Southern Africa Youth Forum (SAYoF-SADC) country representative for Namibia and member of the Regional Executive Patience Masua noted that youth are leaders for transformation, stakeholders, stockholders, and agents of change in peace and transitional justice process. The youth leader noted this at a SADC meeting convened by the Center for Study of Violence and reconciliation (CSVR) and Institute of Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) being done in South Africa.
She noted that the region’s population is very young and according to SADC’s 2011 Statistical Yearbook, 76.4% of the regional population is under the age of 35 and young people are valuable innovators and agents of change, and their contributions should be actively supported, solicited and regarded as essential to building peaceful communities. Moreover, young people’s participation promotes civic engagement and active citizenship. She also made specific mention of the importance of the application of the Transitional Justice agenda in a way packaged to appeal to the specific categories of youth.
Taking into account the arrays of challenges young people face in the SADC region, such high level unemployment, irregular migration, drug abuse, lack of civic space to innovate, political violence, extremism, religious fundamentalism, climate change among other this act as major threat to peace in the region and there is need of holistic strategy to involve young people as leader for transformation.
She also noted that as SAYoF, before implementing an intervention we urge stakeholders to understand that youth are a diverse group, there are not defined as a homogeneous group, this is supported by our Youth Development Model (YDM) which spells out the Four Lense Approach: Youth as Leaders for Transformation, Youth as Stakeholders, Youth as Stockholders and Youth as Agents for Change. The Youth Development Model also has seven (7) Ps that lays out how youth development must be implemented, that is Primacy, Prioritization, Possibilities, Participation, Policy and Laws, Partnership and Peace.
SAYoF further noted that promoting the participation of young people in Transitional Justice and peace-building efforts requires multiple approaches. These include the use of Human Rights-Based Approaches grounded in the existing international, regional and national human rights instruments as a guide, also youth instruments such as the Youth Charter. Secondly, an Economic Approach that identifies young people as a panacea to the economic development of their country, and promotes their access to economic integration and opportunities.
Thirdly, a Socio-Political Approach that connects young people to communities, civil society, political space, developing an existing framework that supports capacities and skills for young people to be able to respond to various issues from an informed point of view and participate effectively in public life and accountability,
A Socio-Cultural Approach is also essential, that scan the roles of young people in existing structures and supports dialogue, including inter-generational dialogue
Lastly a Technological Approach, it has to be noted because for the Fourth Industrial Revolution young people use technology productively for change, but also technology through the use of social media is being used negatively, this means there is need of a counter-positive narrative to allow youth to be champions of positive change through use of technologies and also in Transitional Justice and peer to peer influence and Policy Influencing.
Young people suggested to the stakeholders on the use of technologies, social media and a new hashtag #TJinSADC to popularize the transitional justice agenda in SADC.
Article by SAYoF-SADC Advocacy and Communications Department
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