ACCORD hosted the African Union Youth Ambassadors for Peace (AYAPs) for an introductory elections and conflict management training from the 14th to 17 November. Ms Game Dibeela, an International Development Practitioner, who has great experience in international election observation processes, and is the current Civil Affairs Officer within the United Nations mission in South Sudan, co-facilitated the training, with valuable contributions from ACCORD’s Manager for Applied Knowledge and Learning, Mr Philip Visser.
The co-conveners of the training, the African Union (AU) Youth for Peace (Y4P) Africa Programme, Dr. Rhuks Ako and Ms Orit Ibrahim also made valuable contributions through unpacking the continental frameworks of the African Union, which guide election processes in Africa. The training programme included a side session intergenerational conversation between the AYAPs and ACCORD’s Senior Political Advisor, His Excellency Amb. Welile Nhlapo.
As an introduction to both conflict management and elections observation, the training programme focused on conflict trends in Africa; conflict mapping and analysis; the electoral process; triggers for election related violence; election dispute mechanisms; and continental regional approaches to managing elections. These topics were illustrated with the use of case studies based on real-world events, which grounded them in the contemporary African political landscape. The AYAPs were also able to use these case studies to practice mapping a conflict and preparing an election observation report.
This training is timely as twenty-six African countries are scheduled to hold either national, regional, or local elections during 2023 and these include, Libya; Mali; Nigeria; Sierra Leona; Zimbabwe; and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to name but a few. While there have been many peaceful elections in Africa in recent years, even in countries with histories of disputed elections, there is still a threat of violence during election periods if they are not managed correctly. Equipping the AYAP’s with skills in elections and conflict management and preparing them for election observation missions serves to bolster the role that youth play in preventing and managing conflicts that may arise during the election period, and further strengthens the role of youth in peace and security on the continent.
This training follows on from the dialogue series that ACCORD and the AU Y4P Programme have co-convened looking at the continental framework on Youth, Peace and Security related to YPS issues. The news item of the dialogue series can be accessed through this link: https://www.accord.org.za/news/accord-hosts-dialogue-to-unpack-the-importance-of-gender-mainstreaming-in-the-youth-peace-and-security-agenda/
ACCORD and the AU Y4P programme will continue to work together to ensure youth are at the forefront of the peace and security in Africa.