Home OPINIONS Leveraging youth eco skills for peace and sustainable CVE

Leveraging youth eco skills for peace and sustainable CVE

On August 12, the world commemorates International Youth Day, a global celebration dedicated to the potential and promise of young people. This year’s theme, “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World,” resonates deeply with the imperative of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE). It highlights the profound synergy between environmental consciousness and the promotion of lasting peace.

By equipping young individuals with ecological competencies, we not only advance the cause of sustainable development but also cultivate a generation capable of being effective agents of positive change. These skills, including problem-solving, teamwork, critical thinking, and collaboration, are instrumental not only in environmental contexts but also in counter-extremism efforts.

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The significance of environmental expertise extends beyond ecological matters. It underscores the pivotal role that young people play in steering humanity towards a sustainable and harmonious future. These skills, crucial for environmental conservation, possess a dual utility in the realm of CVE. They empower youth to foster resilient communities that are inherently less susceptible to radicalizing influences. Armed with knowledge in fields like renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and waste management, young individuals can make meaningful contributions to long-term peace and a reduced risk of conflict.

The nexus between nurturing eco-conscious skills and addressing the root causes of extremism is where the true potency lies. Encouraging youth to forge deep connections with their communities and environments instills values of peace, collaboration, and sustainability. By uniting young minds from diverse backgrounds through collaborative environmental initiatives, we erode the very foundations on which extremist ideologies thrive. This unity through dialogue and understanding lays a solid foundation for countering violent extremism.

In this strategic endeavor, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) wield a pivotal influence. They are integral to bridging the gap between green skills and CVE strategies, thus creating a robust pathway to peace. CSOs can contribute significantly through a spectrum of actions:

Firstly, CSOs can craft and implement targeted programs that equip young individuals with green skills while emphasizing the profound interconnectedness between sustainability and peacebuilding. These programs, ranging from vocational training to workshops and mentorship initiatives, empower youth to catalyze positive change within their communities.

Secondly, CSOs have the potential to drive awareness and advocacy. They can utilize their platforms to spotlight the intersections between environmental sustainability, CVE, and peace. By orchestrating advocacy campaigns, seminars, and leveraging social media, CSOs can engage communities, policymakers, and stakeholders in prioritizing these critical issues.

Thirdly, collaborative initiatives orchestrated by CSOs are pivotal. They can serve as catalysts in bringing together stakeholders from diverse spheres, including governmental bodies, educational institutions, businesses, and local communities. This synergy amplifies the impact of green skills initiatives and fosters comprehensive approaches to CVE and peacebuilding.

Moreover, CSOs can contribute through research and knowledge sharing. Conducting research to comprehend the specific contexts in which green skills intersect with CVE and peace efforts, and sharing this knowledge through publications, reports, and workshops, can inform evidence-based policies and strategies.

Furthermore, active youth engagement and empowerment are fundamental for CSOs. Involving young people in the design, execution, and assessment of green skills programs ensures their relevance and empowers youth to take ownership of their roles as catalysts for positive change.

Lastly, CSOs should focus on capacity building. Offering programs to enhance the understanding of their staff and volunteers regarding the intricate connections between environmental sustainability, CVE, and peace equips them with the tools to effectively advocate for, implement, and evaluate green skills initiatives.

By aligning their endeavors with the theme of “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World,” CSOs amplify the impact of CVE strategies and peacebuilding initiatives. Through collaborative efforts, education, and strategic advocacy, CSOs play a pivotal role in nurturing a generation of environmentally conscious and peace-driven youth. These empowered individuals are poised to counter extremism effectively and contribute to a harmonious, sustainable, and resilient world.

Wambui Kiragu is a Nairobi-based Creative Designer and Animator.

Wambui Kiragu
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