From 18th to 20th July 2022, the Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU) was represented in the Regional Youth Seminar for Africa and Middle East Region. The Seminar which took place in Nairobi, Kenya was organized ahead of the adoption of the new Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) 2023 – 2026 Strategic Plan.
It intended to highlight the significance of BWI’s work for youth, introduce new unionists to the existing structures, capacitate them and refresh/entrench the existing knowledge of trade unionists that are already in the union structures.
One of the Africa regional youth committee resolutions was to have youth participation in organising academies including digital organising and use of social media platforms in organising and unionising which forms the basis of youth inclusion in trade union activities through organizing academies and campaigns for youth and women employment policies.
To achieve this, educational investment into young union leadership training must continue. This is more especially true after the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, economic and political conflict, authoritative governments, increased corruption/crime, new patterns/kinds of employment, unemployment, skills deficiency, infrastructure weakness/destruction, increased migration, sporadic xenophobia, etc.
Although all workers are affected by these events, there is no doubt that youth workers are most disproportionately affected and in need of assistance. It is hoped that this seminar armed women and young unionists with leadership skills and tools for their futures and that of their communities.
The purpose of the Regional Seminar is to train young trade unionists and the yet to be trade unionists/trade union members with the aim of capacitating them with trade union knowledge and building the successor generation through increased organizing skills, training on labour rights, media and communication and having exchange programmes.
The seminar included key elements of organizational and campaign strategy development with the intention of shaping trade union leadership, gender inclusivity and mainstreaming in trade union activities, campaigns, advocacy and lobbying that will provide avenues for practical exercises and the on-the-job trainings to build strong trade unions with respect to gender equality and youth employment.