As Burundi gears up for elections next year and the threat of further unrest, the Anglican Church has been helping prepare its young people to promote peace and reconciliation.
Young people under 15 make up almost half of Burundi’s total population, and with high unemployment they are viewed as vulnerable to all sorts of manipulation in a volatile political situation.
The Anglican Church of Burundi aims to address some of the social issues and challenges they face by helping empower young people through training.
Some 15,000 young people are being trained by the Church to act as pair-educators in their communities. Advocating peaceful ways of overcoming differences and problems.
A spokesperson said: “The training focused on identifying the potential that young people have and how they can use it to promote peace and reconciliation. By initiating common activities young people create a platform where they can discuss social matters that are relevant to the community and seek together to discover appropriate ways they can contribute to solving problems.”
Elections are due to take place in 2020 and the church states that past experience of elections in Burundi has shown that young people have had an important role to play, but have also been prone to becoming victims of manipulation.
The church training sessions aim to help young people through capacity building in social cohesion and peace building so that they are able to act as peace makers in their communities.