Dialogue Among Peace Messengers: Peace Entrepreneurship-Part 3
By Gwendolyn S. Myers/Founder &Executive Director,
Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP)
The strong desires in the heart of every young person are employment, job security and peace. Over the past month, we have dialogued on peace entrepreneurship and what it entails. This week, the focus would be what it does not entail and what plans are in the soft/hard pipelines for young Liberians.
Our research officer has anecdotal reports on youth engagement in gambling, drugs and other nefarious activities to make ends meet. These negative practices to make money are not only counterproductive but are sure triggers for violence and violent extremism.
Based on lessons learned and existing best practices on strategies for peace entrepreneurship, we need to ensure that young people are exposed fairly and in a transparent manner to technical and vocational opportunities that are designed to empower them to become active contributors to the development of their societies.
Functional education should equip young people with relevant engineering and digital skills, national investment in human security should be increased to foster the job creation needed to integrate young people in the labor market. This is the time to abhor nepotism, tribalism and favoritism. Young people need encouragement not division.
We reiterate that high youth unemployment would not only create a generational shut down but would create an appetite for violence. All political parties and all political players should have an agenda for youth. The mobilization of young people or youth based electoral malpractices and violence is not peace entrepreneurship. This is anti-peace and anti-development. It is also against the principles and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 14 and 17.
We need decent jobs and food security for young people to become active in work and in their daily life. For peace entrepreneurship to thrive we need more young people to get involved in public service activities to include volunteering for beach/shore cleaning, waste recycling and community based enriching activities.
Your ongoing support in the months will be crucial as we continue our advocacy efforts to galvanize youth action at local level for non-violence before, during and after the 2017 presidential and general elections. Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia would brand all its programs and social media for the elections.
Our programs, besides promoting peace entrepreneurship, would support pre-elections outreach activities within and out of school youths; raise awareness through “The Wheel for Peace Program” about the importance of youth skills building programs, capacity building in mediation and conflict resolution, youth empowerment and research on the meaningful involvement and active engagement of young people in electoral processes.
Until next week when we hope to launch our campaign on ‘Vote Peace’ in preparation for youth involvement in the 2017 elections, let us take this opportunity to congratulate the new appointee Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka as UN Envoy on Youth. We wish Jayathama a successful tenure in her new assignment. Liberian youth are poised to support this young woman as she strives to improve the lives of young people around the world.
For now, It is peace above all else, peace first, may peace prevail in our time.