A brief history

The Young Men’s Christian Association/Union Chrétienne de Jeunes Gens (YMCA/UCJG) is a worldwide, Christian, ecumenical, non-religious and voluntary movement open to women and men, but especially to young people who seek to share the Christian vision of building a human community of justice, love, peace and harmony for the fullness of life for all creation.

The YMCA/UCJG arrived in Cameroon in the 1920s and the very first group was affiliated to the Alliance Française des UCJG in 1924. It is only in 1951 that a National Alliance was born in Cameroon, named “Alliance des Unions Chrétiennes de Jeunes Gens du Cameroun”. In 1977, it was the co-founder of the African Alliance of YMCAs.

Due to the political circumstances linked to the independence moves as well as the restrictions of individual liberties, the National Alliance of YMCAs had to work under the supervision of the Evangelical Church of Cameroon (EEC) which obtained its autonomy in 1957 and made it its only youth movement in 1989.

Following the law n° 90/053 of December 19, 1990 relating to the associative rights, the National Alliance of UCJG/YMCA obtains its official statement of legal existence following the receipt n° 124/RDDA/CIS/BAPP of July 30, 1991 in Douala.

The evolution of the movement towards its maturity has not been a peaceful experience. Internally, the movement was balkanized. Externally, it has distanced itself from the larger African and global YMCA families.

However, as the unionist commitment grew, so did the desire to rebuild in the spirit of the movement’s original vision.

The YMCA and Africa today

It all started in Africa in 2006, when the YMCAs of Africa organized a World Council of YMCAs, but also during the General Assembly of the African Alliance in May 2007 held on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Ghana’s independence. A new orientation was given to YMCAs in Africa, based on the “search process” or “rear view mirror principle” which consists in moving forward while looking back to the past every now and then.

During this very stormy GA, the Africans questioned themselves on the reasons for their backwardness, the inefficiency of their management and their eternal dependence. Thus was born the Christian vision that God has a plan for the African continent. He calls us, as the Basis of Paris states, to extend his Kingdom over the whole earth. For us, the earth is first of all Africa. And as sons of this continent, we owe it to ourselves to join our efforts in order to truly reclaim our dignity, our values, our identity on the basis of our Christian values.

Then the concept of Pan-Africanism emerged. One question emerged: YMCA of Africa, who are you? This question resulted in a Common Vision, i.e. sacrificing individual visions to have a collective one, but adapting the missions according to the realities of each country.

Autonomy of the YMCA in Cameroon

It was in this particular context of optimism, that in 2014, a mission of “fact finding” took place in Cameroon, supported by the Secretary of the World Alliance and the Secretary General of the African Alliance of YMCAs. This mission, led by Carlos Sanvee, current Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs, made several visits to Cameroon and chaired the Quadrennial General Conference, which led to the creation of a National Executive Committee.

During this visit, the Unions decided to proceed to a “rebranding” and to move to a Cameroonian YMCA called “National Council of Young Men’s Christian Unions of Cameroon”, in accordance with international standards. The National Council of Cameroon Young Men’s Christian Associations (YMCA) or Conseil National des Unions Chrétiennes de Jeunes Gens du Cameroun (UCJG), which gathers all the Cameroonian unionists, adopted the acronym “Cameroon-YMCA”.

This decision was supported by a letter from the Evangelical Church of Cameroon, signed by its President General Rev. Batomen and addressed to the Secretary of the World Alliance of YMCAs, recognizing the autonomy of the Cameroon-YMCA.

Cameroon-YMCA today

Today Cameroon-YMCA is present in all 10 regions of the country and is constituted of 9 branches and 70 Local Unions. In 2017, we had the great honor of receiving the Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs, Rev. Johan Vilhelm Eltvik to Cameroon for an official visit that accompanied our acceptance as a full member of the World Alliance at the June 2018 World Council of YMCAs in Chiang Mai.

The Cameroon-YMCA adheres to the common Vision and Mission of the YMCAs enshrined in the PARIS BASE adopted in August 1855 which states that: “The purpose of the Young Men’s Christian Associations is to bring together young people who, accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, according to the Holy Scriptures, wish to be His disciples in their faith and in their lives and to work together to extend among the young the reign of their Master. No difference of opinion, however serious it may be, but concerning a subject foreign to the purpose previously established, shall break the harmony in the fraternal relations between the member movements of the Universal Alliance.

We also adhere to all other subsequent texts of the Global Alliance and the African Alliance, including the 1998 Challenge 21 and the 2007 Accra Declaration.

Our Mission :

Based on our Christian values and in accordance with the Paris Base, we aspire to build a youth capable of working for justice, peace, social (holistic community, nation and African) transformation and development through the promotion of a culture of leadership and work based on Christian principles and shared values.

Our Values

  • Unit,
  • Commitment,
  • Responsibility,
  • Self-determination,
  • Integrity.