Pan African Youth Union (PYU) has called on African leaders to encourage youths in Somalia to champion youth-led peace initiatives as part of efforts to encourage them to abandon acts of terrorism.
Delegates from the Pan African Youth Union who concluded a three-day official visit to Somalia on Thursday also urged African leaders to engage youth in governance and peace initiatives as part of efforts to bring cohesion in the Horn of African nation.
“I have seen hope in the young people of this country, I have seen the will to change their country and they need support,” PYU President Francine Furaha Muyumba said in a statement issued in Mogadishu on Friday by AU mission.
“They need to participate in governance, they need to be given hope, they have the right to dream and to dream big for change in Somalia,” Muyumba added. The team arrived in Somalia on Tuesday at the invitation of Somalia government.
The delegates from Kenya, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo held talks with Somali youth. They also addressed a youth conference on entrepreneurship.
“We need to see how we can have a special fund for Somali youth in entrepreneurship, to give hope to these young people, to show them that life is also important and things can be done differently,” said Muyumba who was impressed with youth-led peace initiatives.
Deputy Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson in Somalia (DSRCC) Hon. Lydia Wanyoto described the visit by the Pan African Union as critical in encouraging Somali youth to abandon acts of terrorism and radicalization.
“Bringing to Somalia young people from other countries who have made a difference, gone to school, who have other ideas to contribute to the development of their countries is very important,” Wanyoto said.
Wanyoto said the presence of the young delegates during Somalia’s ongoing electoral process was important and sent a message to the elders to begin integrating young people in governance structures.
The youth delegation also met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who emphasized his commitment to enhancing conditions for youth in Somalia.