The Contribution of Youth to Peace-building in Chad
January 18, 2020
January 18, 2020
The intention of this article is to highlight why the roles of youth in peacebuilding in Chad is important within the context of combating violent extremism (VE). These roles do require an appropriate corresponding response to create a conducive atmosphere for the success of combating VE.
Reconstructed Scenario is based on the following judgments:
It is almost certain that the non-responsiveness of governments to the demands and aspirations of citizens stimulate VE. The impact of VE on Chad is far reaching. It reflects in how youths have been victims and perpetrators of VE. They sometimes become members of extremist groups. This is done to cater to the needs the government failed to address. This contributes to the negative narrative on youth. The negative narrative in turn complicates the problem of sustainability suffered by continental, regional and national initiatives in the fight against VE.
Youths occupy more than 50% of Chad’s population. They suffer from political and economic challenges. These challenges position them as drivers of VE. It is worsened by failure to prioritize them in political, economic and social engagements. Yet, prioritizing them by providing support and capacity building assistance is proven to reduce the success of VE. Despite the lack of prioritization, empirical findings affirm that the roles and contributions of youth are critical to fighting VE in Chad, and Africa at large. A scientific study on the Roles and Contributions of Youth to Peace and Security in Africa validates this – Youth for Peace Program (Y4P).
Youths offer a great opportunity to limit the spread and impact of VE in Chad. Therefore, they need more help from the government and other actors. Youth groups / organisations already play vital roles. Grey Dynamics African Intelligence Assessment thus reveal that the activities of the youth organisations are focused on addressing the factors that led to VE, engenders VE, encourages youths to join extremist groups.
Comité d‘Organisation Pour la Paixdans Les Etablissements Scolaires (COPES) engages peace education. The purpose is to discourage membership of extremist groups and promoting a peace culture. They also educate teachers. Collectif des Associations et Mouvements des Jeunes du Tchad (CAMOJET) addresses VE by focusing on the reintegration of former Boko Haram members. In the same vein, the Project on Fighting against Violent Extremism and Radicalization of Former Terrorist Fighters and Victims (ATPIR) focuses on eradicating poverty through income generation.
Another instance is the Association Jeunesse pour la Paix et la Non-violence (Youth Association for Peace and Non-violence, AJPNV) which seeks to achieve the following objectives:
And, it has successfully carried out the following programs:
Cooperative des Jeunes de Gabri Golo also seeks to strengthen peacebuilding in communities. As a result, it carried out the ‘Peace First’ Program which was a Door-to-Door Awareness that engaged 200 young volunteers. There are other organisations. However, this is just to highlight the value of the role they can play, especially in spaces where the reach of the state is weak. This is very vital in fighting and preventing VE.
Where youth organisations lack the required resources, the quality of their impact may drop; whereas it needs to be enhanced. There is, therefore, a need for the government to review its position because findings suggest that only COPES receive actual support from the government.
Image: Screen Capture from “Chad Child Soldiers”
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grey Dynamics LTD.
Jesutimilehin Akamo is Grey Dynamics’ analyst focussing on Central Africa and a Pre-doctoral fellow at STRATFOR. Jesutimilehin is a trained Human Rights Field Officer and was awarded the Tana 2018 continental essay award.