2023 All-Country Conference
CorpsAfrica hosted its second All-Country Conference in Kigali in June 2023. We brought together a diverse group of individuals from across the continent around the theme of Youth Shaping the Future of Africa. The exciting and engaging week-long program provided the opportunity for participants to gain a deeper understanding of CorpsAfrica’s model for locally-led development, share successes and challenges from their experiences, and strengthen a powerful Pan-African network dedicated to public service.
The group included close to 300 CorpsAfrica Volunteers, alumni, Board members, and staff who participated in activities throughout the week and an additional 600 partners, local volunteers, parents, friends, and guests of honor in attendance for Friday’s conference closing.
JUNE 11 – ARRIVAL
On June 11, participants from Morocco, Senegal, Malawi, Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, and the U.S arrived in Rwanda. The vibrant city of Kigali, Rwanda, played host to this diverse group of nearly 300 attendees. The day ended on a high note with a lively performance by a local band, transitioning the atmosphere into a joyous celebration where volunteers took over the music, treating everyone to a mix of captivating songs and turning the event into an impromptu celebration and kick-off.
UNE 12 – INTERNAL CONFERENCE DAY 1
The first day of the internal conference commenced with a warm welcome to Rwanda and the event from Eustochie Sezibera, the Rwanda Country Director. Liz Fanning, the Founder and Executive Director of CorpsAfrica, took the stage to share the inspiring journey of CorpsAfrica and its unique approach to youth service and community development. Attendees learned from country directors’ stories and exchanged best practices and lessons learned from their respective programs. Throughout the day, breakout sessions covered a wide range of topics including leadership development, best practices in volunteer support, human resources and staff development, and sustainability of community projects after service.
JUNE 13 – INTERNAL CONFERENCE DAY 2
We started the second day of the conference with a captivating session on storytelling presented by Joel ben Izzy, a renowned storyteller and author. Patricia Kingori-Mugendi, Kenya Country Director, and Raymond Abaifaah, Ghana Training Manager, shared powerful stories of failure, turning them into valuable lessons for future success. Board members convened to discuss roles, fundraising, networking, and governance. Liz hosted a conversation with Dr. Bouchra Rahmouni, Director of Social Innovation Lab at UM6P, exploring shared goals between CorpsAfrica and OCP Group. Engaging breakout sessions covered topics like cross-cultural volunteer exchanges, storytelling for effective social media communication, community integration, volunteer health and safety, philanthropy culture, job-seeking through storytelling, project funding best practices, and improving volunteer support and well-being.
JUNE 14 – INTERNAL CONFERENCE DAY 3
The final day of the internal conference featured plenary sessions with Joel ben Izzy and Garrett Mason on sharing impactful stories and Liz Fanning and Jim Clark discussing CorpsAfrica’s future direction and strategic vision. The plenary sessions were bookended by engaging breakout sessions covering CorpsAfrica’s sector-specific initiatives, alumni programs, volunteer health and safety, development partnerships, and financial records maintenance. After the close of the internal conference, participants visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial, gaining insights into the tragic event and Rwanda’s reconciliation efforts. They paid tribute to the victims by laying wreaths at the burial site. The day ended with an exciting inter-country football tournament, where Morocco triumphed over Senegal and Ghana overcame Rwanda in the opening matches.
JUNE 15 – SITE VISITS
Participants embarked on site visits with CorpsAfrica/Rwanda Volunteers, visiting communities across multiple districts, including Kampanga and Gacinyiro Village in Musanze District, Taba Village in Huye District, Rutonde cell in Bugesera District, Nyaruteja Cell in Gisagara District, Musange and Mbazi Sectors in Nyamagabe District, and Rugote Village in Rulindo District. The opportunity to interact with community members and witness the impactful projects led by CorpsAfrica/Rwanda volunteers left everyone inspired and thrilled. The visits showcased the power of community-led initiatives and the transformative impact of volunteerism.
JUNE 16 – EXTRAVAGANZA DAY
A diverse audience of 1,000 guests, including 300 CorpsAfrica Volunteers, staff, alumni, Board members, parents, host communities, students, government representatives, and development partners gathered for the final day of high-level roundtable discussions and plenary sessions at The Kigali Exhibition Village and Convention Center. Notable guests of honor included Rwanda’s Minister of Youth, Dr. Abdallah Utumatwishima, Minister of Local Government, Hon. Jean Claude Musabyimana, Country Head of Rwanda Programs at Mastercard Foundation, Rica Rwigamba, Ghana’s Minister of Information, Hon. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, and other prominent leaders. The conference culminated in a captivating Culture Night celebration, showcasing the rich and interconnected African cultures through volunteer-led show and dance performances.