The Role of Youth in Peacebuilding and Community Decision Making in Nepal: Two-Year Programmatic Evaluation Report of Search for Common Ground - Nepal Program
Search for Common Ground (SFCG), has been working in Nepal since February 2006, with support from the European Commission, UNICEF, the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the World Bank. Using media and community-based activities, SFCG aims to foster the participation of key sectors of the population in Nepal in the peacebuilding process, with a particular focus on youth.
In this context, SFCG conducted two-year programmatic evaluation to assess the outcomes, successes and shortcomings of their youth in peace building and community decision making project activities.
1.1 Outcome Level Findings
The SFCG youth program successfully achieved its first behavioral change objective- rural youth will analyze the pressures on them in terms of what choices they have and how to respond these pressures. The radio drama program- Nayaa Bato Nayaa Paailaa and the district level youth leadership for community peacebuilding training appeared to be a helpful measure of youth participation in peacebuilding processes in their communities. These programs substantially helped the rural youth increase their confidence and their ability to communicate with the adults in the community. Their ability to understand negative consequences of conflict and view education as a basic right shows an improved analytical ability towards understanding the conditions that affect their lives. As a large part of SFCG youth program, community youth realized the need to be involved in peacebuilding processes. The youth demonstrated a sense of control over their lives, showing their ability to set achievable life goals which included participation in the community peace-building process.
The SFCG youth program largely achieved its one of the key behavioral change objectives- rural youth will be organized to address the root causes of conflict at the local level. In general, youth‘s involvement in peacebuilding activities, conflict resolution, social service, social change, social harmony, and civic education has increased. The rural community youth who were contacted in this evaluation reported an increase in their ability to organize and address the root causes of conflict with a greater understanding of their roles in community peacebuilding. However, several factors such as poverty, unemployment, political exclusion, social disparity, and the lack of education limited SFCG youth program from accomplishing this objective with a greater success. With regard to youth‘s involvement in bringing people together from across dividing lines, they perceived it difficult but possible to do. In their experiences, political groups are the most difficult groups to bring together, while the youth leadership development training appeared to be useful in bringing people together.