Namibia encourages young people not to despair

By Correspondent

Speaking during the belated Namibia’s 29th Independence Day celebration at Mavandje village in Ncuncuni Constituency over weekend, Kavango West Governor Sirkka Ausiku encouraged young people not despair because of high level of unemployment in the region. She further urged those in school to focus on achieving their education goals.

“Parents should encourage their children to finish school because education is the greatest equaliser in any society,” said Ausiku.

“My office have started engaging the youth leadership in the region to come up with ideas on how to address the unemployment. Together with the Regional Youth Forum, we want to identify youth leaders in all eight constituencies to be champions of developmental initiatives in their respective constituencies.”

According to New Era Live, the governor said that during the upcoming Nkurenkuru Expo in June this year, her office is planning to come together with the youths for two days to develop the Kavango West Regional Strategy on how to address youth unemployment in the region.

During the occasion, Ausiku also noted that since the creation of Kavango West Region and Ncuncuni Constituency in particular in 2013, a lot has been achieved. She said that at regional level, although the then Kavango Region had two towns Rundu and Nkurenkuru, all public and private services were set up in Rundu. Offices, ministries and agencies were operating from Rundu and the same can be said about financial institutions such as banks and other institutions.

However, since the creation of Kavango West, these services are now set up in Nkurenkuru which is the regional centre. “This brought development closer to our people. New jobs were also created and we are seeing positive impact on the livelihood of our people. According to the Namibia Labour Force Survey of 2018, the regional unemployment rate was at 36.4 percent in 2016 and 33 percent in 2018,” she said.

Although Ausiku is happy that the creation of her region is starting to show some positive developmental signs, she said the region still remains among the poorest in the country.

“The region remains concerned with the youth unemployment that according to the Namibia Labour Force Survey stands at 46 percent in 2018. Therefore, we must now put our heads together to come up with ideas on how to address this challenge facing us,” she noted.

Now to address the developmental aspect at the level of Ncuncuni Constituency, “We are witnessing developmental programs and projects taking place in our constituency since its creation. We can list many projects like the construction of Sikanduko road, the construction of Ncaute and Gcwatjinga Primary Health Centres, the expansion of classroom blocks at Mavandje Senior Primary School and Shinguruve Junior Primary School to mention but a few,” she said.

Source African Daily Voice

Rwandese Youths Urged to Embrace Unity

By Peter Nkurunziza

The youth were Tuesday called on to embrace unity as it is the only way the country will be able to move forward and fully recover from the effects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The call was made by the Rwandan Minister for Justice Johnston Busingye during a Genocide commemoration ceremony at Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre.

“Many of you were born shortly before and after the Genocide, this means that most of us are stepping out of Rwanda if it can be compared to an organisation, and you youth, are now the majority shareholders,” he stated.

“There is no way the country will be able to move forward if you are still divided along ethnic lines”.

The event, dubbed ‘Our Past’, is held annually by youth as a way to pay tribute to those that lost their lives in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. According to one of the representatives of the organising body, Sick City, Christian Intwari, the event has registered significant growth since its inception in 2012.

“The numbers have greatly increased given the fact that we barely had above 400 youths in 2012 but participants keep growing, this year we had over 2,100 participants from within and outside Rwanda,” he told The New Times shortly after the event.

Christian Intwari further noted that some of their achievements over the past couple of years, include renovating five houses of Genocide survivors, and now they are embarking on a project of extending piped water to the houses.

One of the Genocide survivors, Hyppolite Ntigurirwa, narrated how he witnessed his father being killed, aunties getting raped, and other inhumane acts. He is currently moving around the country sharing his testimony.

A play showing how the Genocide was carried out, and the role played by the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) to bring an end to the Genocide was performed. Shortly after, young trees, of the same species, were brought before the stage to represent the new Rwanda after the Genocide.

Source The New Times

Youth Groups in Togo Asked to Appreciate Peace

“Association de Jeunes Ressortissants Togolais Residant au Ghana” (AJRTR), a Togolese youth group, has called for the sustenance of peace and tranquility in Togo.

It said the goals of Togo could not be met in the atmosphere of rancour and division and dammed the political crises that hit the country since August 2017, lasting for months.

Mr. Dansu Komlavi, AJRTR President, said this at a press briefing at Aflao in Ghana, where the AJRTR is based, with about 200 of its members, mainly youths and a number of Togolese media attending.

The press briefing was to awaken Togolese, in and outside Togo, the governing party and opposition forces, to engage in dialogue for peace and development.

It was also to serve as a wake-up call to the youth to desist from being used for violent conflicts, to know they required peace to develop as future leaders.
Demands by Togo’s oppositions groups that the country’s current constitution be set aside to stop the president from seeking re-election into office ad infinitum, for a two-term system, resulted in a deadly crisis until the ECOWAS-negotiated truce.

The group asked all to trek the ECOWAS-negotiated settlement that brought about relative peace, leading to the holding of parliamentary elections in December last year, but which the 14-member opposition group boycotted.

The Group also urges the government to adhere to its promise of having the constitution reviewed for two-terms for a president, protect the human rights and wellbeing of all citizens.

It also urged it not to renege on the responsibility of using the country’s resource for needed developmental projects under the national development programme.

“Despite our differences we are one people united by one nation and can come together through dialogue, not by conflict”, the Group said.

The AJRTR urged all, including the government and the opposition to pursue and deepen the path of democracy in Togo to accelerate development and unity.

It commended the government of Ghana and other West African Heads of State and the ECOWAS Commission for guiding the country back on the path of peace and tranquillity during the months-long crisis.

The group also asked the Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbe Esdorzima and his government to have a strong heart to lead the country out of the crisis.

Mr. Dansu was supported by other executives of the group including Mr. Yao Gator, the Youth Wing Leader.

Source GNA

Five ways to support youth inclusion in peacebuilding

Young people who have experienced conflict firsthand have a vital role to play in peacebuilding. They have a clear vision of what peace could look like in their countries and communities, and have the drive to work towards the realisation of these goals.

However, in many cases they are seen not as positive forces for peace, but rather as threats to it. Recent research conducted by Conciliation Resources with youth from five different conflict regions identified the five key changes which need to be made to ensure young people are able to participate in creating more peaceful societies.
Older people often remember the old days, and young people would prefer to think more about the present and look to the future. The older generation finds it hard to forget old wounds and grievances, and young people can start from a clean sheet.

Georgian youth

Even against tremendous challenges, youth are actively engaging in their communities, and are making positive contributions to peace. Unfortunately, they are facing numerous barriers to participating in formal and informal peace processes. This includes a lack of trust in governments and political institutions; voicelessness based on identities including age, as well as threats of violence and radicalisation. Women and girls face additional challenges when it comes to exclusion from public spaces.
Because youth are both actors and victims in South Sudan conflicts they are the only capable force to implement the peace agreements.

Young person in rural South Sudan

It is clear that not harnessing the power of youth is detrimental to peacebuilding efforts. The challenges they are facing need to be addressed, and young people should be involved in the design of any responses to conflict.

Youth, peace and security
In December 2015, the United Nations Security Council adopted UNSCR 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security. The resolution was the first to recognise the important role young people can play in preventing conflicts, and sustaining peace.

Conciliation Resources was invited by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to contribute to the Progress Report on UNSCR 2250. Between July and September 2017, Conciliation Resources conducted participatory research with 494 young people living in Afghanistan, Jammu and Kashmir, South Sudan, the Georgian- Abkhaz context, and among youth of the Ogaden diaspora living in the United Kingdom.

Five key findings emerged on how young people can play a greater role in peacebuilding:

1. Support youth visions of peace
Even when they have not known life without conflict, young people have clear visions of what peace should be, and have a strong desire for a future without violence. Peace processes need to ensure meaningful inclusion of these views in their design and implementation.

For me when there is no firing and shelling, it is peace. When children do not become victims of mine blasts in my village, it is peace. When I see my mother going to the fields to collect wood and graze animals, it is peace. When I see children playing in the common fields or grounds then I consider it peace.

Young person in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

2. Create space for youth to engage in political processes
Many youth feel excluded from political processes, and from making meaningful contributions. It is crucial that governments make sustained commitments to rebuild the young people’s trust and confidence in governments. There are also additional challenges facing women and girls in gaining access to public spaces which need to be addressed.

We have few opportunities to act politically outside the house, let alone take part in the peace process on either a local or national level.

Young Afghan woman

3. Facilitate and support dignified livelihoods
Greater economic opportunities for youth are necessary to motivate young people to pursue peaceful and productive paths in their lives. Youth are keen to increase their opportunities to learn skills and develop entrepreneurial capacities but these need to be made available to them.
The main concern of both young and older generations is to ensure daily well-being, that is, to find a job, get an education. Only after these problems are resolved will it be possible to increase the youth’s interest in resolving the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.

Georgian youth

4. Support education and capacity-building for peace
Access to education is fundamental for facilitating young people’s positive engagement in peace. Youth suggested specific and practical ways this could be realised, including reforms to civic education, and the introduction of peace education.

The only thing that can ensure us a better future is education… Without education, the country will not have a future.

Young Azeri woman living in Georgia

5. Facilitate inter-community dialogue and exchanges
Distrust, stereotypes, and prejudices can be tackled by initiatives, such as exchanges, which encourage continuous dialogue and engagement between youth from different communities. It is particularly important that young people who have been directly victimised by conflict are involved.
The problems of young people are due to the fact that, during their upbringing, we were in a state of blockade. Young people did not have the resources to receive any information from the outside. We stewed in our own juice. There was no way to learn from the experience of other countries.

Acticle by Abkhaz youth

How do I stay away from violence, hatred and all the bad things?

Featured photo credit: Getty Images

Azugbene Solomon

By knowing that all these are acts of low consciousness. They do not benefit anyone ever. The reason people indulge in them is to gratify their weak egos and have a momentary release.

Our subconscious mind is extremely powerful and can either enrich or destroy our lives. Indulging in anti social behaviour leaves negative imprints on it, therefore your whole psyche starts detiorating. You operate from a mode of ignorance which will ultimately catch up to you and make you pay.

No one has got away with such behaviours and never will. Even if they escaped the law, they cannot escape their own guilt (which is even more traumatizing) that happens to catch up to them years later.

Stay in the company of good and compassionate people. Obey your intuition and consciousness. Don’t seek cheap thrills and don’t act on momentary impulses. Keep the larger picture in mind, always.

There are no way you can avoid all bad things in life. Bad things are a part of life. Millions of bad things happens every day without us knowing. They may have a direct or indirect affect on you.

Its unfortunate to see hatred, evil and all things bad. Life has a strange way showing us there can be good from bad things. Though we may not see it at that time.

Only advise I can give is to do your best to be a better person. Your actions have consequences whether good or bad, you must keep that in mind.

Life is intertwined, there are ripple effects some may be on a small scale. You have a choice to make a difference in life. Therefore make it a good one, because what you do will affect life whether you realize it or not.

Acticle by Pranoy Mukherjee & Souriya B. Vongchanh

The Importance of Peace And Harmony to Mankind

AAYP Peace Movement

By Azugbene Solomon

Peace is important in our life to have a true happiness and it can be achieve by being true to yourself as well.

There are many ways to achieve peace but it started in oneself and that is by being true to yourself.

It is the most vital way to achieve peace. The way we feel and think of yourself is important, but you should determine which is positive and negative.

The wave of globalization has been connecting all the countries of the world into a community to an unprecedented extent, which implies that a mankind society in its true sense is taking shape. In the meantime, the significance of peace and harmony is being recognized by more and more far-sighted people for the following reasons:

Peace and harmony is a basic prerequisite. Peace and harmony can bring a peaceful and stable order to society, and they are a necessary condition for the survival and development of mankind. A world deprived of peace and harmony certainly will fall apart and return to the jungle era in which the strong prey on the weak.

Peace and harmony is an essential benefit. Peace and harmony are enjoyed and possessed jointly by mankind, which is a base for the full realization of the creativity potential of individuals, the sustainable development of the economy and culture of nations, and a true security for the long lasting prosperity of mankind society.

Peace and harmony is an ideal path. Peace and harmony mean dealing with disputes and resolving conflicts fairly and properly with neutralization and Middle Way principles to further the welfare of each individual as well as the wellbeing of mankind as a whole.

Peace and harmony is long lasting value. Ever since the emergence of mankind, numerous cultures have been produced, among which most vanished as soon as they appeared and were forgotten in history for being partial to certain aspect or limited to certain period. Among those thoughts which have been handed down to the present and continuing to have important influence, peace and harmony occupy the most dominating position.
Peace and harmony is high wisdom. It is the height of wisdom that determines the breadth of vision, the depth of exploration, the extent of progress and the limit of transcendence. None of the current major religions and major cultural traditions of the world does not love peace or pursue harmony. History shows that all the thoughts that are against peace and harmony are against the will of the people and shall perish by themselves.

The content of peace and harmony

Peace and harmony of the mankind society should be integral and compressive. They consist of the following six areas:

I. An international political order that embodies equality and mutual trust, maintaining security and justice jointly by political cooperation;

II. A world economy system that fully embodies balance and mutual benefit, eliminating discrepancy between rich and poor as well as regional imbalance;

III. A global cultural atmosphere that fully embodies diversity and integration, conducting dialogues and exchanges to consolidate and enhance friendship and dissolve historical prejudice;

IV. A natural and ecological ethics that fully embodies coexistence and common prosperity, actively fulfilling the responsibility of improvement and resolving environmental crisis by ecological protection;

V. Scientific and technological improvement that fully embodies human nature and humanity, prompting scientific and technological fruits to ultimately benefit the long-term welfare of mankind;

VI. Spiritual and mental state that fully embodies health and morality, helping each individual obtain physical and mental serenity, harmony and happiness through traditional wisdom.

Among the areas mentioned above, cultural peace and harmony occupy a fundamental position. All in all, culture is a value system and the collection of its correspondent codes of conduct. There is no normal activity of a human society that is not the actual manifestation of its value. A culture with peace and harmony as its mainstream value will certainly implement peace and harmony in all the areas of social life. Historical experience has shown that a society can obtain continuous and steady development only when it truly loves peace and place importance upon harmony.

1. China committee on religion and peace: Peace and Harmony as the Choice for Mankind
——The significance of peace and harmony

2. Peace: What is the importance of peace in our life? Why and how do you achieve it?

How a group of youth are using art to promote peace in Rwanda

By Sharon Kantengwa

Imfura Arts for Peace is an arts organisation that started in 2018, for aspiring peace and social responsibility in community for the youth.

It was founded by a group of youths, led by 21-year-old poet and author, Fred Mfuranzima, while in high school. It has since grown to include other youths from different backgrounds.

At school many knew me as an author and poet and so many young people came to me and requested to help them develop their talents. I decided to bring them together and we discussed how we can work together.

This is how we started a group, affiliated to Never Again, Rwanda that helped us to understand the critical thinking skills and to create a space where we can meet and discuss about our community issues that matter to us.

“I decided to create a group that can perform different kinds of art and in the process inspire others that have hardships in creating their art. The group has been on the rise for being responsible leaders and active citizens, which is needed for our post- Genocide society. Youth born in different family backgrounds can work together to develop and nurture their talents for change,” he says.

The over 80 youths, including scholars that are part of the organisation, are involved in kinds of art including poetry, book writing, others photography, paintings, fashion.

Aamani Mugiraneza, a member of Imfura Art for Peace, believes that working together as a group enables them to support each other with their talents as they all get to share their own skills before Allen Umulisa chips in;

“In our Rwandan society families think of art as a waste of time. But when you work together as a group, it shows them that you are doing something of benefit to the society.”

Claire Uwihozo, another member that shares her fashion design skills, says they chose art as a way to attract the youth because they like entertainment which they use to learn about peace.

“We are trying to give the youth a platform to express their ideas and say something that would change our country and sometimes it’s hard to air your voice alone but as a group when you bring your ideas in a creative way, it feels less intimidating and you get to have a bigger audience,” adds Clemence Umutoni.

Today, February 16, they will be presenting their projects for 2019, titled “ Arts and the path to resilience: dealing with trans-generations trauma and repository of our society’s memories” at the Innovation Village in Kacyiru.

“We will use our different projects of fashion, poetry, music, literature, painting and visual arts which will work on tracking our society’s history and inspire the youth who have faced trauma. We are going to put them in the books, recorded poems, paintings, photography and make some exhibitions and events where those artists will get time to perform and tell their own stories. We will also create a space where the youths will come to understand our history to be able to tell the stories in the future,”

“We want to spread our messages of peace as a way of building our country and also ourselves. When you have a message through art, when you pass it on, it reaches many people, Peline Mudahungwa, another member, adds.

Source The New Times

Kenya: NGO to engage youth in fight against terror


A programme aimed at engaging the youth and counter violence extremism has been launched.

The programme, titled Amka, will cover 10 coastal and northeastern counties.

Nairobi-based Youth, Arts, Development and Entrepreneurship Network (YADEN) is the brains behind Amka.

Its director, Sammy Gathii, said youths are the most vulnerable group and are often ignored by both the county and national governments in major decision making.

“This is a very dangerous way of addressing violence extremism. If we fail to engage the youth then the whole purpose of fighting terrorism could be lost,” Gathii said.

Amka is aimed at engaging the youth to rise and take up the responsibility of countering terror. It also aims at creating partnership between national, county and community youth projects.

The objective is to bring on board youth at the grassroots in preventing terrorism information and knowledge, package it into viable resource and link to inform higher level of state and non-state interventions.

The director said idle youth can easily be lured to criminal activities including terrorism.

“Youth are the majority in this country and have different talents that can be exploited for their benefit but if they are left on their own they can be a security threat. We are, therefore, launching this programme so they are engaged in meaningful life-changing programmes.”

He added, “We also want to ensure that the gap between the youth and government, both at county and national level, is bridged. Youth should be told the opportunities that are available for them so that they exploit them.”

The launch was attended by senior officials from county and national government who promised to support the initiative.

The counties to be covered are Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Taita Taveta, Lamu, Nairobi and Mombasa.

Garissa deputy county secretary Abdirashid Mohamed said the county will partner with the national government and start mapping areas where youth have crossed the border to ensure they are monitored closely.

“We are welcoming all partners involved in the fight against terror in Garissa because we are among the counties that have borne the brunt of terror attacks perpetuated by al Shabaab,” he said.

Ijara, Hulugho, Dadaab and Fafi subcounties are the most affected, the deputy secretary said.

The county will soon commission a team to ascertain the number of youths missing as well as engage religious leaders and community elders to ensure every household accounts for people who have left their homes.

“This mapping exercise will help us to know if our missing youth are with bad elements. It is at this point that we will chart the way forward,” he said.

Source The Star