MESSENGERS OF PEACE

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The peace dialogue goes on. We mentioned at both local and international fora that young people are not given equal participation in the work for peace and that adolescents in peacebuilding initiatives are still perceived as indirect beneficiaries/recipients of donor assistance rather than contributors to peacebuilding and peace consolidation initiatives.

A very young peace volunteer mentioned that the obstacles to the engagement of adolescents in peace building programs is the lack of cohesion among young people and equally among international organizations, others followed that it has to do with poor or no program planning and lack of systemic organizational support for adolescents who are involved in peacebuilding initiatives.

It is our strong opinion that one year into the adoption of UNSCR# 2250, we should not be dialoguing on challenges but see the adoption of the resolution as a watershed for reflection and a springboard for action. This opportunity comes only once in a lifetime and we should make optimal use of it.

The engagement of adolescents for peace with international organizations should not be based on protocols but partnership.

Young people should demand more from international organizations and particularly from the UN, given their mandate to ensure world peace. It is encumbered on all international organizations to provide pool fund for youth led organizations working for global peace – the current strategies of using proxy organizations to support youth groups is not working. For collaboration to be functional, we need to work together continuously. The same yardstick for other organizations cannot and should not be used for youth led or youth based organizations.

The role of international organizations in improving technology for peace, building capacity of adolescents and providing rapid funds for quick impact projects cannot be overemphasized. Activities for engaging young people in peace and security efforts should focus on the creation of investment in human capital, including providing adolescents friendly environments for peace dialogue and networking and deepening of programmatic emphasis for the involvement and engagement of adolescents in peace and security. These activities and strategies are essential, and without them the process of sustainable peace cannot be guaranteed.

There is an urgent need to provide broad coverage for programs and projects that adolescents implement. Programs of peace advocacy, education, awareness and the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment should be supported to further peace and security objectives in countries.

Furthermore, international organizations should act as think tanks in support to and act as resource linkage for adolescents in peace programs by supporting proposals and grant writing workshops and seminars to facilitate adolescents in their efforts to promote peace and non-violence. Adolescents should be equipped with the proper tools as they serve as a primary engine in attaining SDG 16 on peace and security.

We urge for the building of communication lines with adolescents and young people involved in peacebuilding/consolidation initiatives. Peace projects and programs should be sustainable and not merely pursued as events or one time “show case” activities.

We appeal to all international organizations to emulate efforts of other bi-lateral organizations like the Swedish and American embassies to integrate adolescents for peace programs into their countries’ programs of cooperation

Until next week, when we come to you with part 4 of adolescents and peace and youth for youth peacebuilding initiatives, it is peace above all else, peace first, may peace prevail in our time.

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