Youth for Peace
Many young Afghans are growing up in a tense political, economic and social environment. Young people are often the victims of violence and manipulation and are incited to violence themselves. Whether at home or at school: most young people do not learn to deal constructively with conflict. In some parts of society, this establishes a culture which favours the use of violence as a means of dealing with conflict.
The programme aims to curb the use of violence and establish a culture of peace to facilitate peaceful social development, opening up future prospects for young people in particular.
Measures & Results
With the help of the Civil Peace Service, Afghan non-governmental organisations have already implemented long-term peace goals in cooperation with the population. Change is being initiated in numerous locations across ethnic and linguistic lines and is transcending traditional gender roles. Traditional councils (shuras) have learned methods of non-violent conflict resolution. For example, ethnically mixed schools and football teams have been set up in areas formerly in the grip of civil war. Shuras in Kabul’s slums have also recognised the right of refugees and street children to education, enabling them to attend school. Women and children who had fallen victim to sexual violence are now receiving advice and assistance from the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the women’s shelter in Mazar-e Sharif. Peace caravans of young activists came together for dialogue forums in which they learned to better understand the painful experiences and perspectives of others. Young offenders are taking part in reintegration programmes in youth detention centres, providing them with prospects for a life free of crime and extremism when they are released. Young people in particular are benefiting from the change processes and helping to make Afghan society peaceful. Tens of thousands of people now attend the events of the International Day of Peace each year on 21st of September. The Afghan Civil Society Organisations Network for Peace which was established in 2005 with assistance from the Civil Peace Service brings together 120 Afghan civil society organisations and promotes peace strategies in the country’s cultural and educational spheres.
The events supported by the programme consistently address the following topics: self-reflection, creative ways of dealing with fear and anger, confidence-building, non-violent communication, constructive criticism, self-help and conflict mediation. The goal is to bring about peace between ethnic groups, religions and social classes through youth dialogue.