The absence of effective governance structures in northeastern DRC has given rise to multiple security risks, threatening the peace and stability of the region. The emergence of armed groups, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has caused an increase in violent crime, land-based conflict and displacement. Young people have been particularly affected by the instability, largely as a result of the LRA’s frequent abduction of youth. We are working to address this issue and strengthen young people’s involvement in conflict prevention in areas affected by the LRA in the DRC.
The LRA has had a devastating effect on young people in this part of the country. The abducted young people who manage to escape, often struggle to reintegrate into their communities and must deal with the emotional trauma of the violence they were exposed to. Despite this, young people are too often seen as agitators of conflict or as victims. Their potential in resolving conflicts has remained largely underutilised and they are excluded in local decision-making and wider political processes.
Conciliation Resources is working with 20 youth groups and over 300 young people from the provinces of Bas Uele, Haute Uele, and Ituri. Through workshops and learning events, we are providing young men and women with the vital skills to undertake conflict prevention work in their own communities and support the reintegration of returnees.
Kennedy Tumutegyereize, Conciliation Resources East and Central Africa programme Director, explains:
By giving young people the skills to manage community discussions, develop strategic relationships, and address tensions, they will be much better equipped to deal with future conflict risks.
This work with youth is part of Conciliation Resources’ efforts to ensure the inclusion of young people in peacebuilding efforts. We regard it as particularly important in the DRC, where young people make up to 65% of the population but are excluded from political processes. Kennedy states:
Young people have an essential role to play in responding to the LRA threat and can share lessons and experiences of affected communities with policy makers at local and national level. This work will support young people to take on this role.