POLICY BRIEF: Achieving Youth Peace and Security (YPS) in Cameroon: The Role of Intergenerational Dialogue
Cameroon in recent years has experienced an increase in its youth population. Being a youth in Cameroon means an individual should be between 15 to 35 years old. This implies that, while there is this increase in the youth population, there is an increase in young people transitioning into older adults. Interestingly, these two groups usually hold divergent perspectives about life and how to relate to one another. As noted by Gadsden and Dixon-Roma, these diverging perspectives often trigger stereotypes and assumptions about the other group.
This growth in the youth population shows how important it is to create more spaces for young people to participate in social and political change. The global agenda on Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 recognizes young people as key drivers for meaningful and impactful social change.
It’s undeniable that young people’s commitment and diverse course of action in Cameroon over the years have greatly contributed to ensuring a safe, secure, and prosperous nation. Being a youth in the last decades in Cameroon has been very transformational. Young Cameroon through social movement has become a key partner in implementing global instruments for the peace and development of the country. According to a youth civil society leader, the adoption of global instruments to promote youth participation in peacebuilding has greatly inspired his actions. Nevertheless, many young people hold that to lead in this process effectively, there is a need to interact, learn, and share their perspectives with the older generation to attain sustainable peace in Cameroon. In line with this perspective, the Cameroon government, through the Ministry of Youth and Civic Education (MINJEC), established a National Commission on Youth Peace and Security (YPS) to accompany and provide intergenerational mentorship to young peacebuilders across Cameroon.
To this end, the views, perspectives, and engagement of adults are instrumental in shaping and enhancing youth participation in Cameroon. Considering that being a youth is a transitory state, the young people of today will be the adults of tomorrow, while the adults of today were the youths of yesterday. Intergenerational partnership, learning, and mentorship remain important in advancing the youth agenda.
During the opening ceremony of the first Intergenerational Dialogue on Youth Peace and Security, the Cameroonian Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education reaffirmed the need for collaboration between adults and youths to work together to achieve sustainable peace in his opening remarks. As noted by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, it is critical to promote dialogue between young people and adults from different walks of life towards implementing youth peace and security. With a strengthened commitment to building peace through youth participation, young Cameroonians have shown huge interest in working with adults from different works of life towards promoting sustainable peace. This youth commitment is enshrined in the Cameroon National Youth Policy.
The objective of this brief is thus to reflect on the primacy of intergenerational dialogue toward enhancing the YPS Agenda in Cameroon. Unlike conventional dialogue processes, intergenerational dialogue seeks to build trust and understanding amongst different generations in tackling and facilitating the rehabilitation of individuals in society.
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ACHALEKE Christian Leke