Being and Becoming a Peacebuilder

Insights from 20,000 hours of youth-led dialogues in the Horn of Africa

Submission to the Progress Study on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security

“Being and Becoming a Peacebuilder” puts forward key insights and recommendations inspired from an analysis of a conflict transformation methodology, called Sustained Dialogue. The Life & Peace Institute has been implementing Sustained Dialogue processes, with nearly 8,500 young women and men, in Ethiopia and Sudan within university settings since 2009 and 2013 respectively, and in Kenya in urban informal settlements in the capital, Nairobi, and in marginalised urban and rural areas in the north-eastern part of the country since 2016.

Across these three contexts diverse young women and men face compounded, entrenched socio-political and socio-economic dynamics of marginalisation. This deep-rooted exclusion further hinders youth’s meaningful inclusion and participation in decision-making processes, and specifically in peace processes

A fundamental challenge to youth’s meaningful inclusion in peace and security efforts is the narrow and homogenizing definition “youth” – thus obscuring the multiplicity and complexity of young women and men’s identities.

Building on lessons and insights gleaned from 20,000 hours of youth-led dialogues, this study primarily focuses on echoing and relaying the voices of diverse young women and men with whom the Life & Peace Institute and its partners have engaged, in order to be genuinely true to local experiences across the Horn of Africa.

From this evidence base, the Life & Peace Institute and its partners have articulated four main insights. These four insights and resulting implications for the Youth, Peace and Security agenda constitute building blocks for recommendations towards making Pillar 1 – Participation, and Pillar 2 – Prevention in UNSCR 2250 operable. The insights, which are described more fully together with broader implications and actor-and level-specific recommendations.