Resilience strategies to counter youth violence in Africa
Despite the growing interest in public affairs in Africa, young people (who represent more than 60% of the population) are often excluded from the management of public affairs and especially from economic opportunities. This is particularly true for young women. This situation generates violence among these youth, who tend to engage in illicit activities, join armed groups, and participate in violent radicalism and extremism. Moreover, some youth exploit and mobilize an appearance of “community belonging” to promote mobilization, thereby fostering conflict and instability.
In this context, little knowledge is available that could be used to develop more inclusive policies that would keep young people away from these circles of violence. To meet this challenge, under the coordination of the Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security in Belgium, a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will conduct studies with the goal of producing objective knowledge about youth resilience strategies in the face of new socio-political violence. The knowledge will be used by national and local actors and public structures in charge of youth issues in Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo to develop effective public policies, programs, and strategies for controlling and preventing socio-political violence associated with youth.
They will apply a mixed and comparative methodology that involves collecting primary and secondary data among young men and women (18-35 years) in areas characterized by a high concentration of young people who are jobless but active in social, cultural, and/or political organizations. The research will clarify and document the dynamics of social resilience and innovation of marginalized youth that are faced with the burden of social exclusion and political and economic injustice, with a particular focus on women. These results will be used to suggest tools, approaches, and strategies that will better integrate youth and their priorities into public policy and program development processes, ultimately increasing stability in a largely unfavourable context marked by the emergence of violent extremism in Burkina Faso and the persistence of conflicts in the DRC.