Burundi: Official launch of the Great Lakes Youth Network for Dialogue and Peace project in Bujumbura on 18 January 2023

Blaise Ndola
Blaise Ndola
Published: Jan. 31, 2023

In the presence of government delegations, leaders of youth organizations, civil society actors, representatives of the European Union delegation and the project team, the Great Lakes Youth Network for Dialogue and Peace. Our Diversity-our-Opportunity! project was officially launched on 18 January 2023 in Bujumbura. Starting November 2022 the project will cover 5 countries with 105 youth initiatives as direct beneficiaries.

The Great Lakes Youth Network for Dialogue and Peace is a consortium of six non-governmental organizations: Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Germany), Pole Institute (DRC), Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle (Rwanda), Cornerstone Development Africa (Uganda & Burundi), LéO Africa Institute (Uganda) and Actions for Democracy and Local Governance (Tanzania). The project aims to contribute to peace and stability in the region of the great lakes by directly promoting the active, cooperative, sustainable, and positive role of more than 100 youth initiatives and creating a strong network between them.

“The official launch ceremony of the project offered a platform to highlight the project, to introduce the project objectives and framework to the stakeholders in Burundi and increase its visibility to the public. A participatory approach was used, and was encouraging participants to actively ask questions, make comments and contribute to the panel discussions, so that participants remained interested to the event and, ready to learn more about project at the same time as contributing to the ideas provided by the presenters.’’

Isaac Nininahazwe, National Coordinator, Burundi.

During the ceremony held at City Hill Hotel in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, the various speakers, through a panel, took the opportunity to convey very important messages to the young people and others present in the room and to the more than 16,000 people who followed the ceremony online. The Cornerstone Development Africa office in Burundi will coordinate the project activities in the last year, as it has the necessary resources and experience after coordinating the same activities in Uganda for two years now.

For the Government delegate and the head of the National Youth Council, it was an opportunity to inform young people of the opportunities that the Government has set up for the benefit of young people and the opportunities available to young people within the Community of East African States. Taking advantage of the same opportunity, the head of the National Youth Council returned to the challenges faced by young Burundians such as access to quality education, employment as well as the financing of different types of projects.

On the other hand, the Delegation of the European Union appreciated the efforts of Burundi Youth for the development of their country and reminded them of the very important role it should play, in synergy with young people from other countries of the Great Lakes region, to consolidate peace in Burundi and the region. She then reaffirmed the willingness of the European Union to accompany and support these youth but also to work with the Burundian government to support its efforts to develop the education sector, a major pillar of development.

The five youth initiatives who will now participate in this project, through their representatives, did not miss the opportunity to thank all the partners represented at the ceremony and reaffirmed their determination to contribute to the consolidation of peace and the promotion of dialogue through the networks being built by the project.

The project was officially launched in Burundi by its Director and Resident Representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in the DRC, Mr. Jakob Kerstan. He took the opportunity to congratulate the 5 initiatives of the young people selected for the work they are already doing in their communities and take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the project, in this last year, around its 3 pillars; capacity building, advocacy and networking. He then thanked the Burundian government for its initiatives for the benefit of Youth and the European Union for its work in Burundi.

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