The Africa Peace Summit held from 17-19 October 2016 with the theme: “Nurturing a culture of peace” and brought together over 150 youths across Africa to discuss issues of peace from a multi-faceted perspective.
As key partners of the summit, the African Youth Movement had 9 AYMers present and hosted a side event on the theme “The Role of the Media in Peacebuilding”. With over 30 participants at our side event, we discussed media’s role in peacebuilding from 4 sub-themes divided into groups which included:
- Countering Violent Extremism
- Gender Based Violence
- Social and Political Youth Movements
- Governance and Elections.
Henry Molinge from Cameroon opened the side event with a session on inner peace and meditation after which Finland Benard from Tanzania took to the stage with introduction to the African Youth Movement (our goals, mission, membership, committees and impact across Africa and the diaspora). Daniel Nwaeze from Nigeria did an introduction on the roles of the media in peacebuilding, guiding participants into discussing and developing action plans along the sub-themes.
In the discussion, the social and political movement group facilitated by Lebo Shikwambe from South Africa a Vox News presenter and key member of the #FeesMustFall movement developed concepts to change the narratives on how youth movements are seen and will be developing video and social media campaigns along with AYM media team to promote this.
The governance and elections group was facilitated by AYM Chairwoman Aya Chebbi from Tunisia. The group discussed the challenge of electoral violence across Africa and the role of youth in monitoring elections, raising awareness and changing the narrative.
The countering violent extremism group facilitated by Daniel Nwaeze from Nigeria developed concepts to change media narratives of violence in Africa, countering violent extremism and develop projects towards them. The starting action point being a partnership between AYM and Global Unites (a youth-led peacebuilding organization).
The gender based violence group facilitated by AYM Committee on Education Chairwoman Aminata Siahoue from Ivory Coast; discussed gender representation in reporting, neglect of vulnerable people during conflicts and how to create awareness on gender violence related issues including a road map to improve it.
In all, our goal was to expose participants to basic action steps they can individually and collectively take in their various communities across Africa using media tools available to them in stopping the increasing rate of violence as well as using our networks to develop projects in countering extremism, building peace and influencing how media tells Africa’s story. We are firmly convinced that the youth are agents of peace not perpetrators of violence and are key players in peace processes as recognized by the UNSCR 2250 and the AU Agenda 2063.