Putting the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda into practice: Youth as peace agents in Côte d’Ivoire
January 26, 2022
Almost 75% of the population of Côte d’Ivoire are under 35 years old. Despite being the majority of its population, the youth in Côte d’Ivoire are often associated with or are perceived as drivers of political violence.
To combat this misperception, Interpeace and its partner Indigo Côte d’Ivoire implemented the project “YPS in Practice,” which aimed to foster the participation of the country’s youth as actors and leaders in peacebuilding activities.
Funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UN PBF), the project identified 40 young leaders from 7 community initiatives already active in their neighborhoods in Yopougon and Abobo, trained and accompanied them in the strategic design and inclusive implementation of peacebuilding and political violence prevention projects.
“In this project, the youth were not viewed as beneficiaries, nor as implementing partners at best; rather, the young Ivoirians themselves took the helm and were at the heart of all the peacebuilding activities carried out, from planning to implementation,” said Margaux Pimond, Interpeace’s Côte d’Ivoire Programme Manager.
At the end of the project, Interpeace, Indigo CI and the young leaders identified the lessons learned and good practices and compiled them in a White Paper. This paper provides practical guidance to governments, donors, NGOs, international organizations and private sector actors who wish to encourage the participation and contribution of youth to peace and security efforts, in Côte d’Ivoire and elsewhere.
Awa Diabate, Research assistant at Indigo Côte d’Ivoire recalls that “one needs to adopt a flexible approach and adapt to capacities and priorities of young leaders, in order to successfully apply the YPS agenda into practice”.
In the publication, some good practices highlight the importance of reaching young people from diverse backgrounds, the advantage of involving social elders as mentors to bridge the intergenerational gap, the interest of training young people in the analysis of context to guide their actions, as well as the importance of supporting them in the design and implementation of their own projects.
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