“I would like to leave Youth In Action better than I came, I believe the Youth In Action team of 2021 can make the world a better place, I hope to contribute to world by creating positive interactions, I stand for peace”. These were some of the inspiring sentiments from the newly inaugurated cohort in the Youth In Action.
Youth in Action is a network of peace builders, comprising of youth and young influencers. It is anchored on the Regional Peace Programme which brings together 12 countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) from East and Great Lakes region of Africa. This new cohort included 27 young leaders from diverse cultural, religious and professional backgrounds but united towards a similar cause – peacebuilding. In line wirth the forum’s theme; Mobilizing Faith Communities Towards Social Cohesion, Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and Preventing, Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE).
While welcoming the new cohort to the network, the Director, Arigatou International – End Child Poverty lauded them as a great group of people that would change the region. “I believe you will have a clear vision for yourself, your country and your community,” he said. He also challenged the them to be innovative and present themselves as assets to their communities, as opposed to liabilities.
Aimed at getting the new cohort understand the significance of FoRB towards peace building, the youth were taken through an ‘Understanding of social cohesion within the lens of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB). Furthermore, with youth having been extensively indicted in violent extremist actions in the region, the inauguration forum further sought to paint a picture of violent extremism with a view of rallying efforts in promoting peace.
“The youth are assets and drivers in maintaining and promoting peace.” – Mohammed from Tanzania expressed confidence in the power of youth.
On the other hand, Yeabsra from Ethiopia was concerned that, “Violent extremists target vulnerable groups especially young people.”