Working with young people is an indisputable added value. Around the world and in Africa, the youth is the fastest growing population and unfortunately, a population facing many challenges such as unemployment, GBV and lack of consideration of their voices in political arenas.
University is often a luxury and diplomas do not guarantee a job. These challenges are exacerbated in conflict and post conflict contexts where the State is weakened or unable to perform its duties towards its population, where security is an everyday concern and where priorities are put elsewhere than with young people. Politicians are often old leaders that exclude the youth as valuable interlocutors. However, we can observe a change in the strong mobilization of the youth within the civil society that expresses a will for change and that got more attention these last couple of years. In regional and sub regional platforms, space is being created for youth voices. For the first time, the 28th African Union Summit that took place in January 2017 organized a youth consultation to gather recommendations from African youth that was channelled to African Ministers’ meetings.
Young people are highly affected by GBV – in their homes, in schools, in the streets, etc. GBV denies them opportunities and can take away their potential. And young people can be perpetrators too. It is difficult to eradicate GBV without actively including them. Youth can also have a strong impact within faith institutions that often participate in perpetration and continuation of GBV by keeping the silence. They are given space in faith youth groups; they are themselves strong believers and represent a high percentage of religious leaders audiences. As such, rather than remaining passive believers, they have the power to influence their religious communities and to get support from their religious leaders to eradicate GBV.
Solene Brabant, Regional GBV Advocacy Officer, Norwegian Church Aid