A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa
Another of JEPC’s aims is to enhance adult leaders’ appreciation and understanding of issues affecting youth, including their right to participate in decision-making that affects their lives. Working with girls aged 15 to 25, the project in Burundi is providing economic, psycho-social and legal support to survivors of sexual violence in the war-affected regions of Bujumbura and Kayanza. The Burundi project also works to reduce stigma and increase support for the young women by working with government and local community leaders to support the rights of these girls and to advocate for an end to impunity for rape and other forms of sexual violence. The Northern Uganda project, known as the Mother-Daughter Project (MDP), is working to develop the capacities of war-affected young mothers living in villages and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Gulu district. Through training, public education initiatives, psycho-social counseling, and income generating activities, the Uganda project is working to improve the social and economic well-being of child-mothers. The ‘Restoring Peace Project’ includes an inter-country component which provides opportunities for cross-learning and a more in-depth understanding among the three country projects.
Key elements in this research are the effects of conflict on youth, and the role of youth in peace-building. ACORD International, as manager of the inter-country project, collaborates with DCI in the joint management of the country projects, while DCI takes on overall responsibility for the project.
A lost generation: listening to the voices of young people affected by violent conflict in Africa
The ‘Voices of Youth’ research project carried out as part of ‘Restoring Peace Project’ aimed to provide a channel through which the Voices of Youth could be heard, both within their own countries and further afield. This is to contribute to improved policy and practice, both locally, nationally and internationally. There is little documentation available at present relating to the experiences of young people in situations of armed and violent conflict in Africa. Moreover, most of the existing documentation is written about young people, rather than by them. The purpose of the ‘Voices of Youth’ research project is to contribute towards filling this gap and to generate information for advocacy.
The need for advocacy arises from the recognition that young people are affected by conflict as victims and perpetrators. The issues affecting young people are well beyond local dynamics and are linked to policies and practices at national and international levels. The case studies in section one of this book reveals that the dynamics creating stigma and discrimination, exclusion, the human rights abuse at the local level for young boys and girls, both as actors and victims of the conflicts,