March 21, 2018

"We can unite and raise our voices together and speak out against violent extremism"

Dama Yaya

Global Youth Ambassador from Burkina Faso

A Global Youth Ambassador from Burkina Faso tells how attacks have closed over 600 schools - but young leaders are working together to prevent violence.

Burkina Faso is a West African Francophone country where different ethnic and religious groups have lived together in peace for many years.

Unfortunately, since 2015 Burkina has been targeted by terrorist organisations. According to the government, from 2015 to 2018, 80 attacks were recorded with more than 150 dead and enormous damage. 

The increase in threats and attacks has caused fear across the region and led to the closure of over 600 schools in Oudalan and Soum provinces. Insecurity is also impacting access to other social services such as health, food security and protection. 

In order to maintain focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, the United Nation Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) organised a three-day workshop on the topic “Youth peace and security for sustainable development”. 

The workshop took place this month in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. Fifty young leaders from 25 youth organisations took part in the workshop. 

It aimed to strengthen the capacity of young leaders from different communities - so that we can unite and raise our voices together and speak out against violent extremism and the proliferation of illegal arms. 

Participants and the first leaders of the UNDESA

Photo credit: Dama Yaya

As participants in the workshop, we had many opportunities to interact with one another and also to talk openly with UN lecturers, leaders of UNDESA and the local leaders of Burkina in charge of youth and the fight against proliferation of illegal arms. 

We discussed the following topics:

  • Prevention of violence, radicalisation and violent extremism
  • Conversation with the government on youth, peace and security  
  • Prevention of conflicts, disarmament and education for peace

We noticed that our country, as well as many other countries, are living with similar issues affecting our daily lives, our education and our economy. 

Violent extremism is developing everywhere in the world. People are using illegally-obtained arms to cause many deaths around the world.

As a Global Youth Ambassador and also the President of the Executive Committee of Burkina Faso Muslim Pupils and Students Association, I invite my fellow leaders, my dear Global Youth Ambassadors, to raise their voices everywhere in the world to fight against violent extremism and the proliferation of illegal arms for a peaceful world where every child has access to a quality education. 

We call on our different heads of states, politicians, decision-makers, religious leaders and every individual to do what they can to build peace.

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