Civil Peace Service: Afghan youth for peace
Title: Civil Peace Service: Afghan youth for peace / Social Integration of IDP Youth
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Overall term: 2020 to 2021
In Afghanistan, much has been done in the past nineteen years, in which the NATO has been present and further foreign donors tried to strengthen state structures as well as the civil society. Establishing sustainable peace and democratic development are, however, long-term processes that still need to be achieved. Organisations with good governance and development of democracy mandates focus heavily on working towards them. However, the ongoing violence prevents these actions from being sustainably successful.
In Afghanistan, the unemployment rate is still high. Hundreds of young men and women graduate each year from private and governmental universities and complete vocational training which is mostly provided by international organizations and donors in a cooperation with the government, but there is no market, which can offer them employment. The economic situation of the people has not improved; the national poverty rate has increased from 38 per cent in 2011/2012 to 55 per cent in 2016/2017. Slow economic growth and a deteriorating security situation are two causes for this development.
Violence against women is ongoing and child marriage still is an unresolved problem. In Afghanistan, people mostly use traditional methods led by elders in order to deal with conflicts and to solve community problems. To a great extent violence is still used for solving problems.
Afghanistan is one of the countries, in which young people represent 60 per cent of the population. Many of them suffer from the consequences of ubiquitous violence in the past and present. Moreover, youth in Afghanistan finds fewer and fewer opportunities to learn how to cope with stress and hopelessness, how to express oneself and how to foster self-confidence. Children and teenagers often do not understand the political causes of the civil war but believe that ethnic and religious differences are directly responsible for it. They are thus unable to break free of their prejudices and remain trapped by political manipulation, which can force them into racism and bigotry.
Afghan youth contributes to finding peaceful solutions to community conflicts. They help restore the social fabric and have a voice in society. They are role models for positive changes in their communities.
The aim of the Afghan youth for peace / Social Integration of IDP Youth programme is to interlink achieved impacts of previous CPS activities and to further promote their sustainability. The Civil Peace Service (CPS) supports its partner organisations “Afghan Youth for Peace” and “Social Integration of Young Internally Displaced Persons” in order to strengthen the capacity for self-determination of Afghan youth (empowerment). Young men and women undergo trainings to promote the skills that are fundamental for the establishment of non-violent relations: active listening, forging trust, understanding one's own emotions such as anger and fear, and being able to learn new forms of behaviour. The programme further supports them in developing new concepts about the roles of the sexes.
The current programme builds on the previous measures both in its impact logic and in the approaches being used. In addition, a strong link between the target groups is to be established.
Talented young people in social communities and in the informal settling of IDPs (internally displaced persons), are encouraged to actively assume social responsibility and democratic leadership. Young people who stand up for the human rights of one and another receive trainings on how to cooperate constructively with the authorities in order to advocate people's interests. Groups that aim to overcome ethnic and religious divides are supported in dialogue processes.
Awareness is being raised among local politicians, civil servants, police officers, community elders, mullahs and journalists about the rights and concerns of young people. CPS also promotes the nationwide networking of young people through social media. To implement these activities, CPS runs two offices. In order to cover activities in the capital, Badakhshan and Takhar one office is located in Kabul. The second office lays in Mazar-e-Sharif. Teams of national CPS experts are based in these offices to advise and support Afghan organisations and youth groups.
The project is part of the BMZ Special Initiative on ‘Tackling the root causes of displacement, establishing host regions, supporting refugees’.
Between 2004 and 2019, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH’s CPS programme for promoting peace and working towards peaceful conflict resolution in Afghanistan has achieved the following results:
Results 2004 - 2014
- Theatre performances were used to refute enemy stereotypes between neighbouring ethnic and religious groups.
- Peace caravans brought together people from the north and south of the country.
- A curriculum for peace education that was created with support from CPS is now being introduced to teacher training programmes for over 20,000 teachers.
- Activists at 20 Afghani universities have been linked with each other, and are working to establish ‘Peace’ as a subject for study.
Results 2015 - 2019
- More than 1,000 young males and females received trainings on Life and Leadership Skills. By receiving these trainings, it is assumed that they will be able to communicate effectively, to cope with stress, to have control on their emotions and to do constrictive advocacy for their rights and the right of their society.
- Support for gender equality has become widespread, particularly in the young generation.
- Traditional community councils (shuras) have been trained in conflict resolution, and are promoting children's rights.
- Media professionals have a greater awareness of their influence on the course of conflicts. During the presidential elections of 2014, the mass media played a key role in encouraging high voter turnout and in easing conflicts between the political factions.
- Youth via the workshops/trainings provided by CPS, has learned to serve other youth groups by transferring the knowledge they have learned during the training sessions with CPS.
- Young groups to implement the life skills and peace building training on behalf of CPS have been established in Samangan, Takhar and Badakhshan.
- Peace Journalism has been introduced to the Balkh University and is now a credited subject in the faculty of journalism.
- Theatre of the Oppressed was introduced to the faculty of fine arts at Kabul University and is now being taught as a subject in the third and fourth semester.
- More than 1,500 people received trainings on conflict resolution in 10 districts of Mazar. Young activists who were trained by the CPS programme held these workshops.
- Three editions of Pacha Khan (a non-violent Afghan activist) books were printed and distributed especially among the young generation In order to develop a culture of nonviolent combat among society.