This article provides a summarized update on HMC’s three different programs in Africa during May – August 2023, i.e. Christian Youth Empowerment Program (CYEP), Christian Travel Program (CTP) and Online Mission Content Development (OMCD).
HMC is committed to enhancing the lives of youth through the Christian Youth Empowerment Program (CYEP). In partnership with SCC Services, Brunstad Christian Church South Africa (BCCSA), and local vocational companies offering training opportunities, the program aims to provide vocational skills training, spiritual enrichment, and personal growth to its participants.
During May – August, there were between 18-19 participants on the program from Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi & Zimbabwe. While an influx of a further 15 participants from Cameroon, Malawi & Nigeria were anticipated in July, this has been delayed pending successful VISA applications.
Participants on the program receive practical on-the-job training from local companies to learn valuable technical and soft skills. There are ongoing efforts to align participants’ preferences to positions that are open. Occasionally, like the recent intake from Tanzania, some participants commence their training in roles that require less reliance on English language skills. Subsequently, they are directed towards different training centers for further development.
For most participants, the Christian element of the program is the main reason for joining CYEP. CYEP participants enjoy a busy and content rich program outside of the vocational training that they receive. Participants are included in the activities of the BCC South Africa church, as well as activities specially focused on them. These events aim to enrich the participants’ spiritual journey and foster stronger bonds among them.
Activities in this period ranged from choir practice and recordings, interest clubs & music lessons to an elaborate BUK Summer Camp and volunteering, such as participating with 67 minutes of volunteering on Nelson Mandela Day (18 July). Informal English language evenings are also held by BCCSA volunteers to help participants to master the common language.
On 16 June, a public holiday in South Africa appropriately named Youth Day, CYEP participants joined by some young people from BCCSA went on an outing to Gold Reef City, a theme park in Johannesburg.
Professor Grobler from the North-West University in South Africa has completed his annual research report on the CYDP-CYEP program.
In his report, Prof Grobler outlines the history and construct of the program and acknowledges the role that HMC plays. He describes the program as “an initiative of human development”. The report continues to give a background on the poor economic conditions and high unemployment that youth in Africa face.
His evaluation of the 2022-2023 program takes the form of self-evaluation & mentor-evaluation forms on hard & soft skills respectively before and after completing the program. The outcome is in all instances a significant improvement in skills.
He furthermore conducted interviews with ex-participants. In his findings, he mentions the overwhelming heartfelt thankfulness from participants for their on the program and that the data shows a significant number of ex-participants have been able to secure employment after completing the program.
In conclusion, Prof Grobler writes that “The CYDP Program has proven to be a resounding success in transforming the lives of participants and benefiting communities. Through the program, young individuals gain not only hard skills but also essential soft skills. The combination of these skills increases their employability and empowers them to become active contributors to their communities. The partnership between the church and the private sector further strengthens the program’s impact, allowing for the delivery of vital services and creating opportunities for holistic development.”
HMC is pleased with the positive outcome of this report.
Stakeholders from BCC South Africa, Upriver Developments, SCC Services & HMC are in advance stages of discussions with the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) to establish formalized theoretical training opportunities to CYEP participants. The six topics to be covered by this training are: 1) entrepreneurship & social development; 2) small business financial skills; 3) people management; 4) marketing for small business; 5) logistics and transportation; 6) project management.
In his report, Prof Grobler highlighted the significant potential of this new development to enhance the program’s impact and provide participants with a competitive edge in the job market or to start their own small businesses:
“The proposed inclusion of formal training by the Vaal University of Technology in the CYDP/CYEP has significant potential to enhance the program’s impact and provide participants with a competitive edge in the job market. The benefits of enhanced technical competence, comprehensive skill set, academic credibility, and networking opportunities make a compelling case for this integration.”
We are hopeful that this training can start in the coming months.
As part of the program, training and workshops are provided for groups of people, often earlier CYDP/CYEP participants, who can have an impact on their communities, such as church workers and community leaders. This is done in close collaboration between BCC SA, SCC Services and HMC.
Most of the skills taught are combined with key life skills and Christian values that encourage teamwork, problem solving, conflict resolution, installing trust in teams and communities, clear communication skills and many more soft skills that will inspire the individuals to become better leaders.
During the April – June 2023, sessions were conducted both remotely and in-person in the DRC and Malawi.
The HMC Christian Travel Program aims to facilitate the gathering of Christians and the sharing of the Christian message through organized travel for participants to Christian conferences and events to and from Africa. Recognizing the significance of Christians coming together for the growth of their faith and unity, the program responds to the continuous demand for travel arrangements.
The program addresses the challenges of costly travel and the intricate logistics involved in organizing trips, including passport and visa applications, flight bookings, and compliance with travel requirements. Many participants lack the financial means for intercontinental or international travel, which could otherwise prevent their participation in Christian programs held at distant locations.
The program covers a comprehensive range of services required for travel, including flights, visas, passports, health documentation, COVID tests, accommodations, transportation, and other essential expenses. HMC collaborates with specialized local entities, such as SCC Services (in South Africa) and SEE Travel (in Norway) to provide these services as part of a comprehensive package.
Travel planned through SCC Services under this program includes:
|Summer Conference 2022||90|
|Romjuls Camp 2022||16|
|Easter Camp 2023||36|
|Camp Africa 2023||70|
|Norway Brother’s & Sister’s Conferences 2023||10|
Further travel was arranged through SEE Travel to send participants from Europe to South Arica for Camp Africa in April and further French speaking European mentors to a youth conference in Cameroon during August.
The HMC Christian Online Distribution Program seeks to spread the Christian message through online spreading of missionary content in African nations. A lot of effort is needed for getting an infrastructure up and running to get access to the internet and content resources in Africa. The program is conducted in partnership with the international faith community, Brunstad Christian Church (BCC), which produces live and on-demand Christian content. This content serves as spiritual nourishment for individuals and congregations striving to align their lives with the Biblical message.
The program’s objectives include providing access to BCC-related content for African communities, facilitating participation in online church services hosted by BCC branches in South Africa, Norway, and France, and developing cost-effective and user-friendly solutions for content distribution across various locations. The program also involves training young participants from Africa in HMC’s CYEP program, equipping them to train others upon their return home. This training aims to build a valuable remote distribution team that offers local support for online conferences and events.
The program’s activities encompass product and software development, maintenance and support of installed equipment and software, travel to different locations for installation and technician training, promotion of online content, provision of necessary licenses for remote collaboration, and addressing internet connectivity challenges. The program also aims to establish media production studios and train local technicians to produce content in various local languages, fostering Christian unity and access to uplifting content among BCC congregations in Africa.
African countries face unique challenges concerning internet connectivity and technology adoption. The prevalence of low bandwidth and inconsistent or intermittent connectivity often hampers access to online content. Many regions grapple with exorbitant costs (relative to affordability) associated with internet services, rendering access to digital resources a luxury for some. Additionally, limited computer literacy and familiarity with technology and language challenges can impede individuals from fully utilizing online platforms. These challenges emphasize the need for tailored solutions that address these unique constraints.
HMC envisions that its program will enhance the lives of many Christians by expanding their access to tailored Christian media content. The content is being adapted to local languages, aiding in the spread of the Gospel. Overall, the program aims to encourage participation in online church services, strengthen international Christian unity, and empower trained technicians to support local congregations.
Ivan Slabbert manages the Online Mission Content Distribution Program for HMC and provides detailed management reports on a monthly basis. Ivan manages the relationship with SCC Services who provides some of the services required on this program.
Program execution in the first few months of 2023 has been slower than initially hoped for. Management reports highlighted that a large contributor to this was a lack of suitable IT resources. HMC has identified and engaged with Laurens Groeneveld, a young member of the faith community in the Netherlands, who now assists Ivan in South Africa.
Report by Prof. Grobler (NWU):
Article on CYEP Mentor Training:
Article on December 2022 Conference in South Africa:
Article on Camp Africa 2023: