Ensuring a more peaceful future, begins with engaging the next generation. In recognition of the crucial role youth play in creating and sustaining peaceful societies, the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers has made the inclusion and participation of youth a strategic priority.
In partnership with the African Union (AU) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) the Network supports youth-led, bottom up approaches to PVE through the Interfaith Dialogue Against Violent Extremism (iDOVE) program. Through a global peer-support digital platform, the program empowers youth participants (iDovers) to carry out innovative approaches for interfaith dialogue and the prevention of violent extremism in their home communities.
Within the border areas of Mozambique and Tanzania, iDovers have initiated the “Youth Reflect” project, working to build community resilience and prevent violent extremism through encouraging intergenerational dialogue and religious tolerance. Additionally, the project provides a platform for the “Cool Imam” initiative, which aims to bridge the gap between religious leaders and their communities, particularly youth. To date, the project has successfully established ten youth-led peace committees as well as an offline “O Sul Cool Imam” magazine on peace building, the first edition of which will be released in October.
Much of the success of the iDOVE program is thanks to its intercontinental approach, which allows for learning across regional contexts and countering the spread of violent extremism across national borders. Since 2017, iDOVE has implemented three successful Intercontinental Youth Forums bringing together a global network of youth utilising interfaith approaches to prevent violent extremism.
In November of 2019, the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers (NETWS) and the Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) collaborated to bring the iDOVE project to Southeast Asia, hosting the first Intercontinental Youth Forum (IYF) in Jakarta. The forum brought together 21 young changemakers to develop innovative, social cohesion solutions that resonate with youth in the South and Southeast Asia region. The ingenuity of the young leaders who participated in this forum demonstrates the great potential of our next generation to bring about more peaceful and inclusive societies.