Equipping Young Changemakers with Peace & Security Skills at Young Humanitarians Training

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14 September, Nairobi. – The training for Young Humanitarians and Peace Builders was delivered at the WUF Youth Zone, and was moderated by Esther Muiruri from Kenya Red Cross and a member of the Local 2030 Coalition Steering Committee and Joao Scarpelini, UNFPA In attendance were participants of WUF 11 from various countries of the world, particularly Polish Youth Jacob and Francizek, aged 14 and 15 who were the youngest participants From the onset, the introductions provided a platform for participants to acknowledge the different intersectional diversities that they occupy. The training had global participation which enhanced solidarity in the range of humanitarian challenges faced, action participants had been involved in and what they intend to do in the future.

Emmanuel Jal, former child soldier and singer, in his testimonial gave heartfelt stories of resilience, action and passion that he, as a youthful person living in a conflict zone, faced and how he mastered his way to success. He talked on how from an early age, songs for him were a constant feature, both in times of war and peace and how he came to a revelation on the power it holds in building peace and restoring hope to those affected by conflict and forms of violence. He further intimated on living at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, where he faced constant challenges to his survival that drove him to form an organization that would assist fleeing populations, and a library to enhance education opportunities to refugees.

Training participants were thereafter led through key guiding frameworks for young people working in conflict, post conflict and fragile settings and humanitarian contexts. A follow-up discussion on Young Humanitarians and Peacebuilders in Action was then held. Panelists in the session were Nyombi Morris, Youth Activist and CEO of Earth Volunteers from Uganda, Theodora Siatubotu, Powering Young initiatives in Zambia, Michel Zuluaga, Gender Advisor for Vivo Mi Calle from Colombia and Dr. Cherie Enn, Associate Professor, University of Fraser Valley in Canada. Major global and regional crisis including climate crisis within the Horn of Africa region and Africa at a large, associated impacts including mental health issues, intensified droughts, floods, epidemics, negative coping mechanisms, gender sensitive impacts and heatwaves remained a top priory and a concern for young people within the regions.

Ongoing migration and displacement crisis across the globe and in particular the Ukraine crisis and insecurity within parts of the African region and other regions of the world called for more strengthening of the youth capacity to better mitigate anticipated impacts and respond to the emerging needs. Identification of social economic and political challenges that threaten peace and security of young people called for more knowledge and research informed development. In this regard, it was noted that there is need to enhance the knowledge and research capacity of young people to develop evidence based approaches and interventions.

Reflecting on experience of youth and ideas to strengthen young people’s engagement and collaboration, participants noted the importance of knowledge and networking in enhancing the impact of their work from Nairobi- Kenya, to Cali- Colombia. As such, participants agreed to continued engagement in fostering long term collaborative avenues. Forums such as the World Urban Forum were noted to enhance the visibility of their work and thus an avenue to strengthen youth meaningful engagement within sustainable development, making their participation crucial.

The Sustainable Development Goals on Gender Equality, sustainable cities and communities and Climate Action were posed as the most pressing for the youth in the session. However, the participants noted that for the achievement of the prioritized goals, there is a need for proper implementation of the rest of the goals therefore calling on stakeholders to strengthen partnership with young people and to enhance institutional capacity for youth engagement using existing guiding tools particularly the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action and the Youth Peace and Security.  This will bridge the identified gaps in local institutions within governments and non-governmental actors on meaningful youth engagement, access and collaboration. This training was found to be useful particularly in developing knowledge and capacity of young people to engage local actors and authorities in the localization of the SDGs. To continue enhancing this capacity, knowledge management and reaching more young people, there was a recognition of the need to establish long term capacity, knowledge development and management on intersectionality of SDGs, humanitarian action and youth, peace and security including through an established young humanitarian academy.

During the closing remarks, Douglas Ragan from the UN-Habitat’s Human Rights and Social Inclusion Unit, Youth Programme noted that the Global Declaraction presented at WUF11 would highlight challenges faced by youth and commit leaders to taking action including areas on youth, peace and security and humanitarian action. He further lauded the participants for the work that they do in localizing the Sustainable Development Goals and their passion in climate and humanitarian action.


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