WANEP’s youth empowerment programme to grow youth leaders

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Wanep Empowerment
Wanep Empowerment

Thirty young people in West Africa will benefit from the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), a leading regional peacebuilding organisation’s Transformational Empowerment and Mentorship (Y- TEaM) Programme.

The nine-month Programme, a new component of WANEP’S Youth, Peace, and Security programme is designed to groom a new generation of youth leaders and peace builders capable of driving transformational change and sustainable peace in their communities and countries.

It is as an annual programme, targeting fresh graduates across West Africa, between the ages of 18 and 35 with commitment to peace, security, governance, and development.

The Y-TEaM programme is being implemented under the framework of WANEP’s partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU).

Mrs Josiane Sombo, Youth, Peace and Security Programme Officer in charge of Y-TEaM, speaking on the side-lines of the launch of the Programme, said the youth’s population, consisting of more than 60 per cent of Africa’s population, presented an opportunity and challenge.

She said: “It is an opportunity if we are able to invest in our youth by providing them with the skills development for regional stability and development.”

Mrs Sombo noted that empowering the youth was one of the strategies to mitigate the challenges such as unemployment and extremism.

The Programme Officer said the youth under the Y-TEaM Programme would be equipped with continuous learning and capacity building to enhance their leadership, knowledge, abilities, skills, and action for peace.

That, she said, would enable the youth to effectively contribute their quota to the ongoing efforts towards regional stability and development.

Dr Vincent Azumah, Regional Coordinator for Monitoring and Evaluation, WANEP, said the Programme was one of WANEP’s creative way of harnessing the potentials of the youth.

He said it was also to ensure that the youth were empowered enough and taken away from the negative activities in the region.

Dr Azumah called on the youth to take advantage of the opportunity to register as the call for applications was opened.

Madam Queeneth Tawo, Regional Coordinator, Women, Peace and Security, WANEP, noted that the youth, susceptible to violence were often used by politicians to orchestrate election violence and other fraudulent acts.

The youth, she said, were also victims of radicalisation by terrorist groups and made up more than 80 per cent of suicide bombers.

Madam Tawo noted that meaningful youth participation entailed providing them the platform and structures to amplify their voices, supporting the implementation of normative frameworks/ legislation to increase active engagement and participation in Youth, Peace and Security (YPS).

The Regional Coordinator called for financial and technical support for WANEP to successfully drive the agenda through the Y- TEaM.

Mr Kennedy Zaro Barsisa, Head of Division, Youth, Sports and Employment, Department of Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS, underscored the need for holistic approaches to ensure that conflicts with their devastating socio-political impacts were maligned.

As a result, he said, the persistent prevalence of threats of peace would be eliminated as well.

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