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AFRICAN WOMEN AND YOUTH LEAD THE WAY TO PEACE

As UNESCO helps prepare the Biennale Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace that will take place in October in Luanda, the UNESCO Directrice-General Audrey Azoulay, has emphasized the participation of women, especially in the session on “Women’s Networks for Peace in Africa”. She explains that “Around the “Pan-African Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation” ( FemWise-Africa ) created in 2017, it is important that the various networks of women for peace that exist in Africa can exert more influence, unite and enhance their complementarities. It is only through collective action that we can effectively contribute to building and consolidating peace on a daily basis.”

The Biennale is also placing a priority on African youth. It is being organized as an intergenerational dialogue. 150 young people (from all AU countries and the Diaspora) will be invited to take part in this Dialogue. These young people will be selected from among members of National Youth Councils, National Coordinating Bodies of the Pan-African Youth Network for a Culture of Peace (PAYNCOP) and other youth leaders and organizations, through a call for applications.  They will discuss with Heads of State and Government, Ministers in charge of Youth / Culture, Commissioners of the AU and Regional Economic Communities in charge of Youth, representatives of the United Nations, international organizations and technical and financial partners invited to the Biennale. 

Among the many networks of women for peace in Africa, several have featured in recent CPNN articles.

The Nala Feminist Collective (Nalafem); a  Pan African group of 17 young feminists with a mission to foster and mobilize young women from Africa and the diaspora, advocate for Africa Young Women B+25 Manifesto; a groundbreaking political document that sets out ten critical issues of concern for young African women. The manifesto calls on world leaders to scale up action for progressive gender inclusion and will be presented at the upcoming Generation Equality Forum in Paris.

In Mali, the national restitution conference “Palabre trees of Timbuktu and Gao” engaged more than a hundred women from the north, some of whom are on their first trip to the capital. The initiative lays the groundwork for a return to lasting peace and cohesion with a dual objective:
– to restore and make available to all participants the diagnosis of the Mali situation by women in the regions;
– and to give a voice to the representatives of women from the municipalities for the implementation of structuring projects for local community development.

In Kenya, The inaugural season of Think African  is inspired by Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai’s political philosophy, which she likened to a traditional African stool, comprising a seat and three legs. First leg: Inclusive Democracy. Second leg: Sustainability. Third leg: ” a culture of peace”; fairness, respect, compassion, forgiveness, recompense and justice. The first episode features Kenyan climate change activist Elizabeth Wathuti. She is the founder of the Green Generation Initiative, which nurtures young people to be environmentally conscious from a young age and has planted 30,000 tree seedlings in Kenya.

In Senegal, the members of the Platform of Women for Peace in Casamance (PFPC) have called for serenity and social stability in the country. “Our nation is characterized by a multiethnicity which, instead of being a source of division, is a richness and a pledge of a symbiosis, a harmony, a mutual respect. The joking cousin is the real social cement that unites the Serer to Pulaar, Diatta Ndiaye to Diop, the game of fraternal alliances which banishes any hostility between Diola and Serer.”

African youth networks for peace have also been featured recently.

In Gabon, The Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace, Gabon section (PAYNCoP Gabon) has recently launched, in Libreville, a project to promote the culture of peace and fight against violence in schools. The initiative will sensitize key actors (supervisory staff, students, parents of students) on the effects of violence in schools, train them on the culture of peace and peaceful conflict resolution. In order to engage students in the continued promotion of the culture of peace within the school, the project also plans to create a club of young peacemakers within the school.

In Chad, an interactive conference was held on “The involvement of young people in the preservation of culture of peace”. The objective was to make young students understand the essential role of peace and the culture of peace. Following ideas expressed by students regarding peace, the speakers emphasized that peace is the acceptance of others, peace being the foundation or the basis of life in society. The president of the organizing committee, Wardougou Moussa Abdelkader, on behalf of the students of HEC-TCHAD, thanked the United Nations association of Chad, for the initiative, and pleaded for the sustainability of this theme.

In Cameroon, UNESCO is supporting five exemplary leaders of youth-led organizations engaged in early warning and response Mechanisms for peacebuilding. These young leaders include- Christian Achaleke of Local Youth Corner (LOYOC), Loic Atangana Nkulu of the Pan-African Network for a Culture of Peace (PAYNCOP), Brice Nisebang of the Cameroon National Youth Council (NYC), Paul Bernard Noah of “G-54 Afrique Avenir” and Gladys Tchegoue of Dynamique Mondiale des Jeunes (DMJ). Other youth leaders equally participated in this initiative such as Desmond Ngala of Rog Agency for Open Culture, Stephane Mebonde of Accord Parfait and Ramatu Abdou of the Association for the Welfare of Women and Indigenous Persons (ASOWWIP).

In her interview, Directrice-General Audrey Azoulay concludes that “Africa is the continent of today. The African continent is rich in knowledge and opportunities, it is the youngest continent in the world and UNESCO is committed to ensuring that this youth has the skills, education, creativity, all the capital. human potential to build a better future.”

And in supporting the Luanda Biennale, the African Union says, “The strategic objective of the event is to promote a peaceful and prosperous Africa through the defense and encouragement of actions that prevent conflicts in the management of national and cross-border natural resources on the African continent, as well as to educate a generation of young Africans as agents of peace, stability and development.”

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