Webinar Series on ‘Mobilising Resilience during and after COVID-19: A Peer-to-Peer Experience Sharing among Youth Peacebuilders in Africa’
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating an unprecedented global health crisis, with negative ramifications for social, political, and economic relations around the world. According to UNECA, between 300,000 and 3.3 million African people could lose their lives as a direct result of COVID-19. Therefore African countries urgently need to take stock of the current and future impact of COVID-19 and respond to them in robust and innovative ways.
Moreover, this new environment has brought a greater sense of urgency to the need to nurture and invest more in young African peacebuilders, as they continue to establish themselves at the frontline of current community efforts to tackle COVID-19.
In this context, on 9 and 16 June 2020, UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), together with the African Union (AU), and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, organized a webinar series on ‘Mobilizing Resilience during and after COVID-19: A Peer-to-Peer Experience Sharing among Youth Peacebuilders in Africa’. The overarching goal of the webinars was to help bring to the epicenter of the continental and global policy arenas the remarkable roles that African youth peacebuilders are playing in the ongoing efforts to tackle COVID-19. Over 200 youth in total joined the events.
The first session ‘African Youth Peacebuilders and Resilience in Periods of Unprecedented Transitions’ was held on 9 June. This session discussed how youth peacebuilders in different societies and contexts across Africa are navigating emerging and complex challenges imposed by unprecedented transitions.
The opening remarks were given by Dr Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of IICBA; Ambassador Fred Ngoga, Head of Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division, Peace and Security Department, African Union Commission; and Mr. Mohamed Edabbar, African Youth Ambassador for Peace (AYAP), North Africa. These remarks were followed by keynote speeches by young people from 5 African regions. Thereafter, the plenary discussion focused on the wide range of resilience options that youth peacebuilders mobilized prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the limitations faced by youth during the pandemic, and the key achievements and milestones.
The second session, ‘Innovations in youth resilience and peacebuilding in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic’, was held on 16 June, focusing on a variety of resilience options discovered and finally adopted by youth in the context of formal (state) and informal (community) responses during COVID-19.
Youth representatives from all regions of Africa participated in the webinar. There were also speakers from the five regional economic commissions of the continent.
The webinar produced a fruitful conversation about youth peacebuilders and their daily experiences of resilience and innovation in the context of COVID-19. The webinar also provided valuable direction to the development of a policy brief on resilience for peace building and prevention of violent extremism. The policy brief will be shared in the month of July.
Recordings of the webinars:
Webinar 1: African youth peacebuilders and resilience in periods of unprecedented transitions (9 June 2020)
Webinar 2: Innovations in Youth Resilience and Peacebuilding in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic (16 June 2020)