Not only in a figurative sense this was a long journey, but eventually, with a lot of efforts, it was possible that young Naturefriends from Germany and Senegal could meet each other face-to-face. It was a journey that started one year ago with the search for financial support, hoping for the granting, setting up two groups, organizing flights, visa and a comprehensive programme that led finally to a very warm and friendly welcome at the Berlin airport back in September 2017.
The international youth exchange is a common project between the German Young Naturefriends and the Association Sénégalaise des Amis de la Nature. Together they applied for financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. When the funding was granted for both organizations, both delegations of twelve persons each, prepared themselves for the first encounter. The discussions went on practical topics like “what to keep in mind while using public transportation in Germany?” or “it is so cold in Germany, we need to get warm clothes for our guests!” to more theoretical ones. But the overall and most prominent topic was the 2030 United Nations’ Agenda for Sustainable Development, better known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a special focus on goal 12 “responsible consumption and production”.   
After a delay of around eight hours (due to a missing connection flight in Lisbon and a new stop-over in Zurich) the young Senegalese finally met their German counterparts in the middle of the night and started together into two thrilling weeks full of fun and new experiences. Because pictures tell more than a thousand words, you can experience the two weeks with the following photos and videos.

 

One of the most emotional moments. Discussion about colonialism.

Meeting with Naturefriends from Frankfurt, combined with elements concerning responsible food-production and food-use.

Visiting a waste treatment facility. One of the many elements concerning the discussions about recycling, reuse, reduce and waste management in Germany and in Senegal.

How should a responsible company work? The group visited different companies with different approaches.

 

Great time in a great group!

After this first encounter, the joint groups are working together on a common youth magazine concerning the exchange and the Sustainable Development Goal 12. The magazine will be published in spring next year, after the second encounter that will in take place in Senegal from March 25th to April 4th, 2018.
The youth exchange is sponsored by Engagement Global gGmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.