In conversations last week about youth and peacebuilding, it occurred to me again that we too easily fudge things by referring to “youth”. Unless we qualify “youth” with a narrower description, we risk being vague and patronising; and by our imprecision to lose the meaning of what we intend to say. Especially given that more than half the world’s population probably fit the category, one way or another.
It’s really important that we say which young people we mean in policies and projects, so that resources are targeted. I’ve written before about how DDR programmes for young ex-combatants often fail to target the right young people, ending up helping those who are easiest to assist – and who probably need help the least.
It also set me to wondering about why it’s so important to work with young people. Three generic reasons come to mind.
First, young people have always been seen…
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