Text: Vilde Skorpen Wikan, Communications Adviser Norec
Photo: Martha Pukallus, Communications Adviser Norec

The Youth Camp-participants represented 14 different countries and were all between the ages of 18 and 25. Travelling to Flekke was a chance to get to know each other and Norec (newly renamed) before going in exchange. This edition of Youth Camp had the theme ‘Youth Leadership and Justice’. These are central guiding principles not just for Norec, but also for Norwegian policy overall, as Minister of International Development Nikolai Astrup emphasised during his Youth Camp-visit 16 August. For Mamphule, the themes resonated.

“I see myself as a future leader,” she said. Mamphule is an active promoter of Human Rights in her home country and will be working in a similar field in Kenya, learning about different approaches to advocacy and empowerment.

“I want to see how to do the work differently and get a new perspective,” she said.

Youth leadership is key for positive global change

The key to good leadership is also knowing when to listen and learn. This was one of the main points highlighted by Minister Nikolai Astrup during his meeting with the participants. The Minister had taken the trip to Flekke from Førde, where he had announced the name change from FK Norway to Norec earlier in the day.

“Youth leadership and youth raising their voices are key issues in Norway’s foreign policy,” he told the Youth Camp-participants.

Minister of International Development Nikolai Astrup talking about youth leadership and Norwegian policy at Youth Camp 16 August 2018

“We do not mean leadership as power,” he said. “But as guidance and inspiring people to reach a common good together.”

Forging long-term ties

Mamphule also plans on using the opportunity to create bonds between the organisations in Kenya and South Africa, which can lead to sustained cooperation in the future.

“This shouldn’t be something that just ends after three months,” she said. “It should be ongoing.”

Exchange does not only bring together people with different experiences and backgrounds, it also creates a foundation for an ever-expanding network. The effects are long-term and sometimes unexpected. In June our Director of Programmes Marit Bakken, for example, wrote about how the effects of her own FK-exchange experience still influence her life, 14 years later (in Norwegian).

From FK to Norec-exchange

The variations in country, city, organisation and type of work have a tremendous impact on the exchange. Each FK-exchange has been a unique and different experience – as every Norec-exchange will continue to be.

The type of experience will also depend on the mindset of the participants themselves, something Mamphule is very aware of.

“I told myself, ‘let’s just grab this opportunity’,” she said. “I’m not worried, just prepared.”

Mamphule Ntladi was one of 174 young participants at Youth Camp in Flekke 13-17 August 2018