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Interfaith Youth Capacity-strengthening Workshop on Social Cohesion and Peacebuilding

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Sixty-six percent of Burundi population are young people under the age of 25. These young men strive to earn a living. Due to the economic constraints and limited opportunities, there is a high movement of young people transiting to the Arabic countries on the search for job opportunities. Lack of opportunities for young people is seen as a threat to the security of the country. The high rate of youth unemployment and concerns over their material wellbeing, become an entry point to manipulation by political actors. In addition, young people are underrepresented in the decision-making posts and yet research shows that young people who are supported to participate in decision-making are more likely to have increased confidence and self-belief, exercise positive career choices and have greater involvement and responsibility in the future. The participation of young people in decision-making processes – be they political, civic, civil society or other – fosters their active citizenship, enhances their inclusion, and strengthens their contribution to the advancement of democracy. It is essential, therefore, to foster this participation.

As current and future leaders, young people have the potential to transform their countries into just, peaceful and prosperous societies that they desire to have as their home and heritage for their future generations. If the young people are supported and accompanied to live out their faith in ways that nurture social cohesion and unity of purpose in pursuing peace, Burundi and the entire Eastern Africa region can lead the rest of the continent in realizing Sustainable Development Goal (SGS) 16 (Peace, Justice, and strong institutions), and the 4th Aspiration of the African Union Agenda 2063: A peaceful and Secure Africa. This however requires the transformative faith-based agency of young people, the majority of whom are people of faith.

With this awareness, in partnership with the National Council of Churches in Burundi (CNEB), the AACC established an interfaith youth platform in 2019. The interfaith youth platform for peace consists of youth drawn from protestant churches, the Muslim community, the Batwa group and the Catholics. The group was established to promote peaceful coexistence amongst religious groups. The platform has significantly contributed to the peace-building processes of the country. However, the realities of the eastern Africa region keep on changing and there is a need to continuously accompany such initiatives to address the changing contexts of conflicts in the region.

In collaboration with the Council of Churches of Burundi, AACC through the Regional Peace Program (RPP) and the Salama Hub has organized a capacity-strengthening workshop for the interfaith youth leaders in Burundi and the Horn of Africa region to strengthen their collaborations in advancing social cohesion and peacebuilding efforts in their communities.

The main aim of the workshop is to equip the interfaith youth leaders in Burundi and the Horn of Africa region with knowledge and skills to promote social cohesion and peacebuilding efforts in their communities. The Specific objectives are: 

  1. To foster interfaith collaboration among the youth leaders in promoting social cohesion and deepening the culture of peace in their communities
  2. To support the youth leaders, develop and execute action plans that advance the implementation for UNSCR 1325 and 2250 
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