The Southern African Alumni Network (SAAN), with the support of WESSA and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), organised a continental summit focusing on an alumni exchange from volunteer and exchange programmes from 23rd to 25th October 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The summit served to provide a platform for the alumni voices to be heard and to facilitate an exchange across the entire continent. In addition, the summit aimed to engage strategically with exchange stakeholders and government in order to improve the quality of the exchange landscape in African countries. A
t the same time, the summit showcased the value, benefit and impact of exchange formats for the African youth and enabled a common basis on which challenges can be solved in the future. The conference gathered over 65 delegates, including 30 alumni from the SADC countries, 20 alumni from West and East Africa, and 15 decision-makers and guests from African-German exchange programmes to participate in the conference.
SAAN had already collected stories from alumni in advance and shared them during the conference in the spirit of the conference theme, ‘amplifying youth voices’. The collection will be available as a printed publication and video from December 2019. The experiences shared by the alumni not only help strengthen existing exchange programmes but are also a tool to measure the impact of exchange formats in concrete terms.
Live posting on social media platforms helped build momentum ahead of and during the summit. #AYVSummit2019 and #amplifyingyouthvoices were the summit’s official hashtags. The live streaming of the summit helped engage audiences in an innovative way. After the next steps were agreed on at the Continental Summit in South Africa, the alumni are expected to continue their high level of commitment in the future.