Young people are at the heart of Plan’s work – including how it governs itself. For Kamanda from Sierra Leone, taking part in Plan’s Members’ Assembly – the organisation’s highest decision-making body – has boosted his confidence to become a leader.
1 July 2014: My name is Kamanda and I am from Port Loko, Sierra Leone. I am part of the Global Youth Advisory Panel for Plan and recently participated in the June 2014 meeting with the Members' Assembly (MA), along with my USA colleague Sara.
I'm very impressed with the way Plan enables young people to take part in its internal decision making, especially since I am the first youth delegate from a country office to meet with the MA – the highest decision-making body of Plan.
Plan leads the way
To me, Plan is the first international non-governmental organisation to involve us – the young people – in this way. These decisions affect our lives, so Plan is really showing that they work with and for young people, and that our voices are valued.
As Plan’s Deputy Country Director for Sierra Leone, Farai Zisengwe, said: "To me, young people are the customers – tell us what we can deliver to you. Instead of the young people waiting for the bread in the shop, we are saying 'come join us in the bakery'."
The Members' Assembly
The MA is such an interesting platform, discussing and taking decisions that affect the whole federation. I have learnt a lot about how the federation works in terms of governance and management, in terms of Plan’s international headquarters, national organisations, regional and country offices. And I think it's really important having us as youth observers intervening there like adults do.
Before the meeting, I worked with the Global Youth Advisory Panel to develop ideas about the issues we would like to intervene on. We then discussed these with Tjipke (Deputy CEO) and Ellen (Chair of the MA), who helped us form the questions.
Sara and I made several interventions on agenda items, including the budget, gifts in kind policy, and the brand. I felt our interventions were well received and sparked discussion, and I sincerely hope that the MA felt our presence and participation was useful.
What I have learnt
To me, the MA is an avenue for basic training on leadership. I found it really inspiring, and it has given me the confidence to speak with and discuss issues with high profile people.
In my country, colleagues and other community people have come to respect me because they see the way I interact with high profile people. In fact, some say "Kamanda, you are born a leader".
I have gained so much experience and confidence that I think I can participate very well in forums in my country where important decisions are made (the House of Parliament, for example).
I really enjoy working with Plan, and I would always like to continue working with and for young people – even when I achieve my dream of becoming an accountant. As well as my general experience of Plan's governance and management, attending the MA has given me a basic knowledge of preparing and managing global accounts. Cheers to Plan!
I hope that other young people also get involved in Plan's work. If we all speak up, we can make a difference. Let's come together as a force and speak with one voice. With our voice, we can transform the world!
Read Plan USA Youth Advisory Board member Sara's post on the Plan USA blog