A pilot training program for Young Volunteers on Peace and Global Citizenship

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BanlieueUp Members

From December 6-8, 2019, a training on "Education for Peace and Global Citizenship of Adolescents, Youth in Senegal and the sub-region" took place in Guédiawaye, a suburb of Dakar. 

The initiative for this activity came from BanlieueUP, an association of young male and female volunteers, committed to contributing to the socio-economic development of the suburbs of Dakar.

"The vision of BanlieueUP is to contribute to ensuring that suburbs become spaces of well-being and prosperity for their populations by 2030." El Hadji Abou Gueye, President of BanlieueUP. 

Within the framework of Target 4.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNESCO Dakar and IFEF (Institut de la francophonie pour l’education) joined with BanlieueUP to organize a pilot training event with the aims of increasing understanding of the local and global environmental and social challenges facing youth and providing them with the information and tools they will need for becoming agents of peace and global citizenship and leaders in their own communities. 

Out of 200 candidates, between the ages of 18 and 35, 32 were selected to the pilot training event, based upon their motivation towards deepening their knowledge of the pressing issues facing youth and their commitment towards building networks in order to take action in their communities and in Senegal. The selection also sought gender-equality and resulted in a final group composed of 16 women and 16 men.

The event’s program included skills training, discussion, a slam competition and planning of further action.

Self-awareness, knowledge and skills for sustainable development

Throughout the training, the participants were encouraged to speak-up and share their knowledge and ideas. 

“Only by listening to the concerns of these young people can we develop global citizenship and sustainable development education contents and methodologies that are contextualised and respond to their needs and to the specific forms of exclusion that many of them experience.” Mathilde Stoleroff, UNESCO Dakar

 On the first day, participants were given training in competencies on how to:

  • Speak in public;
  • Work effectively with diverse groups;
  • Build networks;
  • Provide and receive constructive criticism;
  • ​Adhere to rules of coexistence and mutual respect; 

Activity “turn the blanket” pushed the groups to identify a leader and to work collaboratively and efficiently in a group as quickly as possible to reach a common goal. 

“This activity touched me a lot because it reminded me that what one can do alone, one can do it even better together.” Awa Diatta, 24 years, Guédiaweye

The importance of harmony between humans and nature in West Africa

Throughout the second day, participants engaged in discussions of the cultural, historic and scientific relationships between humans and nature in West Africa. They highlighted how the interaction between humans and their natural environment is expressed in local languages, cultural and spiritual practices and the discussion was enhanced by the participants’ special ability to relate issues to their social backgrounds.

Hearing the voice of the youth through Slam

Poetry slam, an art form combining traditional poetry with story-telling, songwriting and rhythm, is a powerful awareness-raising tool that enables urban youth to express themselves.

As part of the training, participants held a slam competition that resulted in beautiful and powerful performances. The creators of the 15 most-voted slams will take part in a workshop to create a slam that will come to represent the vision of peace and global citizenship of the 32 participants.

Action now

The third day was dedicated to triggering action. Each one of the participants spoke about existing environmental challenges in their own neighbourhoods and, together, they found possible solutions to promote change in their communities.

Following this training, participants have already formed a group, “Servir ensemble” and drafted an action plan, to be implemented by February 2020, to create a small public green space where young people can gather near a school in the Dakar suburb area of Pikine.

The ultimate objective of the initiative is to create a movement of young volunteers for peace and global citizenship in the West African region. Various other training sessions on rule of law and global citizenship are envisaged for 2020.