A hopeless population is a dangerous one

by Dr Alan Channer

The Symposium had an inter-generational dimension.  Two younger women gave energized presentations on empowering youth. 

Ms Fatma Ahmed spoke about ‘Somalia – empowering formerly radicalized youth for a better future’. She concluded that ‘we need to promote Somali-led interventions to include inter-generational dialogue, trauma healing and community responsibility leading to a holistic and healed society. Only this will empower Somali youth for a better future.’

Carine Umutoniwase, of Footprints for Change Africa, addressed the question of ‘Empowering youth in Kenya’. Umutoniwase said the challenges facing youth are ‘poor leadership, corruption, fragmentation, generational wounds and unhealed memories’. She spoke of bringing about motivational change with peer-to-peer dialogues in high-density areas, where hopelessness, substance abuse and joblessness are pervasive.  Umutoniwase noted that a ‘hopeless population is a dangerous one.’

There was unanimity that healing and reconciling wounded memories is a vital dimension that is very often missing from peacebuilding initiatives and progammes. 

Rev Kobia highlighted a verse from Revelation: ‘And the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of nations.’  

It was pointed out that each person is a like a unique leaf with a unique contribution to make to society - and to the healing of nations.