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Entry Points for Preventing Youth Engagement in Political Violence: Lessons from Burundi’s 2015 Elections

Author: Anca H. Paducel

Publisher: Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, 2016

Despite the increasing focus of bottom-up conflict prevention efforts on youth in fragile and conflict-affected societies, empirical data on the motivations for youths’ engagement in political violence, and which strategies and programmes work, under what conditions, and for whom, remain limited. As youth today will go on to become the next generation of adults and leaders, it is essential that these gaps in knowledge be addressed. This paper presents key findings from the project entitled, “Bumbatira Amahoro – Keeping the Peace: Engaging Youth Leaders to Prevent Conflict in Burundi,” which aimed to reduce the engagement of un(der)employed youth – political party leaders and members, ex-combatants, civil society leaders, and other vulnerable youth – in political violence around the 2015 elections.4 Using a multidimensional approach, the project prioritized non-violent conflict resolution and conflict management skills, social cohesion, and the economic independence of youth. While each situation is unique, with significant variation existing both between and within countries, important lessons can be drawn in terms of what and how conflict prevention work that targets youth is conducted in different contexts. The recent case of Burundi provides some important insights regarding the activities that performed well, those that did not, and some of the reasons for the outcomes obtained. It is hoped that these insights will inform future projects focusing on the prevention of political violence among youth, especially around elections, in Burundi and beyond.

Click here to download article in PDF format

Source: Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

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