YESPeace Network leads initiative to empower youth to build a peaceful and interconnected South African society

28th October, 2017 | Cape Town, South Africa

On the 28th October 2017, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers and Africa Unite collaborated to host the SDG 4.7 Interconnectedness, Gender and Human Rights: Youth Training Workshop in Cape Town, South Africa.  The workshop was coordinated with the generous support of the YESPeace Network; a collaborative effort led by the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development aimed at transforming education to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially Target 4.7.

The facilitator of the workshop, Lezerine Mashaba described the initiative as “a platform for shared learning on how communities can be empowered to contribute towards building peace and creating interconnectedness”.  She further urged attendees to critically use the knowledge shared in the platform in order to contribute towards an interactive and participatory learning experience. The key objectives of the workshop were the promotion of quality education on gender and human rights in an effort to create peaceful, interconnected and sustainable communities in and around Cape Town, South Africa.

26 youth leaders from various organisations including ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, Africa Unite, the International Peace Youth Group, Amy Foundation, ARCOSA, Mjoli Connect and the Khayelitsha Peace Building Team participated in the workshop. Yonela Msongelu, human rights peer educator working with Africa Unite highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for cross-sector collaboration in an effort to promote peace and sustainable development.

The workshop unanimously stressed that gender is deeply intertwined with other socio-economic and political issues; solutions aimed at addressing socio-economic justice and political peace are incomplete without the inclusion of gender justice. In light of the above stated, the workshop sought to create an enabling environment for youth involved with gender justice and peace building initiatives across Cape Town to explore questions around gender justice, peace and sustainable development.

Stephan van der Merwe, professional script writer and participant at the workshop highlighted the important role youth must play in shaping a peaceful and inclusive future for the South African society.  “Building peaceful and equitable communities is not an easy task, but it is a responsibility we must shoulder nonetheless” he maintained.

In August 2017 the State of Urban Safety released its second report focused on the state of crime and violence in South Africa’s nine urban settings and in it highlighted Cape Town as one of the most violent cities in South Africa. The most vulnerable in society, including women, children and the LGBTQIA+ community bare the most brunt of this violence. The workshop represented an effort to equip youth leaders with key competencies to actively contribute towards promoting peace and sustainable development across South Africa.

“The workshop was a valuable learning experience and I look forward to applying the knowledge gained from the workshop to drive meaningful change in my community” said Chipo Magombo of the International Peace Youth Group. The workshop ended on a participatory note with participants expressing an interest and willingness to collaborate and contribute towards creating peaceful, interconnected and sustainable communities. The second leg of the workshop is due to be hosted in Durban in KwaZulu Natal on the 11th November 2017.

Related articles and events:

YESPeace Peer Educator Workshop hosted in Cape Town, South Africa

YESPeace Network

YESPeace India launch

YESPeace Malaysia launch

YESPeace South Africa launch

YESPeace Pakistan launch

For further details / information, please contact:

  • Piyali Sarkar Debnath, Programme Officer, YESPeace (
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