By Gerald Barekye
In Uganda about 77% of the population are youth and this makes it the country with the highest percentage of young people in the world an implication that greater attention needs to be paid to the requirements, fears, and challenges of youth.
The inclusion of youth in peacebuilding is critical for ensuring sustainable and inclusive peace as recognized by the UN resolution security council on youth peace and security.
Youth play a big role in peacebuilding that includes strengthening community cohesion and reconciliation, civic awareness for peaceful social relations and development programs in communities, trust-building across different cultures, community entrepreneurship, and livelihood training.
The youth have been at the forefront in peacebuilding processes but their contribution has been ignored and not appreciated because they are seen as potentially dangerous subjects and the policy approach regards them as a “problem” especially male group of youth between 18-30 have been observed as the main political violent group, vulnerable, powerless and feared as threats to the security.
From experience, when I joined working as a youth peacebuilder many people called me an enemy who was trying to destabilize peace since I was not security personnel and had no money, the community felt that was very young to build initiatives that could create sustainable impact and most thought I had no agenda to drive peace.
This didn't stop me from proceeding with my work as a peacebuilder and I have managed to form a community-based organization called peacebuilders coalition and youth development and advocacy in Ntungamo district, using these organizations I have managed to recruit and train more youth peace ambassadors and this has changed and contributed to the sustainable peace in the district and country at large.
Therefore youth must be involved in decision making at all levels because, we can make good decisions and good actions to achieve the objective of the African Union agenda 2063 and objectives of UN youth strategy 2030 because, we a source of peace, we want our voices to be heard, we no longer want to be represented by our peers in conferences, international meetings, and forums for discussion and dialogue, we want to act ourselves.
Gerald Barekye, National coordinator young peace Builders Uganda
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