Youth Agency and Peacebuilding: An Analysis of the Role of Formal and Non-Formal Education
This Synthesis Report aims to understand the ways in which the agency of youth – or their ‘space for manoeuvre’ – is impacted (or not) through a range of formal and non- formal education interventions, and how this enables or restricts young peoples ability to contribute to processes of peacebuilding and social cohesion, either in political, socio-cultural or economic ways. It combines a focus on youth agency, peace building and education – an intersection that is often not addressed simultaneously. Recognising education’s potential to enhance or undermine processes of sustainable peacebuilding and social cohesion, this report brings together a focus on the role of formal and non-formal education initiatives that are available to (some) youth in four conflict-affected countries: Myanmar, Pakistan, South Africa and Uganda. In addressing these issues the report aims to provide useful analysis and reflection for a range of audiences including scholars, practitioners and other professionals working in youth-related policy and programming as well as youth themselves, whose voice is too frequently marginalized.
- Youth need to be understood in a relational perspective and as a heterogeneous group with various (marginalized, or more elite) groups
- Education can and is doing harm as well as good –Education is not a panacea for peace of itself
- Need for reform of formal education to support youth’s socio-cultural, political and economic needs.
- Redistribution/economic-focused approaches alone do not serve all (socio-cultural, political and economic) aspects of youth agency.
- Holistic, relevant education (formal/non-formal) is an urgent demand from young people. Furthermore, narrow technical framings of the role of education undermine opportunity to support youth agency in peacebuilding processes
- Potential to harness youth agency for peacebuilding is un-recognized and under-supported –often a lack of political will.
- Further research and systematic evaluation is needed