Youth Empowered Network

“I wish I had learned this decades ago.”
“I wish I knew these things when I was starting my career and adult life.”

These are sentiments we often hear following DNA teaching around the world. In Uganda–the “youngest” nation in the world with almost 80 percent of its population under age 30–the Transforming Nations Alliance has designed the Youth Empowered Network (YEN) program to equip college-aged youth with the paradigm and skills to build their lives and to build communities that flourish.

Purpose: To equip college-aged youth with the paradigm and skills to build their lives and to build communities that flourish.

Walugembe-Sebastian“I was inspired to be a visionary and to develop a personal mission that made me not only a dreamer but also an achiever and a blessing.

“I have been able to discover my various competencies and abilities which I am actively using.”

-Sebastiane, a program graduate

Approach:

  • Helping university students discover God’s vision for their lives and nation, put on a biblical worldview, and live it out in every area of their lives and vocations.
  • Providing a tool that exposes false cultural principles and creates a framework for seeing all of life through the lens of biblical truth – the transforming story of the Bible.
  • Giving them theology, strategy and practical experience in bringing God’s good intentions to themselves and others for every area of life. (Colossians 1:20)
  • Training young adults to identify and use the local (internal and external) resources God has given them for bringing transformation to their lives and communities.
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“Discovering that one could be ‘in ministry’ doing business and participating in the leadership of nations was a very revolutionary idea,” says Stephen, a program graduate who dreams of becoming a professor. “That program became a turning point in my life. Wholistic human development became my dream.” (read more of Stephen’s story here)

Program Overview

The university years are known for being some of the most formative years of our lives, which is one reason we at the DNA are so excited to get behind this program that is helping shape the future of Uganda by focusing on university students.

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For more than seven years, residents of Busigiri, Uganda had nowhere to fetch clean water until some college students–graduates of the TBD program–helped them see and use their own resources for their own long-term benefit. Here, the students and Busigiri community members are working together to turn a dirty pond into a reliable source of clean water. (read more)

The YEN program is an intensive conference/retreat-type training experience for university students. It is followed with access to mentors and peer-to-peer learning opportunities for identifying students’ potential and creating income.

The training is the DNA’s core training on biblical worldview and community transformation, condensed and contextualized just for this audience.  Young leaders learn to:

  • Recognize that they as the Church are agents of transformation with the responsibility of engaging their communities for development as God intends.
  • See that development takes place through change in mindsets, as they challenge negative cultural beliefs, the status quo, and the dependency syndrome
  • Establish and live out a personal biblical work ethic
  • Set and achieve personal goals
  • Develop a personal mission

This solid foundation on biblical truth, combined with learning basic life skills and how to reach out to their communities with Christ’s love and local resources, readies the youth for lives of service and love. They have access to mentors and peer-to-peer learning, helping them identify their potential and create jobs for themselves and for others.

The YEN program helps youth realize their abilities and the ways they can serve God and their communities through every vocation, equipping them to become adults who bless all those around them.

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Outcomes

  • Transformed university-student minds ready to be change agents in their professions
  • Identification of personal potential/giftings
  • Identification and use of local resources
  • Job creation and innovation
  • Opportunities for employability
  • Creation of community-transformation practitioners in every sphere of society

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David started Nyaribi Connect and New Africa: platforms that, respectively, engage youth in the YEN teachings (such as self-discovery, self-development and self-deployment based on biblical values) and help Africans see how God has blessed them and their continent, enabling them to organize and make sustainable change. He speaks regularly to local schools, churches and other community groups. In this video, he speaks to other YEN participants.

“To me, the TNA training was a life-changing one, as it was a defining moment for my belief and values, and my emergence as a servant leader,” David says. “The training helped me gain untold belief that I can better my life and that of those around me—one candle lighting many others and, hence, creating more light in the world. Topics in the training like kingdom mathematics and the irreducible minimum revealed to me true success and significance and increased my dependence on God. My prayer life and respect for humanity never remained the same. Am forever grateful!”

Participant Testimonies

Irene: Learning the dignity of work

Employment is hard to find in Uganda, and many proud new college graduates believe they deserve a white-collar job instead of taking other available work that provides an income. Often, unable to find a white-collar job, they remain unemployed and dependent on their parents.

The YEN program helped Irene find dignity in her simple work despite ridicule from others.

IRENE’S STORY

Stephen: Embracing his calling in the marketplace

Like many Christians trapped in a dualistic sacred-secular worldview, Stephen used to think that seeking God’s kingdom meant pursuing “full-time ministry” in separation from secular activities. “I began to think that education, politics, business and even work is secular, unspiritual and, therefore, ungodly,” he says.

The YEN program used Scripture to show Stephen how God values growth in all areas of life, freeing him to pursue his goals.

STEPHEN’S STORY 

Sebastiane: Serving to save a buddy

Challenged by the YEN program to consider how he could demonstrate God’s love to those around him, Sebastiane and his friends devised a plan to keep their peers from dropping out of college due to a lack of money.

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They called the project “Serving to Save a Buddy,” and it has become a great success at Uganda Christian University.

   

SEBASTIANE’S STORY

How It Works

Strategy

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Mobilize youth from churches and universities

Attend 4- to 5-day training conference/retreat

Do community-outreach projects

Participate in peer-to-peer mentoring
(For this mentoring, TNA in Uganda uses a curriculum developed by CMS-Africa to further help students build lives, vocations and communities that flourish. The curriculum is again rooted in DNA core training content and is called the 3D Youth Empowerment Series. The 3 Ds are mentoring/training modules: Discover, Develop, Deploy.)

Planning and Doing the Training

A committee is formed, and volunteers are mobilized to plan and carry out the event.

The planning process begins three months before the actual training week.

The requirements for each training include estimating the number of participants, selecting a venue that has an adequate training room, sleeping accommodations (for out-of-town students), food services, and a recreation field or area. Some venues have almost all the facilities you need, while others may not.

The typical cost of the training can include translation and printing of the participant manual, the venue, and possibly food and accommodation. This can be covered by a registration fee for the students, donations, and gifts of time and service related to the training. The objective is to make the cost affordable for the university student or provide scholarships so that all who need and desire to participate can.

Promotion

The planning committee also promotes the training. Members are assigned to mobilize different churches, organizations and universities based on their relationships and accessibility for easy follow-up.

The team meets monthly or as often as needed to coordinate promotion and preparations.

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Details and Contact

History

The the YEN program was birthed from the global DNA and TNA Uganda’s Vision Conference: their flagship training that targets church clergy and adult Christian leaders. It was not until a university student attended this several-day training during his school vacation that TNA seriously considered a program focused on youth. They began in 2010 with a contextualized training for Compassion International child-sponsorship graduates, equipping them to enter college with life skills.

The response of the students and outcomes were so positive and impactful that they have continued the training every year and continued to develop it. In 2015, TNA began offering the same opportunity to other university students.

There now is a growing demand for this training among the youth in Uganda. Because of the program’s impact and growing popularity, the DNA is promoting this program more widely to its alliance members and global constituency.

Contact

For information on how to successfully impact students through this program, contact Judith Murungi, Executive Director at Transforming Nations Alliance:

Email: jmurungi@tna.ug
Tel: +256 393 286504
Plot 9 Bandali Rise, Bugolobi
P.O. Box 37446, Kampala, Uganda

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