Network of African Youths for Development - 'Together is better'
Actiontoolkit - Take Action! - Networking

Networks remind you that you are not alone in the world. There are many others out there who have been here before you and who are often very happy and eager to help. Learning from others and exchanging knowledge is incredibly useful when looking for direction. Use existing online networks, local community networks and personal contacts to gain advice from experienced activists and subject specialists. Through networks, you can also find everything you could possibly want for your project - from finding a mentor or evaluator, to raising funds and recruiting volunteers. And rather than just use networks, be part of them! Encourage the development of local and interpersonal networks between friends. We want to see a network of global youth that acts as a family: sharing the load and supporting fellow members. Networks are the basic human safety net. Find them, cherish them and use them!

Community networks: Community networking helps raise project awareness amongst those it is affecting. It is also incredibly useful for gaining the hands-on support your project needs. Through community networks it may be possible to find free labour, resources and advice. It will help create a sense of community ownership of your project. Think about who you, or your friends and family, are connected to. A great way to do this is to put yourself in the middle of a pictorial web and spread out the lines through your family and friends. Ask each to give you five useful names and watch your web grow!Africa scene

Professional networks: The support of a large organisation in your field may help your project gain recognition and credence. Professional guidance can also be invaluable in helping a project remain sustainable. An established organisation’s support adds legitimacy to your work and can be useful in getting round obstacles such as legal loopholes. Network with these people, create strategic alliances and, with their blessing, use their voice and established position to your advantage.

Adult Advocates:
Often embassy officials, government members and celebrities can act as powerful endorsers to a project. Network with these people to attract much needed attention to your project. But be careful. Make sure media interest in some teen sensation does not detract and overshadow your actual cause. Remember this is your project, not their promotional tour! Online networking and youth networks: The internet is an enormous and fantastically useful resource for youth-led development. There are a number of websites and networks devoted to this subject. These are invaluable for getting hints and tips for project management from successfully completed projects. But don’t just look for success stories - sometimes it is even more helpful to review projects that went wrong. These stories are hard to find as youth,like everyone else, do not like the stigma of failure. And remember, once you have finished your project, you can contribute to this spirit of cooperation by telling your experience, including mistakes, fully and honestly in your reports. Remember we are in this fight together! It may be too late for you to learn from your mistakes, but others can so share mistakes to prevent others from repeating them.

Do what you say you’re going to do!!
Everybody faces times when their project seems nothing but an uphill struggle. And when times get challenging, many of you may be tempted to give up... Don’t! It is very normal for you to go through a difficult stage in your project. You need to persevere and face up to whatever challenge is thrown at you. Think about the amount you have already invested and the obstacles you have already overcome. If CAPEDyou give up, all of that will be wasted. But if you keep at it, push for one goal at a time, you will learn and grow and your final success will be even more rewarding. Another essential is keeping your word. Make sure you always do exactly what you say you are going to do. If you are not sure if you will be able to do something, don’t commit to it! If we are honest, that is the major concern that governments and big organisations have about YLD. They think we are unreliable and will give up at the first sign of a problem. That is not true! To change opinions of YLD, we need to show a very high success rate and prove that not only are youth are the biggest bang for the development investor’s buck, but that we are a very low risk, safe investment too.

To date, we have pretty much achieved a 100% success rate, often exceeding our own and other’s expectations. Now it is time for you to join this happy tradition. By persevering you, too, can prove that YLD truly works. And, if things go wrong and you face insuperable obstacles, just remember: DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP!! Keep the faith and Do What You Say You’re Going To Do! Back

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