More than 70% of the Somali population is youth as declared different research institutions at different times and published different places, which means they deserve to lead each sector of the society politically, socially and economically. So, young peace builders are highly effective at making an impact at the grassroots level. Yet, whilst there are so many youth-led initiatives operating around the world to bring about sustainable peace, there is a lack of support from above (Governments).
According to the Somali youth , if we go back to SYL history, they were 13 youth who reached us the independence that we are having today peacefully from the Italian colony , so we can’t shutdown the eyes the crucial role of the youth towards peace-building.
Globally Youth comprise of over one billion people, 600 million of whom live in violence- and conflict-affected areas. Despite the vulnerability of youth, current youth-led peace building work and their potential, there is no international framework that brings these areas together to have the strongest possible impact. One important role which the youth can play in peace and conflict resolution is for them “Be the change” they should learn to combine their enthusiasm with patience, realizing the importance of living together and should be responsible to defend the frontiers of peace and non-violence. Unfortunately, the old generations always downgrade the youth and they say (YOU ARE FUTURE LEADERS) which means currently the youth can do nothing , but really is vice verse , the youth can do better currently for peace-building, conflict resolution and security as well.
Meanwhile, according to the security issue, when the youth are busy doing their daily business and are considered as part of the solution, they contribute positively the security. Beyond this, youth play a role as positive agents of change, building sustainable peace in their societies. To utilize the tremendous potential of youth in creating and maintaining peaceful environments, they must be engaged with and provided opportunities to be involved in decision-making at all levels, in mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflict, and in peace negotiations.
On the other hand, there are so many ways that the youth successfully engage in peace-building process:-
- Create spaces for youths to express their opinion and listen to them: Rather than simply acknowledging them as victims or perpetrators of violence, it’s vital to engage youths as social actors with their own views and contributions. Today, more than 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by fragility and conflict a majority of which is under the age of 30, these numbers alone justify the inclusion and consideration of youth in policy-making and planning. But in practice, the meaningful participation of young people in peace building has been hindered by discourses that overwhelming depicts youth as victims or villains.
- Build trust between Youth and Governments: Youth mobilization in peace-building efforts is more likely to be successful if young people are given the capabilities and opportunities to work with local and national governments, also to give the youth the lead when it comes to peace-building and conflict resolution efforts as longest their mind is fresh and they don’t believe the tribalism as old generations do.
- Support youth who are positively contributing to their communities: In general young people feel marginalized and their voices are not heard or trusted as credible, but when they commit violence, the international community rushes in “prelis noted”. So, we have to be more conscious, cautious and thoughtful in our approach to youth engagement and avoid sending the message that we only care about you when you cause harm.
- Promote intergenerational exchange:” Rather than working with youth in isolation (separately), peace-building projects seeking the engagement of youth should also include parents and elders: young people alone by no means have the answers to the challenges the world and communities around the world are facing, neither do older generations. By bringing together the vision of young people today and the experience of older generations, new answers to challenges are created”. (Matilda Flemming, Leading Coordinator at the United Network of Young Peace-builders).
Challenges facing the youth in Somalia
- Widespread unemployment which undermined the hope and the morality of the youth towards living their country, serving as peace-builders and participating the stability and security of the country.
- Outside education privilege: This means the youth who are educated in the local with complex and hardship situations starting from the civil war 1991, the warlords era, the Islamic court, up to date and presented resilience and commitment, are not given priority when it comes to the job opportunities both Public and Private sectors, alternatively, those are educated outside the country are more preferred as longest they have outside certificates which led the local youth to go outside the countries and look for better live.
- The youth are always at risk for sack of their age, because every conflicting parties have a bad perception towards the youth and they believe that they affiliate one part every time which leads utmost a regular suspicious against the youth. For example if you are a young person and you are going to cross an area where there is a security blockage or even if you want to visit a government office, when the security guys see you , they automatically get attention a , and they check you more than enough and sometimes unethical manner as longest you are youth.
- There is no so far any clear policy towards the youth that will assist to guide them in order to overcome the issues which initiate immigration, violence, youth exploitation.
- Organizing and uniting all the youth in Somalia and establishing a youth umbrella or youth forum in order to discuss and exchange their ideas specifically the issues related peace-building, development and patriotism.
- To provide them a real representation for political arena, specially the three branches of the government, federal parliament, executive and judiciary.
- Youth inclusion in all decision making process so as to heard their voice and express their opinion freely and contribute the future of their country.
- To eliminate youth unemployment, economic disenfranchisement and create developmental projects (micro-finance) such as (BARAARUG YOUTH GRANT PROJECT) which was about giving the young people both male and female a small grant to establish a small business which funded by USAID and implemented by CRD in 2012 in order to handle at least the widespread unemployment rate across the country.
- To increase recreational places such as (PEACE GARDEN) in order to relax and entertain the youth for their leisure time.
Anwar Abdifatah Bashir (Freelance Journalist and Researcher)
Office Network Allbanaadir.com