Mohamed Amara is a Traditional Authority and youth chairman of Madina, a community characterized by the polarization between village leadership and the youth. As a result of this tension, the youth population contributed less and less to their community, as they lacked trust in the leadership. This heightened, and resulted in, the resignation of the youth leader.
The turning point for Mohamed and his colleagues came at the first OneVillage Partners community meeting. At the meeting, Mohamed discovered the value of equity and learned that his beloved Madina could only progress as a thriving community if young people like him took responsibility. Mohamed became more passionate about meetings and decided to assist the community volunteers in mobilizing young people for meetings and other community gatherings.
Motivated to bring change to his community, Mohammed decided to take an active role to mobilize his colleague youths for routine community work and initiated the formation of two communal work groups to raise funds and establish a youth social bank in the community. His activities encouraged other young people to volunteer for community work and to support their leaders for a cohesive and peaceful co-existence in Madina. As young people began to contribute more, the community experienced greater unity, reviving the culture of community meetings even outside of OneVillage Partners’s schedule.
Before he could lead others, Mohamed previously saw himself as a stranger in the circle of leadership. He had little confidence in encouraging colleagues to mobilize people for community work or to attend meetings. He never even thought his influence could change others for the better. As he continued improving, he struggled to stress the importance of attending meetings.
“I actually had no mobilization skills or the confidence to stand before people and motivate them, but I still believed I could be of help in bridging the gap between chiefs, the youth and the community as a whole,” he proudly stated with a broad smile.
He however had the vision of a changed Madina – from an unified community to one with cohesive cooperation among it’s populace and inspired youth.
Mohamed had a final breakthrough in his effort when OneVillage Partners partnered with his community. His diligent desire to create a society of peace, strengthen youth cooperation, and unite Madina inspired the community to overwhelmingly elect him as the youth chairman of his village.
Mohamed felt honored and became a leader in mobilizing young people for community works and attending community meetings. He inspired the youth of his village to form the Madina Social and Youth Council where they regularly meet to plan monthly social activities, and to foster unity among themselves and their responsibilities in the progress of their community. Mohamed and his colleagues sometimes invite village authorities to these meetings to discuss and decide on monthly activities for the community. The authorities now trust the young people and, unlike before, Mohamed and other youth now feel part Madina’s decision making process. With this, comes the realization that they are capable of developing their community into a socially cohesive people, filled with the energy to change their community. Mohamed believes that every young person has the power to influence their communities, stating, “every young person in Madina is a tool of development. Our desire to serve as ambassadors of peace determines how happy we will be as a community.”