The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has partnered up with the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) flagship Programme: “Youth Peacemaker Network (YPN) to empower 168 youth as partners and leaders in the promotion of peace and sustainable development in the most vulnerable districts of Karamoja sub region of northern Uganda. The programme will see an investment of US$ 1.9 million over three years to help in establishing and maintaining a Community Learning Center (CLC) in Karamoja,  provision of training in literacy, ICTs, business skills, arts & crafts, conflict resolution and environmental approaches to community members, and entrepreneurship training for those who will be able to support women and youth led small and medium size enterprises.

The programme will be implemented by the WPD), is an international non-profit organization founded by Forest Whitaker, who is the UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and UN Advocate for the SDGs. WPDI’s mission is to help societies affected by destructive conflicts by transforming them into safer and more- productive communities.

The announcement was made public during the UN General Assembly, in New York City, earlier this week, with Forest Whitaker and H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar. The ISDB and WPDI hosted a collaborative roundtable which was full of fruitful discussions about communities affected by conflict and violence, and how ordinary people can foster peace and reconciliation and support peace building efforts, as well as how to contribute to fostering resilience, through the partnership with the IsDB.

The newly launched partnership aims to achieve impressive results, focusing on the young leaders of the region. The following results are expected from this collaboration:

  • Establishment of a group of young mediators and entrepreneurs who will address conflict, promote peace education and create 14 social businesses

    • This group will be composed of 28 youth leaders and 140 local youths.
  • Establishment of a Community Learning Centre, that will provide access to knowledge and information for employability, entrepreneurship and global citizenship for more than 7,000 people, including youth and vulnerable stakeholders
  • Incubation of 18 SMEs through a dedicated entrepreneurship platform
  • The incubation of 5 SMEs through a dedicated entrepreneurship platform for women.

Given the connection between the lack of durable peace in a country or community and the lack of opportunities and perspectives for young people, the deployment of this programme will contribute to empowering youth as partners and leaders in the promotion of peace and sustainable development in Karamoja, which is one of the poorest and most chronically food insecure regions of Uganda. Plagued by decades of conflict, instability, cattle raiding, and inconsistent climatology, the region is marginalised and underdeveloped.

The programme will strengthen the resilience of communities through youth-engaging activities to spur the development of peacebuilding, inclusion-fostering and income-generating projects and initiatives that help communities impacted by violence, exclusion and poverty on their path back to resilience and vibrancy.