YOUTHS AND PEACE PROCESSES IN CAMEROON: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
This study attempts a succinct conflict assessment and stakeholders mapping to design a roadmap highlighting the challenges, opportunities and key recommendations for an effective peace process in Cameroon while capturing the role of young people in the process.
This research initiative builds and benefits primarily on the “Building Peace project” championed by Local Youth Corner Cameroon which mobilized 35 young people from conflict-affected regions to strengthen their capacity and brought together government, UN Agencies, international organizations and diplomatic missions to develop a road map for youth participation in the peace process in Cameroon. Within six months, this initiative trained 600 young people in 4 regions and 20 communities, led advocacy on radio and in schools on youths and peace processes. Over 5000 people were reached and a National Youth Mediator Network consisting of the first cohort of 17 youth mediators (13 Male and 5 Female) was developed. Similarly, the study is inspired by the findings of the “Missing Peace: Independent Progress Study Report on Youth Peace and Security” and the “We Are Here An integrated approach to youth-inclusive peace processes” publications.
Chapter 1 presents the definitions of key terms such as peace process and violent conflict. It equally presents the dimensions of existing peace processes and violent conflicts in Cameroon. Chapter 2 provides an in-depth reflection of how young Cameroonians have been participating in peace processes in the room, around the room and outside the room. Chapter 3 identifies limited platforms for youth participation in peace processes; negative perceptions about young peacebuilders; absence of legislation and pussyfooting in the implementation of legal instruments; lack of financial resources for youths to undertake peace processes; uncertainty surrounding the fate of youths involved in peace processes; and the political manipulation of youths in peace processes as some of the challenges to youth participation in the peace process in Cameroon. Likewise, the chapter identifies some opportunities for youth participation in peace processes such as bulging youth demography; the rise of youth peacebuilding civil society organisations and networks; a conducive socio-economic environment; improved perception of the role of youths in peace processes; and the existence/creation of youth-focused institutions. Chapter 4 proposes recommendations to enhance youth participation in the peace process. Among the recommendations, Young people call on the need for training more youth mediators and the adoption of legislation on youth, peace and security in Cameroon wherein the role of young Cameroonians in peace processes is clearly defined at all levels is key.
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