Youth Animators in Kenya Undergo Training to Enhance Participation in Church Activities

Some youth leaders during the training session in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. Credit: DBYES Nairobi/Facebook

Youth leaders and animators across various Catholic Parishes in Kenya have completed a training on a manual designed to improve the experience of young people in their church meetings and activities.

The workshop that was held under theme, “Train the Trainer in Youth Ministry”, a flagship program of Don Bosco Youth Educational Services (DBYES, Nairobi), was aimed to equip youth leaders with skills they require to make the programs attractive.

DBYES Director of Programs and member of Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Fr. Sahaya Selvam, told ACI Africa that at the moment, youth programs in many Catholic Parishes do not impact those they have been fashioned for.

“Often, we are told to talk to the youth and to make them participate in Church activities more. But these talks do not always yield much impact,” Fr. Selvam said in the Wednesday, August 11 interview.


Fr. Selvam Presiding over Holy Mass. Credit: DBYES/Fr. Selvam

He says that the biggest challenge with youth meetings in church is that the people attend without an agenda in mind, underscoring the need for a manual that provides the youth with something to look forward to ahead of their meetings.

“In many church groups, the youth attend without an agenda or program and only start crafting one when they are already in the meeting. They then leave the meeting without any idea of how to move forward with the discussions of their meetings,” he said.

The Priest has consolidated a manual dubbed “Scaffoldings Program: Training Youth in Christian Life Skills”, which offers in-depth activities to keep young people engaged during their meetings.

The 20-chapter manual is divided into four sections, each with various themes. Each theme in the book can take up to six hours of training, the SDB Priest says.

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The training can be spread over two days monthly, Fr. Selvam says, and explains, “If conducted weekly, the trainers will need only three hours every week for 40 weeks to complete the training.”

Outdoor activities during DBYES flagship program of Youth Animators. Credit: DBYES/Fr. Selvam

Published by the Paulines Publications Africa in 2008, the manual is already a success story in Tanzania and Kenya.

In Tanzania, Chuo cha Maisha in the Catholic Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam has been training youth animators using the manual since 2006. The training also runs in Tanzania’s Morogoro Diocese.


In Nairobi Archdiocese, Scaffoldings program is recommended for the age group of 13 to 19, Fr. Selvam says, and adds, “It is noteworthy that this program has also received some attention from non-Catholic churches in Kenya and Tanzania.”

Participants in DBYES flagship program of Youth Animators. Credit: DBYES/Fr. Selvam

The workshop that ran from August 2 to August 6 at DBYES in Karen, Nairobi attracted 38 participants from various Kenyan Parishes, including Religious Sisters, Priests and Lay youth animators.

DBYES hopes to replicate the program at least twice annually, the India-born Priest says, adding that plans are also underway to focus on character building through various training programs among young people in Africa.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.