Children and Young People Living for Peace (CYPLP), Nigeria
Children and Young People Living for Peace (CYPLP) is a youth-focused, not for profit, voluntary movement in Nigeria. We work with the other youths, informal and formal youth groups and through youth groups in local disadvantaged communities. We defend and protect the rights of the vulnerable, provide water, toilets and hygiene in slums. This enables social justice to the most adversely affected by poverty. Youth are also empowered as active citizens whose individual and collective actions address challenges in their local communities and start the process of positive change.
CYPLP seeks to present veritable platforms of engagement for youth and by youth in hard to reach local communities in Nigeria and across Africa.
To situate some of the work that Children and Young People Living for Peace does and its impact in the community here is a specific example. In 2011, there was a violent crisis that erupted after the presidential election which later turned into an ethno-religious crisis. Many lives were lost and property destroyed. Building on the past experience, before the 2015 Presidential election, we began to organize focus group discussions with youth in violence prone areas to know what could easily drive them into violence during election. From the result of the focus group discussions, we began to build social programs like football competitions between confli
cting communities to build familiarization and teach tolerance through sport. We started awareness programs through the use of stickers and flyers to promote youth against election violence including road walks and media interviews. Youth groups were invited for peace stakeholders meeting where peace accords were signed. And within those communities we worked through for the campaign, those communities did not record election violence before, during and after the presidential election in 2015 unlike the previous. We learnt a lesson from it; that youth engagement should be a continuum if we want a peaceful world.
Like most community engagement work, this one has its own challenges as well. When we first started the engagement with youths, they demanded money to get their attention; money that we did not have. We resulted in using the volunteers who are local in these communities as a link and a means of recruiting more volunteers. These volunteers were instrumental in penetrating target groups. The local volunteers were involved from conception to development and implementation of all the programs we carried out for wider acceptability.