The Youth Peace Building Project (Youth PBP) was a two year project implemented by Integrated Community Development Initiative (ICODI) with Support from Mbarara District Local Government.
The project’s major aim was to promote peace and embrace diversity among youth and adult population in Mbarara District through engaging youth in schools and communities in peace building initiatives.
This project involved; (1) identifying young people and youth led-organizations involved in peace building initiatives by finding them, learning from them and supporting them with their peace building initiatives, (2) Train youth in peace building and fostering mutual respect, understanding and promoting long-term positive relationships between peoples of different cultures, religions and political affiliations, (3) Work with young people who are influential among their peers and foster their leadership skills, while simultaneously ensuring the participation of marginalized young people, (4) Create opportunities for young people’s sustained participation, ownership and leadership in local, regional and national to prevent, manage and resolve conflict and maintain peace, and (5) Foster trust and support power-sharing between decision makers and young people, especially through intergenerational dialogue and youth-adult trust-building activities and trainings. The project reached 2556 youth in different sub-counties in Mbarara District South Western Uganda. These included secondary school youth, school dropout youth and youth who finished their colleges and universities.
The project helped to; (1) equip youth with knowledge and skills of peace building, (2) reduce on the incidences of fights/violence among youth and create a push for economic and social development among youth in communities of Mbarara District.
Youth can act as key actors to achieve peace and harmony among youth and adult populations in Uganda; therefore this project worked with individual youth and youth groups in Mbarara District to help enhance the ability of young people and their organizations/groups to foster mutual respect, understanding and long-term positive relationships between peoples of different cultures, religions and political affiliations. This programming facilitated networking and exchange among individual youth and youth-led organizations/groups; provided them with the opportunities to increase their competencies and to implement activities to advance intercultural and interreligious understanding.
Through the implementation of Youth PBP, it became apparent that when trying to reduce conflict through youth programming, it is critical to create incentives for building relationships, have enough staff that can build the capacity of others, find ways to bring youth and adults together repeatedly, and integrate youth into their communities at multiple levels. With a strong mobilized youth who have developed their leadership, peace building and management skills, there is an opportunity to create the next generation of local leaders empowered to further develop communities in south western Uganda and the country at large to curb risks of violence.