In most countries, peace lies in the shoulders of youth

THE word peace has many meanings such that no one knows the correct meaning. Some say peace is a state or period in which there is no war or war has ended, while others say peace is a freedom from disturbance, tranquility.

Some academicians define peace as calmness and tranquility. But the word peace is derived from the latin word “pax”, which means a pact, a control or an agreement to end conflict.

Peace is a stress –free state of security and calmness that comes when there is no fighting or war, where everything coexists in perfect harmony and freedom.

Peace fosters unity and togetherness among family members, because there is peace, the family can plan and take decisions together and children also will benefit as both parents stay together to cater for their needs and upbringing.

According to the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2022 report, the average level of global peacefulness deteriorated by 0.3 per cent, although slightly that was the eleventh deterioration in peacefulness in the last 14 years, with 90 countries improving, 71 deteriorating and two remaining stable in peacefulness.

In the past 14 years, according to the report, peacefulness has fallen, with the average country score deteriorating by 3.2 per cent, where of the 163 countries in the GPI, 84 recorded deteriorations, while 77 recorded improvements and two recorded no change in the score.

However, fifteen of the 23 GPI indicators deteriorated between 2008 and 2021 while eight improved. Two of the three GPI domains deteriorated since 2008, with ongoing conflict deteriorating by 9.3 per cent and Safety and Security deteriorating by 3.6 per cent.

The importance of peace has recently brought together 50 leaders of youth’s organisations, cleric leaders and development stakeholders in Ilemela Municipality from Kagera, Kigoma, Geita and Mwanza at the two days of Tanzania 2nd National Multi- Stakeholders conference.

The conference came into being after the Great Lakes region constituted a complex network of political and economic interactions with significant implications for peace, security and governance.

It is also a region with interlinked conflicts and common fundamental problems that emanate from colonialism, post-colonial challenges to state-building and nation-building.

The conference was funded by the European Union (EU) and Konrad Addeneur Foundation and implemented in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC and Burundi, targeting mostly youth initiatives.

The aim of the peace conference was to increase understanding of the project to all stakeholders so that they can add value to their outcomes as the peace ambassadors in Tanzania and or the great lakes countries.

Presenting a paper in the dialogue titled “Repositioning the Youth towards Peace Building and Ending Elections Violence, Mr Donald Kasongi from Governance Links said investment in mechanisms for youth participation at every level can improve policy and programming, promote civic engagement and encourage good governance in any society.

“Investment in young people is an effective way to meet development priorities”, he said, adding that youth contribute to an ever-growing demographic bulge, their positive role in creating more peaceful and inclusive societies only recently receiving serious recognition in international policy.

According to Mr Kasongi, there are multiple motivations for youth engagement in violence, where they need to be understood in a particular context.

“Frustration at lack of livelihood opportunities can play a part in motivating youth violence, social and political grievances are usually more central,” he said.

He said youth frustrations are usually underpinned by perceptions that society or the political system is unjust or that social norms prevent young people from making a successful transition to adulthood.

“Greed” or opportunity perspectives see violence as the outcome of rational individual choices to maximise economic, social or political benefits,” he explained.

On youth in the Sustainable Development goals (SDG), Mr Kasongi said 65 out of the SDG target, referring to young people explicitly or implicitly with focus on empowerment, participation and well-being.

On youth as the world citizen, Mr Kasongi said the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250 (2015) on Youth, Peace and Security -, said “youths have a positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution and society must recommend their effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels”.

Officiating the conference, The Ilemea District Commissioner, Mr Hassan Massalla urged Great Lakes Countries’ youths to protect and cherish the value of peace in their countries for the well-being of their lives for sustainable development.

He said youth as a large group should ensure that peace is maintained in their areas from household, community, local, village to national level, so as to enable communities to participate in economic activities.

He said the government in Mwanza Region has a strong strategy to work with various non-governmental organisations as well as international organisations to remove street children from streets by training them so they can become independent.

On homosexuality, Mr Masalla said the government in Mwanza Region can never support such practices that take away the dignity and culture of Tanzanians.

Mwanza Regional Peace Religion Committee Coordinator, Sheick Twaha Bakari urged young people to live in good moral terms, arguing that morality is the source of protecting and preserving peace in the society.

The Project Coordinator for the Tanzania 2nd National Multi- Stakeholders conference, Mr Jimmy Luhende said the conference aimed at bringing youth together to discuss peace and reflect during the Great Lakes Youth Network for dialogue and peace which was held in Ilemela municipality in Mwanza Region last year.

Mr Jimmy said the launch of the youth dialogue was held three years ago in Tanzania with the aim of building capacity on how to protect and respect peace, where more than 300 youths were indirectly and directly involved.

He said the two-day national multi-stakeholder conference brought together target group members and stakeholders to exchange, discuss and develop common solutions to improve the situation of the end beneficiaries in the Great Lakes sub-region.

“Specifically, the national multi-stakeholder conference served as a follow-up to the first national multi-stakeholder conference and provided an opportunity to assess the progress made,” Mr Jimmy explained.

“Ideally, the stakeholders’ presentations aimed to inspire youth action in different areas and contribute to strengthening their engagement in the process of building peace and good governance in the Great Lakes region”, he said, adding that youth initiatives were presented pleas on the problems identified in their respective areas that block the consolidation of peace.

He said it move allowed stakeholders to take part in the resolution of those problems so that an engagement in the peace process is possible.

The Executive Director of Women and Youth Project and the Programme Officer of the Kasulu Youth Development (KaYD), Beatrice Kaboye said youth have been trained on the importance of maintaining and protecting peace in the community for their better future.

Mwasiti Kazinja, a youth from Kagera Region said youths need to get proper education on moral building and peacekeeping in their countries for their better future.

George Kusekwa from Mwanza Young Children Network said their organisation provided various training to youth members in their organisation which helped them to gain more income.

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