UNESCO supports young people for reflections on emerging forms of expression in order to consolidate peace, democracy and development in Africa


An article from UNESCO

On Thursday, December 26, 2019 in Dakar, the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa-Sahel, through the Human and Social Sciences sector (SHS), organized a workshop to present the study “Young people and areas of freedom in Africa: Emerging expressions of young people to consolidate peace, democratization and achieve the SDGs”.

The main objective was to define and inform public policies for young people in order to make them more relevant, inclusive and equitable. Under the chairmanship of Ms. Néné Fatoumata Sall, Minister of Youth, the workshop brought together more than forty participants, including members of the study’s scientific council, representatives of COMNat Senegal in charge of logistics coordination of the study, representatives of youth organizations, representatives of civil society, researchers and academics from The Gambia and Senegal, key partners of the Banjul Forum, members of the Multidisciplinary Research Team and the UNESCO Office staff in Dakar.

“This study constitutes a platform for exchange, consolidation & appropriation, the aim of which is to mobilize the knowledge of young people to inform public policies and accelerate social transformations in Africa,” said Ms. Néné Fatoumata Tall, Minister of Youth, employment and citizen building in Senegal.

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Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

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During his introductory remarks, Dr Maréma Touré Thiam, Head of the Human and Social Sciences section of the UNESCO Office in Dakar, recalled that “for UNESCO, young people are essential actors in finding solutions to challenges, they are the solution to Africa’s development. They have always played a major role in the democratization and pacification of societies ”. Thus, this study, carried out by a team of 9 researchers (with 7 different profiles and coming from 5 countries covered by the Office), in collaboration with the Bamako Office and the Culture program of BReDa, made it possible to analyze the trends in several African countries (particularly West Africa) regarding the “emerging” expressions, creativity and capacity for innovation of African youth in terms of civic and civic engagement. The workshop was an opportunity to discuss the efforts necessary to support young people and help them work together to encourage innovation and social change, the development of their societies, fight against poverty and inequality, and foster a culture of peace.

The discussions and exchanges during the workshop made it possible to validate the results with all the participants and stakeholders, but also to underline the importance for UNESCO of supporting young people and researchers for reflections on the innovative forms of expression for young people, in order to consolidate peace, democracy and development in Africa.

“Young people have a preponderant role to play in the progress of societies because they represent the lever by which the Nations will have to rely to aspire to development” Mrs., Néné Fatoumata Tall, Minister of Youth, Employment and citizen building of Senegal

It was recommended to continue and develop scientific research on young people and to deepen it in order to make available to the authorities and stakeholders a “consolidated document” to inform youth policies. The workshop ended with the reading of the declaration of the African Regional Youth Forum, held in Banjul in October 2019.