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March 2019



Dear readers,

Encounters between young people from Germany and those from African countries help bring about new perspectives and provide opportunities for the participants to develop new skills. Enabling such encounters is one of the main objectives of the AGYI through the different Engagement Global youth exchange formats.
For example, via virtual classrooms sessions of “CHAT der WELTEN“, schoolchildren from Germany and different African countries are trained in media skills and given the opportunity to exchange on common content and thereby develop new perspectives. In another collaborative exchange format, young people from Germany, India and Tanzania trained together to develop their capacity to lobby for and push climate protection forward as part of their common project “Empowerment for Climate Leadership”. On a political level, the active collaboration between the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) within the AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub serves to strengthen their cross-border cooperation in order to bring about sustainable social, political and economic changes.

This is why the AGYI is paying particular attention to the issue of developing young people’s skills through volunteer work and exchanges in 2019. Whether through exchange programmes or on the political stages of the African Union and the European Union: young people from Benin, Germany, South Africa and Tanzania are aided in acquiring new skills and are empowered to actively use them to shape the future. Their joint efforts in this regard have resulted for instance, in the newly created network of former volunteers of the development service weltwärts in South Africa and also in the active participation of youth in Benin in marking the international volunteer day held in Cotonou last year.
The overall consensus amongst all AGYI partners and its governing body is that youth exchange and volunteer work are important pillars for the creation and transfer of knowledge beyond national borders. Young people develop their talents through the exchanges promoted by the AGYI and discover new strengths which in turn broaden their career and personal horizons. In order to enable this equally in all AGYI pilot countries, the AGYI is currently looking for organisations in German which would be happy to enter into youth exchange programmes with partner organisations from Benin or who would like to give young people from Benin the opportunity to carry out volunteer work through placements in Germany.

In this edition of the newsletter, we are delighted to report on how the youth exchange between young people from Benin, Germany, South Africa and Tanzania has enabled them to use their skills  to shape their local communities while networking with each other abroad.

Your AGYI Team/
Engagement Global


Topics in this issue:


#Partner with us!


CHAT Between the Worlds

Students in Germany chat per tablet with other students in a partner country during a live session. Photo: CHAT der WELTEN
Students in Germany chat per tablet with other students in a partner country during a live session. Photo: Engagement Global
CHAT between the WORLDS – Do you want to be a part of it?

CHAT between the WORLDS combines Global Learning with digital media learning tools. The program is designed to address the perspectives of several target groups living in Africa, Asia, and Latin America: School classes and individuals from partner countries can exchange experiences with school classes and individuals in Germany through online communication. That way, the youth exchange format CHAT between the WORLDS overcomes geographical distances and offers alternative opportunities for authentic and personal encounters.

What does a virtual exchange look like?

Depending on time differences and local internet connections, the virtual exchange can take place via live stream or via video messages. There are two forms of CHATs: peer to peer CHATs and expert CHATs. During the peer to peer CHAT, children, schoolchildren and young people from partner countries and Germany exchange their views, while during expert CHATs, professionals from partner countries and Germany share their expertise online with their respective  school classes. In both instances global issues such as climate change, gender equality, product value chains for instance of mobile phones or of agricultural products are discussed.

How long does a CHAT last?

The duration of a CHAT between WORLDS project can be matched to the respective needs of the school classes or to the capacity of the expert. A project can take place on a single project day, on several days in a project week, or as a series over an entire school year.

Do you want to be a part of it?

If you are interested in participating in a CHAT between the WORLDS-project as an individual or with your class, we are more than happy to hear from you. Please contact us at following e-mail address and we will establish the contact to our regional offices in Germany.
For further information, feel free to check out our short video clip here:

Application deadline for projects in weltwärts meetings in the context of UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development

The funding line weltwärts – extra-curricular meeting projects in the context of Agenda 2030, enables groups of young people from Germany and from countries in the so called Global South, to carry out joint projects as part of a mutual exchange. The focus during the pilot phase until the end of 2020 is on the promotion of projects with project partners in African countries. The skills acquired during these exchanges enable young people to actively and sustainably to shape the global community. A project application can only be jointly submitted by an organisation based in Germany and an organisation from the respective partner country. Engagement Global covers up to 75 per cent of the total costs for the meeting project in the context of Agenda 2030. Project partnerships who wish to carry out a meeting project from 1st July 2019 can currently submit their application for funds until the 31st March 2019.

Potential and first time applicants are requested to contact the weltwärts team prior to placing their applications via the contact details provided on the website:



AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub

Foundation of the “AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub”. Photo: AU-EU Youth Hub (2018)
Foundation of the “AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub”. Photo: AU-EU Youth Hub
Limited accesses to education, inhumane working conditions as well as environmental degradation are some of the challenges jointly faced by young people in both Africa and Europe. This was became clear at the 5th African Union – European Union Summit (AU-EU Summit) which was held in November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The “AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub” was founded in 2018 as a joint platform to overcome these common challenges and to strengthen the voices of young people in Africa and Europe. This alliance pursues the implementation of the AU-EU youth agenda and develops innovative approaches and ideas in order to find joint solutions. During the first phase of the hub, young people from Africa and Europe identified six significant areas, which affect AU-EU cooperation. For the orientation process, they referenced both the Abidjan youth declaration and the AU-EU youth agenda.

During the second phase, which took place between 29th October and 7th November 2018, 42 young experts were selected from more than 1,700 applicants from Africa, Europe and the African diaspora from 28 different countries. Over the course of ten days, the young people implemented their ideas in sustainable pilot projects covering those six areas: education, economy, environment, government, peace and security as well as culture, sport and art.

The pilot projects were implemented by civic organisations which were selected in the scope of an EU call for proposals between 2019 and 2020. These youth experts will actively be involved and consulted in the ongoing implementation process. The AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub does not only aim to monitor the implementation of the initial pilot projects but also intends to become a long-term reservoir of expert knowledge working  with its core interest groups in order to bring about effective and sustainable social, political and economic change to their local communities and on a global scale.

Youth exchange project around the climate issue entitled: “Empowerment for Climate Leadership”

Participants at the climat demonstration in November 2017 in Bonn during the group phase, Deutschland. Photo: Germanwatch (2017)
Participants at the climate demonstration in November 2017 in Bonn during the group encounter phase in Germany. Photo: Germanwatch
The two-year weltwärts encounter project Empowerment for Climate Leadership (ECL) came to an end last month. The project was jointly developed and implemented by the partner organisations Climate Action Network (CAN) in Tanzania and Germanwatch in Germany. Around 20 young adults, all of whom were already active in NGOs, from India, Germany and Tanzania, worked together in south-north teams for climate protection and sustainable development. The cooperation was carried out digitally via an online course and also in direct encounters during the two-week exchange phase in Germany (Bonn, at the COP23) and in Tanzania (Dar es Salaam).

The project was a feature of the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030, excercising global responsibility with different roles and opportunities. It created new approaches to aid in developing the exciting and indispensable exchange between people with different perspectives and (sustainability) narratives from the so called Global North and Global South. The activities ranged from workshops and reports about visits to local solar initiatives to “Citizen Based Science” experiences with MiniSASS investigations into water quality. The lens of intercultural analysis on questions of sustainability was applied by the participants during their opportunities for joint action. Concrete advice for lobbying and personal development supplemented the content exchange. Overall, the project was successful: this was  evident in the closing statements of the participants who now, as a direct result of exchanging within the project, seek to be bolder in applying political approaches to their various civic engagements and to critically rethink and change their daily attitudes.

Moreover, the two organisations CAN Tanzania and Germanwatch effectively supported the pilot projects which were commissioned, organised and implemented in the cooperation, which gives rise to the hope of potential further collaboration between the NGOs.

International Volunteer Day in Benin

Volunteers in Cotonou on International Volunteer Day. Photo: AGYI network Benin (2018)
Volunteers in Cotonou on International Volunteer Day. Photo: AGYI network Benin
Every year on the 5th of December, the International Volunteer Day is marked to honour volunteer commitment worldwide. In Benin, the day was seen as an opportunity to thank the men and women in Cotonou who voluntarily contribute their expert knowledge in service to their communities. In 2018, the multi-day series of events marking the International Volunteer Day took place in Benin under the slogan “Volunteers help to contribute towards more resilient communities.” The AGYI actively participated in the events for this day in Benin and supported the organisers on location.

On the 3rd of December 2018, a campaign to raise awareness and a clean-up action took place at the Zongo primary school. Rubbish bins were donated and members of the organisations of the AGYI network in Benin were also included in the awareness-raising activities about hygiene which were held for the public. Presentations were given on the 10th of December 2018 in Cotonou about volunteer organisations which were involved in the activities on location. There was also a prize giving event for winners of the "Best Volunteers Awards / Tell your Story". Interested parties had the opportunity to find out more about volunteer organisations and activities at the allocated information points. The AGYI and its network in Benin presented their work and contributed towards raising awareness for the AGYI and its exchange programmes with Germany among the members of various Beninese volunteer initiatives.

AGYI Engagement Global sounding group meeting

Participants of the AGYI sounding group meeting in Bonn, Germany. Photo: AGYI (2018)
Participants of the AGYI sounding group meeting in Bonn, Germany. Photo: Engagement Global

What impact does the African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI) have in German civil society and what opportunities for improvement are available? A sounding group was created at Engagement Global in order to collect these and other responses. A dozen civil society representatives gathered in Bonn on the 7th of November 2018 in order to contribute their perspectives and to share and advise on them. The members of the sounding group came from different non-government organisations based in Germany which facilitate youth exchange programmes with African countries and/or are active in international development politics. Alumni and people from the African diaspora in Germany are also represented in the sounding group. It was agreed amongst all participants that the implementation of the goals of the AGYI in Germany and to promote these with recommendations and expertise would be best achieved through their open dialogue, mutual trust and collaboration. The sounding board meets twice annually, the next meeting is scheduled for the 19th of March 2019..

The AGYI steering committee sets the agenda for 2019

The steering committee of the German-African youth initiative, Benin. Photo: AGYI (2018)
The steering committee of the German-African youth initiative, Benin. Photo: Engagement Global
Learning from one another – this applies at all levels in the African- German Youth Initiative. That includes its steering committee, which meets twice a year in order to evaluate the progress of the cooperation, to formulate and coordinate the next steps. From the 12th to the 16th of November 2018, the members of the AGYI steering committee discussed among other things, how youth exchange between the AGYI African partner countries and Germany could be further developed. They also deliberated on how inclusion and engagement of alumni from the various exchange formats and from the volunteer placements can be sustainably improved in the preparation and follow-up of exchanges. Another agenda item was deliberations on how joint quality standards for youth exchanges can be formulated, taking the different context prerequisites of the partner countries into consideration. There was a particular focus on the future communication strategy of the AGYI, which should specifically raise greater awareness on the issue of volunteer work and youth exchanges within African countries. In addition to the decision to create a stronger network via online media, the importance of a clear and joint communication message endorsed by all the AGYI partners was reiterated: youth exchanges and volunteer work are important pillars contributing towards global sustainable development.



Developing youth skills with volunteer work and exchanges

In 2019, the AGYI aims  to increase its focus on issues of skills development through volunteering and exchanges. Current youth policy debates show a heightened interest in the topic. African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) foreign ministers announced at a meeting in the end of January in Brussels that they would promote a “culture of mobility” for young people in Europe and Africa to encourage the further development skills. In November last year, the AU appointed its first Youth Advisory Council and a Youth Envoy. The new EU-Youth Strategy 2019-2027 summed up by the key words “engage, connect, empower” places emphasis on the relevance of international networks in strengthening the youth. WESSA, the AGYI partner organization in South Africa, has planned to organise several workshops around this theme in 2019 with the aim to provide an analysis based on the expertise from AGYI partners in Germany and in African countries. The approach in South Africa will be to engage the Connective Cities partnerships as a conduit to develop the green economy through “Skills in Exchange”. This approach aims to create an environment amenable to youth development enabling young people to acquire hard-skills relevant for their future professional life through thematically focused international exchanges. The first workshop will take place in early summer in South Africa.

New board selected for the Southern African weltwärts Network!

 The new board of the Southern African weltwärts Network. Photo: SAwN (2018)
The new board of the Southern African weltwärts Network. Photo: SAwN
The Southern African weltwärts Network (SAwN) held its initial conference from 7th to 9th December 2018 in Johannesburg. The aim of the event was to take stock of the activities of the network as well as to define the future role of the network role within the southern Africa and international volunteer landscape. A new board was selected with the objective to drive forward the defined goals. Participants included partners and civil society organisations in southern Africa which are active in the area of volunteerism and in particular those that are active within the weltwärts programme. Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa were represented at the meeting. A total of 83 representatives from the local government and from civil society as well as potential new host organisations from the 200 organisations in the region took part in the conference.

The new AGYI Team in Bonn

Team KDAJ from left to right: Freddy Ndongbou, Karoline Caesar, Wanjiru Njehiah, Clara Hörmann, Ulrike Mann, Andrea Bewerunge, Luisa Kitzinger, Barbara Scharfbillig. Photo: AGYI (2019)
The new Team  of the Coordination Office of the African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI) in Bonn. Photo: Engagement Global
In January 2019, the relocation of the AGYI coordination unit (AGYI) from Berlin to Bonn was finally completed and the predominantly new team was once again fully staffed and now consists of eight staff members. As a result of the change, a series of long-serving employees of the AGYI in Germany departed and we take this opportunity offer them our special thanks once again for their hitherto tremendous contribution to the AGYI. The new team members are delighted to be able to advance their commitment and to continue drawing on the experience of the colleague Wanjiru Njehiah remaining in Berlin. The team’s main focus is on the continued excellent implementation of the AGYI activities marked out until the end of the pilot phase in 2020.

The new team is also committed to taking on the new and exciting challenges that this new AGYI pilot year has in store for the AGYI in close collaboration with all the AGYI partners. The AGYI coordination team sees itself as the central coordinating unit for all the actors within the AGYI, as a mediator and source of inspiration for the continued qualitative and quantitative development of the AGYI. The team also plays the crucial role of consultant and advisor to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with regard to the topics of youth exchange and volunteer services between African counties and Germany on the basis of the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN Agenda 2030.

The African-German Youth Initiative

The African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI) promotes the exchange between young people from Germany and African countries, both quantitatively and qualitatively. In a dialogue-oriented, participative and cooperative manner, the Initiative builds on what already exists. It aims to strengthen civil society in order to establish a structure for equal partnerships between Germany and African countries. AGYI has been set out under instruction from the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ - Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) and the African Union Commission. Engagement Global coordinates the initiative.


Engagement Global gGmbH
AGYI - African-German Youth Initiative

Telephone: +49 30 25482 110 | Fax: +49 30 254 82 359



Service für Entwicklungsinitiativen

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The headquarters of the organisation are located in: Bonn
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Managing Director: Dr. Jens Kreuter
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Responsible for the contents: Ulrike Mann
Editors: Barbara Scharfbillig, Karina Heinz, Freddy Ndongbou Nkenglifak, Peris Wanjiru Njehiah

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