Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fostering Peace and Security in West Africa: Meet The Youth Partnership for Peace and Development – Sierra Leone

Sunday, October 16, 2011
Who we are

The Youth Partnership for Peace and Development - Sierra Leone (YPPD-SL) is a voluntary and non-profit youth-led development organization working directly with development partners across the world. Established in 2005, the organisation is staffed by a group of young proactive youths who are convinced that development does not lie in the hands of the elderly alone, but also in those of the youths. 

The overarching goal of YPPD is to contribute to the endeavors of supporting youth development, peaceful conflict resolution, stability and sustainable development and peace and democracy in Sierra Leone. YPPD works to increase the capacity of vulnerable groups through training, partnership, advocacy, enhancing youth knowledge base and equipping them with livelihood skills. It is a platform for diverse kinds of actions committed to engaging key stakeholders at different levels of development across the country.  

With our vision, we develop insight from the daily struggles of our fellow young people who are marginalized and voiceless in the communities they live in. This initiative is entirely managed for and by young people in Sierra Leone, which we consider as a novelty in the lives of every young person trying to make a change. 

Our Strategic Focus

Our strategic programme areas include youth enterprise development, access to justice, gender empowerment through education and training, geared towards increasing youth capacity and knowledge in enjoyment of their human rights, fundamental freedoms and participation in decision-making processes that affect their lives. 

Core activities

Our mandate requires that we focus on the following four strategic areas;
  1. Youth Participation 
  2. Youth Enterprise Development 
  3. Youth Networks and Governance 
  4. Youth Education and Training. 
Source: YPPD, Community Solutions Program Fellows
  1. Since the organization's inception in Sierra Leone, the dedication of its Board, staff and volunteers have immensely contributed towards the following achievements; 
  2. Active involvement in the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings and testimony gathering processes for the final launch of the Report in 2006, 
  3. YPPD has also worked with various partners including Democracy Sierra Leone, National Democratic Institute and the International Foundation for Elections Systems in the electioneering processes in Sierra Leone in 2007 and 2008, 
  4. Establishment of Regional Focal Points for YPPD in Sierra Leone, 
  5. International Youth Days Events 2007 to date, 
  6. With supports from institutions like the Alert Fund in the Netherlands, United Nations Development Program and other institutions like GCAP, YPPD has been playing key roles towards the commemoration of the day like: Youth Dialogue Forums and Processions which usually attract thousands of youths across the country. 
  7. With supports from the UNDP Africa Office, the organization launched a campaign on MDGs No. 3 and No. 5 in Sierra Leone on 9th April 2009 which brought together government representatives, CSOs, NGOs and faith-based organizations, across Freetown. 
Engagement with the African Union 
  1. Africa-EU Dialogue: The Africa-EU Strategic Partnership, a Joint Africa-EU Strategy CSO Consultation in Nairobi, where YPPD was well represented, 
  2. YPPD sent a delegate to the Technical Experts Meeting on the African Volunteer Corps Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, from 17-19 July 2008. This is a follow-up to the two Experts meetings held in Nigeria and Senegal in 2007, 
  3. Through the Commission of the African Union and CIDO, an Experts Workshop on Mapping of African Civil Society Organizations was convened where YPPD was invited in Nairobi, Kenya, from 29-31 May 2009, 
  4. Youth Rep at the International Conference on renewable Energy for Africa, jointly organized by the African Union, UNIDO, German Foreign Ministry, and the government of Senegal in 2008, 
  5. Accredited by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to designate three delegates to the UNCATAD XII in Accra Ghana 2008, 
  6. The organization also participated in the Turkish–African CSO Forum under the title of "Cooperation and Development", which was organized by TASAM (Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies) African Institute in Grand Cevahir Convention Center, Istanbul – Turkey on 14–16 August 2008, 
  7. In January 2008 the organization was nominated by the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) to the West African GCAP Planning Forum in Burkina Faso, where the YPPD delegate was among the seven–man team that delivered a communiqué to the Government of Burkina Faso, 
  8. In reflecting young people's interest in financing for development, YPPD was accredited by the Real Aid Network to participate in the Aid effectiveness forum and High Levels in Accra Ghana in September 2008. 

The challenges vary from adequate human resource base or capacity building to lack of funds, limited/less political will to implement projects or activities.

Lessons Learnt 

YPPD Sierra Leone is inspired by the conviction that volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges worldwide. Everyone can contribute their time, skills and knowledge through volunteer action and their combined efforts can be a significant force for achieving peace and development. Volunteering makes important economic and social contributions, contributing to a more cohesive society by building trust and reciprocity among citizens. It can be both challenging and rewarding and require you to use your skills in a new context. You can also transfer useful knowledge while gaining a greater understanding of the issues affecting other people. 

Best Practices Developed

YPPD's activities are dedicated to enabling young people discover their tremendous talents and untapped energy so as to become productive and well-informed global citizens. YPPD also believes that encouraging the development of creativity in young people will in turn result in their ability to make the social changes needed for a more independent and safer future. We do this through; 
  1. Policy advocacy and lobbying, 
  2. Campaigns using Multimedia and creative approaches such as documentary and film production, 
  3. Inclusive and participatory models of planning and implementation, 
  4. Research and documentation, 
  5. Outreach to marginalized communities, 
  6. Environmental campaigns, 
  7. Promotion and development of Life-Skills for vulnerable youths, 
  8. Training in leadership skills. 
Find out more about The Youth Partnership for Peace and Development – Sierra Leone HERE.

Editorial Team.
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