Accord in partnership with the African Union (AU) Office of the Youth Envoy OYE) Global Peace convened a virtual Inter-Generational Dialogue (IGD) in Somalia under the theme “Silencing the Guns” (STG). The IGD was held on the 12th of September, 2020.
The panellists for this IGD included ACCORD Executive Director Dr Vasu Gounden, Liban Adam, Abdiweli Waberi, Anisa Ismail, Nujuum Ahmed and Rakia Bihi. The dialogue discussed issues relating to the dynamics and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, projected progress towards achieving the AU’s Agenda 2063 by 2045, and how the youth can be part of the STG initiative.
In relations to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was highlighted that people need to be made more aware of the severity of pandemics that occur, while also saying that healthcare needs to be a priority on the same level as poverty eradication and sustainable living. Panellists further indicated that when addressing issues in Somalia local actors must be given the opportunity to formulate the change they would like to see, prioritising education and innovation. It was further highlighted that entrepreneurship needs to be encouraged, especially youth entrepreneurship, as it is seen a possible solution to the dependence that Somalia has on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to provide services in Somalia. Furthermore, providing better opportunities, improved education system development of infrastructure and strengthening of local institutions in order to prioritise the development of young entrepreneurs.
In terms of youth participation in STG initiative, priority must be given to building (where there is none) and strengthening the capacity of the youth, and mobilise resources needed to implement youth projects. Trust needs to be built between the youth and older generations as the youth are often viewed in a negative light. Additionally, the panellist explained that young people in Somalia are often associated with extremist groups and that further suppression of the youth has resulted in a lack of willingness on their part to be involved in projects such as silencing the guns. There was resounding consensus amongst the panellists that in order to create a more integrated developed Somalia there must be an inward analysis of what is happening in Somalia and greater engagement within the Somalis.
The Somalia IGD is in line with ACCORD’s strategic objective to strengthen the capacities of youth to participate in peace and security initiatives.