 or roughly US $ 33.930.

Unfortunately, this grant application was turned down in June 2008, but we are just going on finding other sources of information.

Description of the projects and social context
The AYC has an action plan that contains activities planned in the period June 2008 to summer 2009.

Those activities include:
• Setting up of an office for the Club,
• Participating in and organizing a series of trainings and seminars on various themes: non- violent communication, education in peaceful resolution of conflicts, training on 1325 UN resolution, training on democracy, seminar on the role of young people in solidifying peace, seminar on transitional justice: truth and reconciliation commission in Burundi, seminar on the history of Burundian conflicts, seminar on a possible Burundian Youth Parliament,
• Fund-raising including obtaining donations locally plus developing all kinds of income-generation activities for each of our projects/events and trainings – thus an integrated approach aiming t self-reliance,
• Eventually the establishment of a multipurpose AYC Centre with facilities such as a cyber café, meeting rooms, NGO coordination, exhibitions etc. This is also where there could be computer skills training, not the least for teachers and youth, with an impact on the school sector.

The AYC aims to develop activities that are in the line of its mission: to contribute to the solidifying of peace and sustainable development. All these activities aim to involve young people to participate in the construction of Burundi, its peace process and its development. Young people should then break out of their silence and say “no” to the bad management we also find in this country, such as corruption, violence that are used to solve conflict and the lack of a good politic of employment and education. There are many constructive and positive alternatives to say yes to and to work for their creation.

We who belong to the young generation have been taught that the only reason of war in Burundi was ethnic conflict. But we do not believe that ethnicity explains everything, far from it. All people who died were victims of this distorted view, misused as a major instrument of politicians.

The goal of these trainings and seminars – and the Centre – is to remind young people and all the community that they have the right to and have the power of changing things and make the best out of this country’s potentials. But our tools shall be exclusively the broad reservoir of non-violent means, active civil society participation and democracy. Through debates and dialogues, young people can then discover their potential and by this put their energies together to build this country.

We have a right to a future without violence – war and sexual abuse not the least – discrimination, human rights violations and mismanagement of public funds.

Through visits throughout the country, the AYC aim to give opportunity to young people who are cut off from technologies and updated knowledge to see that they haven’t been born and raised for living in poverty and ignorance but that they are like other young people who were born in towns and benefit then of a good environment of education and democratization.

The AYC will attract more and more young people to adhere to the mission and goals of the Club. With this, a strong movement of young people through and around Burundi can see the day and promotes a good leadership in the future. It can help to create a coherent society in the future because this generation should have prepared the ground.

Through these activities, more people than at present will then re-find hope, see that Burundi is still alive through young people’s commitment. The government and any other actor in this country will see how important it is to have youth organization that deals with the real matters such as lack of peace and lack of sustainable development. Even if we do not have education like in Europe, young people shall not be considered as ignorant or treated like babies.

Aim of the projects and activities
Each activity has its own aim but common for them all is that young women and men will at the end of each activity have obtained a better capacity to exploring their potentials and then be capable to contribute and participate to building the country. Young people shall find a space in which they are in harmony with themselves and in which they can discuss without fear of anyone. They will then develop their expression and will join their energies to activate their potentials to solidify peace and sustainable development.

The specific objectives

• To create new spaces of exchange among young people and enable them to participate in peace building and sustainable development in a qualified manner.
• To consolidate a team of young people determined to pool their energies in order to build Burundi.
• To give to young people knowledge that can help them to live a harmonious life in the society.
• From Day One make sure that the AYC will not be one more project in the capital of Bujumbura and those who already live a relatively privileged life there but that we will reach out to all young people all over the country. In this alone, the AYC represent a new type of initiative. That’s why most of the trainings are placed outside Bujumbura.

Target groups of the project
The AYC Action Plan is open to young people from Universities, from high schools of Bujumbura. It is open also to young people in the countryside, especially those from Gitega, Ngozi, Ruyigi, and Muramwiya who do not normally get opportunities to participate in debates and public dialogues in order to develop their potential and who do not have the opportunity to be in touch with technologies. Educated young people are the main target due to their potential that they have yet.

How will a grant help us?

A start-up grant will help us to set up the AYC activities and attract the attention of all the Burundians and parts of the regional and international community. It will provide concrete activities, mobilization of energy, more members, larger future activities and thereby help us finance future activities through income-generating aspects of these activities. When we show good results, many more wealthy Burundians will probably assist us with donations – since most people see the merits of “investing in the younger generation”.
Although we have already financed some of our activities out of our own pockets and will continue to do so, we need an economic base for some months on which to build the dream we have, including the AYC Centre for peace education in a wider sense.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

between TFF and AYC

“The 10-Point Agreement”

1 A. The parties work together for the consolidation of peace and sustainable development throughout Burundi, in accordance with the mission statement of the AYC.

1 B. While TFF and AYC are independent of each other, it is their common goal to make AYC an effective and professional NGO.

2. A. The basic relationship between TFF and AYC is one of partnership and mentorship. TFF shall place its 20 years+ knowledge, experience, homepage etc. at the disposal of AYC and help spread the story about Burundi’s remarkable peace process, including propagate the work of AYC abroad.

AYC brings into the partnership commitment to work for peace, time and knowledge about Burundi.

2 B. TFF’s concrete tasks are to provide resources, training, advice and practical assistance as well as help raising funds for the organizational development and activities of the AYC in the future.

2 C. TFF is represented by Ina Curic as project co-ordinator in Burundi and Jan Oberg, TFF director. TFF Associates or trainers brought in for different periods and programmes have a consultative status without decision making power within this agreement.

D. AYC is represented by XX, (title) and YY (title). Any AYC member can communicate directly with Curic and Oberg and vice-versa.

E. AYC has the right to make autonomous decisions on its own except in cases described in point 5, but the two partners expect that a consultative working style applies both ways in the ethos described in points 8 and 9.

3. TFF’s intention is to withdraw from the co-operation with AYC as soon as the parties agree that AYC can and wants to stand on its own and sustain a variety of activities in support of peace in Burundi.

4. TFF shall help AYC find funds to conduct its activities and AYC shall seek funds on its own as well as have income-generation for itself as a very central goal so that it will, in the longer run, not be dependent on TFF’s fund-raising.

5. A. To spend funds that have been raised partially or in full by TFF and for which TFF is responsible for reporting to grant-makers/donors, AYC must present a budget first, obtain agreement with TFF’s representative and report on how the money was spent, including enclose receipts for every expenditure within 1 month of the transaction and providing monthly reports as well as a final financial report at the end of the period included in the accord.
B. AYC can spend funds raised by itself
as it decides without prior agreement with TFF and according to its statutes. TFF can be consulted in its role of mentor while AYC has the freedom to take independent decisions about money use overall. As common transparent practice in the civil society sector, TFF and other donors in the future will require transparent reporting of all funds used by AYC.

6. A. TFF shall, within its means, do its utmost to deliver training, advice and other inputs while also taking into account its other activities in Burundi and elsewhere. To specify, for instance: a) intellectual/knowledge education/training for instance on conflict-resolution, negotiation, non-violence, etc.; b) organizational development for instance concerning resource assessment, meeting practise, communication and minute-taking skills, organizational matters and whatever it takes to run an NGO professionally; c) economic management and d) project, organizational and other reporting and public dissemination.
B. These inputs are provided without costs to AYC and upon mutual agreement that they are needed and welcomed by AYC. AYC can, when it has raised its own funds, contribute toward practical costs such as meals and room.

7. AYC and its members can at any point take up issues, make proposals and express its concerns. For instance, it/they can suggest ideas for co-operation, explain what training and help it feels it needs, take up any matter with which it may be dissatisfied, or otherwise voice its concerns to TFF’s coordinator and/or director who promises to deal with it in a professional manner within one week at maximum.

8. A. The TFF-AYC co-operation shall be characterized by an ethos of mutuality, reliability, punctuality, commitment to mutual agreements, appointments and promises, mutual awareness of and the respectful expression of cultural values and a wish to understand and possibly overcome differences, as well as professionalism.
B. While friendship between the parties is desirable, the relationship is one of partnership and, if conflicting, friendship must be secondary to professional standards as well as legal and other best practises.
C. It is of special importance that the parties and their individuals communicate adequately and frequently
, are attentive to emails and other means of communication, and establish procedures for rapid replies – in order to maximize productivity and minimize misunderstandings.

9. A. In all they do, the parties shall seek to “be the change we want to see”, i.e. promote peace, conflict resolution with peaceful means and dialogue as well as friendship among us. TFF is committed to only support and accept activities that are compatible with democratic and transparent decision-making, equality in general and gender equality in particular, a fair hearing, and possible other norms that are a) in accordance with TFF’s own values and/or are b) required by grant-makers.
B. All internal AYC documents produced, such as e.g. minutes and reports, shall be considered public documents with wording and content that is appropriate for third parties – such as possible donors, authorities, Boards, etc – to read.

10. This agreement takes effect on proposed date May 15th and shall be renewed by November 30th 2008. It can be annulled if and when the parties so agree.

Signed at Bujumbura / 2008

For TFF: Ina Curic, TFF coordinator and Jan Oberg, TFF director

For AYC: Armand Giramahoro, legal representative

La Culture de l’Amahoro Youth Club

L’Amahoro Youth Club est une organisation engagée dans la recherche de la paix et du développement durable au Burundi à travers la création des espaces d’échange, de contribution et de participation de toute personne désireuse de changer positivement la situation du pays.

L’AYC étant ouvert à toute personne sans distinction de genre, de religion, d’ethnie ou d’origine sociale, il convient de définir quelques principes et valeurs morales qui devront caractériser chaque membre de l’AYC pour l’avancement du club.

1. L’engagement : Devenir membre de l’AYC ne doit être motivé que par l’adhésion à sa mission et l’engagement à œuvrer sincèrement pour concrétiser cette mission. Pour cette raison, l’AYC a besoin de jeunes hommes et femmes dont la conscience est aussi fidèle à sa mission que la boussole l’est au pôle. Le courage, la détermination et la persévérance sont les qualités recherchées chez les membres de l’AYC.

2. L’égalité : L’AYC a décidé de travailler suivant un mode circulaire pour l’administration. Quel que soit le niveau de responsabilité occupé, il importe de garder à l’esprit que tous les membres ont les mê me droits et devoirs et qu’aucun membre n’est supérieur à un autre. En vue de maintenir cette égalité, il est recommandé à chaque membre d’être efficace et responsable dans son travail.

3. Le respect : Elément indispensable dans les relations interpersonnelles, le respect crée de bons rapports d’amitié et de travail à l’intérieur d’un groupe. Dans la diversité de sa composition, il est recommandé de développer le respect envers qui que ce soit. Personne n’est inférieur parce qu’il est différent. Respectez son droit à la différence. Personne n’aime qu’on lui manque de respect ; cela lui donne le sentiment qu’il ne vaut rien. Chacun doit se sentir au contraire aimé, estimé et respecté. On ne gagne le respect des autres que lorsqu’on se montre soi-même respectueux à leur égard.

4. La rigueur : Etre membre de l’AYC n’est pas un acquis ; il faut pouvoir se montrer à la hauteur. Quelque soit la fonction occupée, il faut donner le meilleur de soi dans ses responsabilités. La ténacité est le reflet de l’état d’esprit et de l’engagement pour le club. Elle influe non seulement sur la qualité des prestations aujourd’hui mais aussi sur la réussite dans la vie future.

5. La communication : elle consiste en un dialogue, échange et partage d’informations qui aboutit à une compréhension mutuelle sur un sujet ou à la prise d’une décision sur base d’un consensus. Chaque membre de l’AYC est ainsi appelé à faire connaître ses idées, son opinion et ses doutes à ses pairs. Ceci permet de prendre les décisions qui s’imposent avec consensus et de régler les éventuels conflits pouvant naître au sein du club. C’est pourquoi la communication non violente qui permet d’exprimer sincèrement ce qu’on ressent sans blesser autrui sera privilégié en vue d’établir un dialogue permanent et bénéfique pour tous.

6. La transparence : c’est un devoir important dans la vie du club. Chaque responsable de commission ou de délégation doit pouvoir rendre compte à ses pairs des activités réalisées. La transparence est de rigueur dans l’utilisation et la gestion des fonds car aucun sou ne peut être dépensé pour des buts autres que ceux du club.

7. L’ouverture : en aucun cas, un membre de l’AYC ne peut se renfermer sur soi ou refuser d’entretenir des relations amicales avec les autres. En effet, les contacts mutuels polissent et affinent les esprits. La vie au sein du club crée des relations et des amitiés qui unissent les cœurs dans une atmosphère de camaraderie et de compréhension.

8. La ponctualité : la personne qui utilise bien ses secondes finira par bien utiliser ses minutes, ses heures, ses journées, ses semaines, ses mois et ses années et même sa vie.

La personne qui gaspille ses secondes pourrait finir par gaspiller ses minutes, ses heures, ses journées, ses semaines, ses mois et ses années et même sa vie. Les retards et l’absentéisme sont intolérables dans l’AYC.

« Ensemble l’on peut, seul l’on se perd. »

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