Guidelines for Empowering Children and Youth as Peacebuilders

Children and other young people have unique perspectives on conflict, violence and peace. It is their perspectives that bring in unique policy and programming ideas that aline with the way children and young people operate. Their participation is important in identifying local solutions and influences that can be pulled together to achieve desired peace and social change. They also have distinctive ways of looking at the opportunities available for them to participate in building peaceful communities. These Guidelines were developed to facilitate effective empowerment and involvement of children and other young people in peacebuilding, including those directly affected by armed conflict such as former child soldiers, young warriors and raiders. Keeping ‘the best interests of the child’ as the top priority, the Guidelines emphasise the need for those working with children to promote safe and meaningful participation of children in peacebuilding and to avoid unwise or inappropriate programming with children in conflict or violent contexts. Preventing risk in this manner, the Guidelines aim to support children and other young people in conflict-vulnerable areas to become empowered peace actors in their own communities, leading to transformation of individuals, relationships, systems and structures and enhancing the community’s resilience to conflict-related crises.