Peacebuilding projects are often designed to intersect with other objectives (economic development, education, etc.). In some environments, such as Lebanon, a former Chief of Party advocates an "indirect approach" to peacebuilding, engaging youth of different ethnic groups in vocational training and other civic projects. In other cases, cross-sectoral programming may simply be more cost effective or logical.
One challenge of this sector is engaging youth - especially those who feel that "the system" is indifferent to their needs and wishes. Authentic partnerships must involve active participation from those in power. This Devex post provides ideas for engaging youth to work in peacebuilding. From youth taking active and empowered roles as peacebuilders, to youth participation in post-conflict reconciliation processes, these resources provide lessons from a variety of cases.
Although they are often not explicit in a PYD approach, most programs aimed at the disengagement and reintegration of former combatants are aimed at "youth" (loosely defined as 18-35 years old).
Although it is difficult to arrive at exact numbers, UNICEF posits that nearly half of all refugees are children. A significant proportion of refugees, IDPs, and forced migrants are young people, many of whom are especially vulnerable to security risks including gendered violence in camps, transitional housing, and unfamiliar environments. A PYD lens on programming for displaced youth would focus on engaging young people as partners, creating an environment for their full participation, and shifting the focus from "victim" and/or "perpetrator" to "partner for peace."
Youth in conflict contexts are particularly vulnerable to gendered violence. This includes sexual violence and coercion, as well as gendered norms surrounding participation in violence.
While numbers vary widely, it is generally believed that most individuals who are recruited into violent groups (including gangs, violent extremist organizations, trafficking rings, and other non-state groups) are "youth" (under the age of 35). A PYD lens on violence and recruitment prevention programming treats youth as the most likely victims and opponents of these violent groups - as opposed to framing youth as a "risk" category. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that PYD and complexity-aware approaches to programming can have significant outcomes.
At the forefront of YouthPower's Learning Agenda is the role of trauma healing and psychological approaches in youth programming. While practitioners have long recognized traumatic impacts faced by youth in conflict and violence, cultural norms around mental health as well as accessibility of mental health practitioners vary widely between contexts.