Youth, Conflict Prevention and Development

Course Description:

Resource Person:HELEN NAMBALIRWA NKABALA & DR. BERNARD LUWEREKERA

Young people with limited education and few employment opportunities often provide fertile recruiting ground for parties to a conflict, their lack of hope for the future can feel disaffection with society and make them susceptible to the blandishments of those who advocate armed conflict. Addressing the needs and aspirations of adolescence is therefore an important aspect of long term prevention strategy. This module is designed to cover definition of youth with variations from country to country; conflict and its variance from violence; global trends and continent specific population figures with specific emphasis on youth, and rise in the number of conflict in the world will be highlighted. Most of the debates on youth and conflict are often one dimensional in that they largely focus and place emphasis on youth as major actors/players in perpetuating conflicts/violence (combatants).

Aim:  To enable learners to appreciate the ways in which youth (constitute the majority of the population in many countries on the African continent and beyond) are major actors/players not only as active combatants but also as key actors in the prevention of conflicts and participants in development in the post-conflict phases, an issue that is often ignored in most of the youth and conflict debates and discourses. Emphasis will thus be placed on the fact that youth should claim their space and must be in the spaces where peacemaking processes are discussed.

Objective: Enable learners to appreciate that while youth are often seen as perpetrators of conflict and violence, because they often constitute the majority of the fighting forces, they are also instrumental in peace prevention, mediation processes that are aimed at bringing peace and development.

Scope: Definition of youth with variations from country to country; conflict and its variance from violence; global trends and continent specific population figures with specific emphasis on youth, and rise in the number of conflict in the world will be highlighted. Most of the debates on youth and conflict are often one dimensional in that they largely focus and place emphasis on youth as major actors/players in perpetuating conflicts/violence (combatants). Here we will examine the reasons why youth engage in violence compared to any other age-group and focus will be poverty and inequality; socio-economic and political exclusion and unemployment in the midst of huge youth bulge. Moreover, focus will be placed on the issues that are often taken for granted and ignored. That is, youth as actors in conflict prevention, peace building and consolidation of development in post-conflict settings.

References and Readings

Argenti N (2002). “Youth in Africa: A major Resource for Change “in De Waal (Argenti) (eds) Young in Africa: Realising the Rights of children and Youth, Africa World press.

-Bessant J (2004). “Mixed Messages: Youth Partiipaton and Democratic Practice”, Australian Journal Of Political Science, 39.2.

-Bureau For Crisis Prevention and Recovery (2005). Youth And Violent Conflict: Society And Development In Crisis?.

-Victor E Dike and Ngozi I Dike (2017). Youth Development and Conflict Resolution In Nigeria: Assessment and Intervention Strategies, Asian Journal of Education and Training.

-US Agency for International Development (2005). Youth and Conflict: A Toolkit for Intervention, Office of Conflict Management and Migration, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.

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