By Alpha Good Kamara
As the world faces urgent environmental challenges, the role of young people in driving positive change takes centre stage. This year’s International Youth Day, which was the 12th August, 2023, sheds light on the transformative potential of the younger generation in shaping a sustainable future. This year’s theme, “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World,” highlights the crucial contribution of youth in building a greener planet.
Caritas Freetown Justice and Peace Commission, in collaboration with Trocaire and Agiamonde, marked International Youth Day 2023 with a meaningful event at the Youth Development Movement (YDM) Center in Calaba Town, Western Area Urban.
The event aimed to harness the energy and potential of youth to promote peaceful communities, especially in the aftermath of the 2023 general elections. It aimed to ensure that the spirit of harmony persisted among diverse communities, and that the younger generation remained steadfast in their commitment to peace.
During the event, youth participants engaged in thought-provoking discussions on peace, conflict management, and resolution. Through candid sharing of personal experiences, they shed light on innovative approaches to handling conflicts. An exercise involving forming a circle to symbolize unity, followed by attempting to move in different directions, served as a poignant reminder that conflicts are inevitable. However, by standing together, a collective sense of tranquility can prevail. The core lesson underscored the need for mutual understanding and effective conflict management among the youth.
Unisa Sesay, a youth leader from Calaba Town community, delivered a succinct statement stressing the importance of nurturing peaceful environments and strong communities. Both youth participants and stakeholders expressed gratitude to Caritas Freetown Justice and Peace Commission, Trocaire, and Agiamonde for enlightening them about the significance of peaceful coexistence. The insights gained equipped them with valuable tools for conflict management and the application of transformative justice.
In her address, the Project Officer for the Project Preventing Violence against women and promoting women’s participation in the just concluded 2023 elections Caritas Justice and Peace Commission, Cecilia Bintu Sesay, said International Youth Day is commemorated every year on 12 August, bringing youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society.
She said as part commemorating this year’s International Youth Day Caritas Freetown Justice and Peace Commission, in collaboration with Trocaire and Agiamonde decided to engaged young people within the Calaba Town community on the importance of commemorating the International Youth Day.
Cecilia Bintu Sesay maintained that as part of the event they are using the opportunity to engage them as young people to see the need to maintain peace in their community especially after the just concluded elections that has left so many grievances among citizens.
The Civil Peace Servant at Caritas Freetown Justice and Peace Commission, Tobias Max Grosse, expressed appreciation to all attendees for their presence. He highlighted their role as the foundation of peace within their respective communities.
He referred to the earlier exercise as a reminder that diverse perspectives on peace and conflict exist, but unity, togetherness, harmony, and collective responsibility are crucial for nurturing lasting peace. He encouraged participants to continue their efforts in promoting peaceful structures.
Against the backdrop of the 2023 general elections, the event underscored the youth’s pivotal role in upholding peace within their communities. Through discussions, exercises, and candid reflections, the youth demonstrated their commitment to conflict management and resolution. The event’s poignant message centered around unity as a cornerstone of enduring peace. As the celebration concluded, it left an indelible mark: the youth possess the power to cultivate harmonious communities and pave the way for a more peaceful world.