INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE PROGRAMMES AND PARTNERSHIPS
Due to its international nature, Kenya YMCA has continued to foster new relations with other YMCAs as well as strengthened the old ones. Some of these include:
The new partnership discussions were started in the year 2006. The intended areas of partnering are education, aquatic programmes, cricket, marathon and long distance running, renewable energy and HIV/AIDS. A delegation from India visited Kenya in February 2007, where concrete talks were held on actualizing the partnership.
Two of the Kenya YMCA programme staff have so far benefited from the partnership by going through a rigorous nine-month “YMCA Secretaries Training” at the United Theological College in Bangalore, which they both successfully completed.
There have been continued relationships with different YMCAs in the United States of America. Some of the programmes that existed some years back were the ICCP with the International YMCA and the Hotel training at the Snow Mountain Ranch. Both programmes have been under a reconstruction process which will ensure smooth running once they are introduced afresh.
Other programmes with US YMCAs are underway and these include support of the Kids’ Camps, projects in selected YMCAs in rural areas, support of the feeding programme in early childhood education centers among others.
The partnership with German YMCAs has been the longest in the Kenya YMCA. There have been groups of staff and volunteers visiting Kenya every year on different missions. However, Baden YMCA has for a long time been supporting the orphan programme in Kisumu branch where they have been sponsoring orphans to school.
Kenyan staff and volunteers have also visited Germany on different occasions, the most recent being a group of 5 youth joining up with youth from Baden YMCA to attend the European Festival in the Czech republic in August 2008.
The partnership with the YMCAs in the UK was revived in the year 2006. The Central Herts YMCA has been the most active through regular donations of sports gear and other items. In addition, there have been quite some good work camps aimed at giving a facelift to the coastal branches.
In December 2006, a group of 10 volunteers from Central Herts to Kenya and in particular to Kilifi YMCA for a work camp, during which they did some minor renovations to the buildings as well as painting. In October 2008, 10 volunteers once more came to join hands with the Kenya YMCA in converting a YMCA house at the Nyali estate in Mombasa into a guest house that is aimed at enhancing the income of the coastal branches and even contribute to the programme work there.
This has been one of the successes of partnership so far, in that it has focused on sustainability in the long term.
As a pioneer to staff exchange programmes with Central Herts YMCA, one of the Kenya YMCA staff Mr. Wycliffe Obege is participating in a two month training programme in which he is getting exposure on the hostel operations in the UK. The training is diverse and ranges from cooking to customer care as well as accounting. His programme runs from August to October 2008.