ICS volunteer hosts ‘African Development Forum’ at SOAS

Returnee volunteer Lydia Levy spent 10 weeks in Senegal as an International Citizen Service team leader, supporting the YMCA work with vulnerable children and young people in Kaolack. Now she is back, she is taking some of what she learned on her placement, to organise and run SOAS’s 2015 ‘Africa development forum’.

SOAS’ annual ‘Africa Development Forum’ represents an opportunity for academics, students and experts to come together and share their research on a specific area of interest within development in Africa. ICS volunteer Lydia is leading the forum, which this year, will focus on ‘social enterprise’, and as part of her ‘Action at Home’ she is hoping that the forum will help mobilise academic opinion on some of the issues she came face to face with during her time in Kaolack, Senegal.

“I felt that this year’s focus on African Social Enterprise really captured the importance of African-led development initiatives, many of them similar to those I had seen whilst working with the YMCA in Kaolack.” said Lydia.

The International Citizen Service provides young volunteers from the U.K. with the opportunity to work with NGO’s and charities on a range of projects in the countries where they work. As a team leader, Lydia led a group of 12 volunteers who left the UK in May 2014 for their three month placement supporting Senegal YMCA. If you want to follow in Lydia’s footsteps, it’s not too late to apply. If you apply for ICS by the April 13 2015, then you could be overseas as early as JUNE, and support YMCAs in Senegal, Bangladesh, Togo or Guatemala.

Organising the forum was the next logical step after her ICS experience, and something that she puts down to her experience in Senegal. During the forum, which runs on Saturday 14th March 2015 from 11:00am-17:00pm, Lydia, and her co-organisers, hope to stimulate a debate on the role of social enterprise as a tool for sustainable development on the African Continent, challenge many of the misconceptions people have of development within the continent and the countries it represents, and form a way to put some of what is discussed on the day into action.

If you would like to attend the Africa Development Forum then head over to Eventbrite, where you can register to attend, but be aware that on the actual day you’ll need to get there early to secure a place as space is limited, and entry to the forum is based on a first come first serve basis.

The Africa Development Forum will run at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London on Saturday 14th March 2015 from 11:00am – 17:00pm.

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