The SA YMCA International Desk is currently (2013) involved with the exchange of Volunteers / Interns from Sweden, Norway, Canada and the United States.
Programmes with the The Greater New York YMCA
- Global Teens service visits to local YMCAs in Durban and Cape Town. 18 teens and 3 leaders will visit SA in July (2013).
- YMCA Staff Exchange - qualified staff from all YMCA's will be considered.
- Study tours from The Greater New York YMCA to South Africa consisting of staff and board members including business people with YMCA connections.
The YWCA/YMCA of Sweden, supported by Swedish Mission Council and Sida, entered into a 3 year contract in 2012 to support the development of local programs. This is part of an Africa Alliance initiative aimed at developing the Subject to Citizen programme. Another aspect of this partnership is an annual three month internship for a qualified person from SA YMCA to go to Sweden. In exchange, the SA YMCA hosts up to three Swedish volunteers for 6 months each.
Since 2011, the Niagara YMCA in Canada has sent a young intern to work in the South African YMCA. The main focus of the internships has been to support the development of the YMCA Y-Health programmes. Two volunteers have already participated in this programme and a third person will arrive in June 2013.
The SA YMCA and YMCA Niagara are involved in ongoing discussions about how to extend the parameters of this partnership.
The South African YMCA has a long standing partnership with the Norway YWCA/YMCA. In 1995, a group of invited volunteers from Norway visited South Africa to participate in discussions about the potential of introducing Tensing (art & culture programme for young people) to local YMCA's. The SA YMCA chose to develop a similar programme which is now called Y-Arts. In 2003/4, Two Norwegian nationals, Ottar and Sara Birgitte Nesje spent 2 years working in SA to develop this programme. Thousands of young people in South Africa have been impacted by the YMCA Y-Arts programme, with many now in a professional carreer path and others continuing to volunteer in local Y-Arts projects.
Volunteers from South Africa have spent many months working in Norway and great friendships between Norwegians and South Africans have developed over the years. The most successful initiative is between a school in Norway, Ronningen Folk High School, and various local YMCAs in South Africa. Ronningen has been sending students to South Africa on cultural and social service trips since 1998 and well over 300 people have participated in the exchange since then. The parternship continues to evolve at all levels of the two movements and in 2013 many new exciting possibilities are opening up for this partnership to grow.