The youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are today’s leaders, and an ever increasing number of young people are stepping up to fill the role of leadership in the community and their respective countries. We have some of the youngest entrepreneurs pushing industries forward now; phenomena unseen in previous generations. Hence it is time we put faith in our youngsters to take over peer responsibility in fighting terrorism.
The younger generations are talented in many fields as evidenced in their ingenuity on social media and other content sharing websites. Sports and Talent is thus an avenue the youth can use to combat the influence of terrorism among their peers. Through building a network of talent nurturing and sports affiliated initiates, we actively empower them to take care of their brothers and sisters in society.
Additionally, the youth can engage their peers in entrepreneurship activities and forums. The most vulnerable sections of our population are lured to terror activities with lucrative promises of a better future. Kenya is described as having one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in Africa. Empowering this section of the nation financially with entrepreneurship opportunities ensures they have investments to ground them. Hence, they can further employ their peers resulting in a community of young people economically investing in each other.
Further, the youth can support each other through social events and engagement platforms. Such an approach can potentially provide vulnerable youths with social grounding. People who are typically radicalized by terror groups such as the Al Shabaab against their communities lack a connection to society. Such efforts could include church-based events, cultural or community linked events where the youth participate meaningfully and engage each other.
The youth could make a difference if they are engaged in impactful decision making. The relevant stakeholders must be willing to have a sit-down with the youth and listen to their concerns, needs, and suggestion in matters that affect them. Accordingly, they will not feel marginalized. Further, the ideas and opinions such youthful voices will have the apparent effect of attracting more youth into the fold.
The youth can also form interventions and support groups to curb the influence of terror groups among their peers. These groups would aim at changing the trajectory of their friends and family members who show signs of radicalization or those already admitted to the same. Such programs could involve talking and counseling the affected individuals. Moreover, they could help them find role models and mentors within their community to show them alternative paths.
Mentorship has been proven to positively impact people in such situations, and the help of a friend would be monumental in making good decisions. Also, the youth could expand these initiatives in the form of Nyumba Kumi and watch their neighbors safety. Similar initiatives have proven remarkably effective in crime and terror prevention across the nation.