By Julius Businge
Tomorrow [Sept. 18], UNICEF Uganda Country Office will mark International Day of Peace by holding a one-day pre-event in which the Office of the Prime Minister’s Platform for Conflict Prevention and Peace building and civil society youth groups and activists will attend.
Speaking to journalists today [Sept. 17], Monica Llamazares, a specialist in peace building at UNICEF Uganda said the event will be held because of the value youth have in Uganda.
Llamazares said keynote speakers and participants will debate youth-relevant issues of peace and conflict in Uganda today, and chart the way for a youth-led peace building agenda in Uganda. She added that the event will advocate for the right of youth in Uganda to peace, provide a platform for youth-led civil society to contribute to shaping Uganda’s ‘National Conflict Prevention and Peace building Policy and promote/showcase positive contributions and messages of peace by youth.
Ugandan artists and youth activists will showcase peace messages through diverse media, including music, dance, and graphic art, she said.
“Youth are the backbone of any country, without them there won’t be development,” she added.
Llamazares said they recently carried out a nationwide U-report poll on youth, conflict and peace amongst 40, 000 respondents of those, 45% said they did not enjoy their right to peace. That the youth identified barriers such as unequal social service delivery, exclusion and lack of participation in most activities, community violence, land disputes, mob justice, unemployment among others.
Uganda has one of the world’s youngest populations according to USAID, with 77% of its people being under 30 years of age. Experts say this [77%] is a great resource if harnessed and engaged in critical sectors of the economy.
The International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. Uganda will observe the day in Adjumani, Northern Uganda..