Young people and conflict

Young people rarely initiate conflict, yet are often the worst affected. In many conflict-affected countries, they form the majority of the population, and represent the future of society.

Addressing the needs and aspirations of young people is a core part of our work – and working with our local partners we have seen how young people around the world are charting creative and innovative ways to build peace – driving real change in their communities.

Youth for peace

Including young people in political, social and economic structures is vital for ensuring strong and resilient societies, and ensuring that young people have alternatives to violence.

In early 2019, Peace Direct has created ‘Youth Action for Peace‘ – an innovative three-year project working with local partners in CAR, DR Congo, Mali, and Pakistan. The project aims to empower youth-led civil society organisations and youth groups to collaborate and lead their own peacebuilding initiatives work, while at the same time creating spaces and opportunities for their voices to be heard at the local and national level.

Through mapping and analysis, we will identify current peacebuilding work and opportunities for collaboration. Working with key hub organisations in CAR, DR Congo, Mali, and Pakistan, we will then distribute small grants to fund community groups to run their own initiatives – supporting youth peacebuilders to run their own peacebuilding work.

In April 2019, we launched our ‘Youth and Peacebuilding‘ report, part of our series of ‘Local Voices for Peace’ reports, in collaboration with UNOY Peacebuilders. The report was a result of a three day online consultation in April 2019 to explore the different, innovative ways in which local young peacebuilders are advancing youth inclusion in political and peacebuilding processes in their contexts. For key insights and policy recommendations to enhance youth inclusion in peacebuilding processes, read the report.


Where we work

Central African Republic

In CAR, we work with Uru, a youth-led organisation working to build bridges between youth and decision-makers in a society traditionally led by elders. Their work aims to support, promote and develop young Central African leaders, helping them to become effective and active members of their community, and to highlight the work of thousands of active and motivated young people who are working to improve their communities on the local level, through sustainable peacebuilding and development work.


In Pakistan, we work with Aware Girls, who support young women and men to understand and exercise their rights.  But this is not the only story. We support two local female activists and their organisations, Aware Girls, to educate men and women about their rights, support them to vote and stand up to violence.


In Nigeria we support the Peace Initiative Network (PIN) who work with young people through sports and skills training, and ‘Peace Clubs’ for 10-25 year olds. PIN’s activities draw young people from all different religions and backgrounds to discuss the violence that affects them and their country. Young people learn to work together and gain leadership and teamwork skills that helps build their futures as critical and engaged young people.


In Somalia, with limited options for education and employment, young people remain potential recruits to various armed militia groups. We work with local partner SADO to train young people in skills or livelihoods as a practical alternative to joining militant groups. SADO works closely with government institutions, hospitals, universities, and the private and public sectors to secure job placements for students following their training.

Other issues we tackle