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Long Considered a Threat, Can Youth Take Lead in Peacebuilding?

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Members of a pro-peace youth group perform in Nairobi's Kibera slum following a recurrence of violent rhetoric within the community. Nairobi, Kenya, July 28, 2014. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

The challenge for policymakers will be to develop more youth and community-driven programs that effectively engage young people in the ways outlined in the UN resolution.

There are already a number of promising prototypes in this respect. Nairobi’s Eastleighwood Youth Forum (EYF), for example, has established “peace forums” and youth dialogues to provide alternative paths for marginalized Muslim and ethnic Somali community members considering joining al-Shabaab.

These monthly events gather more than 200 young people to discuss concerns within their community, and how to combat extremism through peaceful means. According to EYF’s own data, its programs have seen more than 50 young people move away from violence and extremism, as well as a drop in violence in the Eastleigh community. 

Margaret Williams is a Policy Analyst at the International Peace Institute.

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