Over the past few months, increased violence in Mopti cast a shadow on peace and stability across Mali, urging civil society, the Malian government, and the international community to expand their focus to the central regions of the country. These groups have begun to examine a broader picture of conflictual trends affecting the population, particularly youth.
At Search, we believe that all members of the community must be heard in order to craft a truly stable and peaceful society. If young girls and boys are provided with an opportunity to understand the conflicts affecting them and allowed to voice their perspectives, they can become key partners towards increased stability and security.
In partnership with the youth-led organisation Association des Jeunes Contre l’Enrolement dans le Terrorisme (Association of Youth Against Enrollment in Terrorism, AJCET), and with funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, we have launched a project to provide young people with a platform to contribute to the implementation of the Peace Agreement across Central Mali. Since the situation in Mopti started to deteriorate, little space has been given to young people to reflect on local conflict dynamics. This project aims at giving tools to young men and women to take the lead in finding solutions to their collective problems.
The main component of the project is a research initiative to improve local understanding of the conflict. With AJCET, we have selected a group of young leaders to lead the research and will be supporting them in analyzing data collected from their neighborhoods. We will compile and lead the writing of the research, based on discussions and workshops with young participants. The findings will be used to design subsequent projects. This research will be a key tool to encourage relationships between youth and other key stakeholders – including women, youth and religious leaders, security forces representatives, and civil society actors – and will help to find innovative solutions.
The project is implemented across five sub-provinces in Central Mali (Badiangara, Douentza, Djenne, Youwarou, and Tenenkou) and is comprised of 15 youth researchers trained in conflict transformation, conflict-sensitive data collection, the Common Ground Approach, gender-sensitivity, and leadership.