Afghan youth form social activism group in country's southeast
GARDEZ - The advocacy role of young Afghans in working with government and local communities was the focus of an televised, UN-backed debate in the Khairkot district of the south-eastern province of Paktika.
The event, attended by local authorities and youth leaders, was designed to increase the participation of young Afghans in public life and help better define their responsibilities in their community activism. Subjects for discussion ranged from the fight against corruption to increased participation in upcoming elections.
Young Afghans are considered key to resolving long-standing conflict and discrimination in Afghan society. Paktika, like several other provinces in Afghanistan, has been troubled with armed conflict in recent years. Amid rising tension, the United Nations and Afghan conterparts, including youth activists, have been seeking ways to help communities move toward sustainable peace.
The debate was backed by the Gardez regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which has been organizing a series of similar events to discuss conflict resolution and highlight the role of youth in promoting discussion and debate around key issues.
The outreach event drew members of the Provincial Council, youth groups, civil society organizations, community elders, religious leaders, district officials and representatives from several local media outlets.
The participants all agreed that the role of youth in key decision-making process, including in elections, is vital, and decided to establish a joint activism group to focus on and advance key issues, including conducting outreach campaigns to encourage other young Afghans to participate in decision-making processes and make their voices heard in elections.
The programme was recorded and broadcast by local media, reaching an audience estimated at around 150,000 people in and around the Khairkot district of Paktika.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps that the UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent national and international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.