Beyond Dividing Lines
The reality of youth-led peacebuilding in Afghanistan, Colombia, Libya and Sierra Leone
This report presents the findings of research carried out in Afghanistan, Colombia, Libya and Sierra Leone between January and October 2018 by the United Network of Young Peacebuilders. Its main aim is to contribute to an increasingly evidence-based approach to policies and programming related to peace and security by deepening the existing knowledge base on the positive roles of youth-led engagement related to peacebuilding. In doing so, the project aims to both support advocacy for youth-inclusive peacebuilding and enhance locally-driven youth-led research outputs and capacities. The primary, secondary, and tertiary objectives of the project were:
- Document and examine young people's roles in civic engagement related to peacebuilding, factors which enable and constrain such participation, the perceived impacts of such engagement as seen and identified by the youth leaders and the contextual factors which make these activities successful.
- Identifying implications from the evidence collected to inform policies and programming at national and international levels.
- Build up the capacities of young peacebuilders themselves in collecting evidence about their own work. To achieve these objectives, the research primarily documented and examined young people's roles in civic engagement related to peacebuilding, analyzed factors that enable and constrain such participation as well as the perceived impacts of such engagement, guided by specific research questions
Findings lead to policy and practice implications in three main areas:
- The strengthening and development of meaningful youth participation at political decision-making at community, local, regional and global levels, where youth take the lead, are listened to and recognized, avoiding tokenism and manipulation.
- Sustaining, enhancing and developing educational opportunities, especially civic competences and peacebuilding skills.
- Ensuring youth-friendly, pluralistic and safe spaces for youth to engage at school/university, community, local, national, regional and global levels, for example, through youth associations and networks, consultative and decision-making spaces in public institutions.