BUILDING A FUTURE WITH YOUNG PEOPLE, FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Staff Profile – Aina Razanamahefa, Youth Empowerment Coordinator
29-year old Aina Razabanafeha is a Youth Empowerment Coordinator for Save the Children in Madagascar. Today, he is going to Befingotra Village, about 37 km from Save the Children’s Madagascar office in Andapa, to support a youth association that the organization has helped create.
Smiling and full of enthusiasm, Aina straddles his motorbike. The road to the village is impassable by car so one has to either walk or use a motorbike. Aina has always had a love for young people and always desires to offer them a helping hand if this will enable them take a step closer to achieving their dreams.
Ever since I was a teenager I always liked to be involved in community life. Being a scout when I was much younger allowed me to have a number of skills and get more involved in a number of projects that supported communities around me, says Aina.
Aina completed his studies in Social Communication, Management and Economics and participated in several youth international conferences before joining Save the Children as a Youth Coordinator in Madagascar.
His work consists of building the resilience and capacity of young people in the Sava region, in the North of Madagascar, so that they can build a better tomorrow. The youth programme covers, 77 villages, in 3 districts (Andapa, Sambava, Antalaha). It supports 78 youth associations through capacity building, to enable young people discover and exploit their potential, both individually and as a team. The project also works with Madagascar’s Ministry of Public Health to support adolescent and youth reproductive health interventions.
I was 25 years old when I took this job. Many people thought I was too young to be a project coordinator. This pushed me to work harder to assert myself quickly in my position, says Aina. “I worked tirelessly, read a lot of books to understand this field, learn more and master what needed to be done. I also got a coach/ mentor to walk with me.”
The achievements, big and small, make Aina proud of the young people he walks with in the youth empowerment programme in Madagascar.
It makes me happy to see these young people succeed. There’s a young girl, for example, who joined a youth association that we have been supporting in her village. She worked very hard and has now been selected to be a trainer in a similar project, says a proud Aina.
The Youth Empowerment Coordinator is equally proud of two other youth who were able to attend summits in Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar.
They have never been outside the village, but thanks to all the support activities initiated by Save the Children, they were able to go to the capital and discover new horizons. I am really proud of these achievements, says Aina delightedly.
Young people are the future and my motivation is that through my work, I can do my part so that they have a minimum of baggage to build that future. I have faith in the future, both ours and theirs, he concludes.