Friday, August 11, 2017

“The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow” (Nelson Mandela)

  The youth in Burkina Faso currently makes up 73% of the population, and are consequently the largest in history. Similarly to Burkina Faso, youth often make up the majority of the population in countries that are stricken by armed conflict and civil unrest. This year, the United Nations National Youth Day has been dedicated to the efforts of young people in the prevention of conflict, creating sustainable peace and their inclusion in social justice.

Inspired by those on the UN website, we constructed our own word clouds. These were made after asking each volunteer to think of three words to represent what peace and security means to them.

   A risk factor for violence and conflict is youth exclusion from social, political and economic factors and spheres. To sustain peace, the inclusion of young people is paramount. Access to basic services, healthcare and good education makes sure that young people are given the opportunity to achieve their goals and reach their potential. Their inclusion in decision making is also of vital importance, as they play a very large role in resolving and deterring conflict and peace-building/keeping.

   Our Burkinabé volunteers contributed in many ways to justice and advancement of the people’s political rights. Many of Burkina’s youth joined groups that put pressure on the government including organising strikes and voicing disagreement with the regime. Unhappy with President Compaore’s 27 year long presidency, there were mass riots spread across the country. This very week, taxi drivers throughout the country are on strike protesting statements made by the current security minister regarding police brutality in the east of the country.
  There are currently over 2,000 youth led organisations in Burkina Faso. One such pressure group is the MPRSCA which in English means “Nothing shall remain the same.”
  The youth were the demographic at the forefront of this monumental uprising, they were the vital instruments for change in Burkina Faso.
Of the 28 activists recognised as national hero’s – 19 of them are under the age of 35

"Burkina Faso population by Age and Sex 2010 (source United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affairs – Population Division. 2012 Revision)"
  Cheick Faycal Traore is the One Young World Ambassador for Burkina Faso. He has also been appointed recently as The Special Envoy for Youth Inclusion in the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda and Governance of Burkina Faso following the October 2014 uprising. His role is to manage and ensure that the whole youth community’s opinions are taken into consideration at every level of political negotiations and decision making. A national treaty for youth is being produced and an official framework has been created by the government for youth meetings.

"A photo taken by one of the Burkinabé volunteers at a protest in 2014"

“I am so proud to be included in this process and that I can represent the future of Burkinabé youth. The time of inactivity has gone!” - Cheick Faycal Traore
Between us, we have some 19 members of youth living in our host families. This week, in honour of National Youth Day 2017, we have been holding English language sessions with our host siblings. Quality education is vital for youth advancement:
“Knowledge is power” - Sir Francis Bacon
   We initially opted to teach the children numbers through the use of fun card games that we brought from the UK, initiating sustainable learning as we intend to leave the card packs with our host families when we return home. The UK volunteers also used a tune remembered from GCSE French to sing the numbers along to.

Learning English numbers through card games with Shane’s family
  Youth has such a huge impact on peace and security, but also on every aspect of modern society. We hope to encourage learning and contribute positively towards its sustainable impact in Réo. It is amazing to come home in the evenings to be greeted by “Good Evenings” followed by recitals of English numbers and colours. It is better yet, for the UK volunteers to be able to respond in their newly acquired French.

Blog authors: Kaylie and Erin

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