Promoting peace and sustainable development through strengthening youth competencies for the life and work in the Sahel

©Redenius, Conseil national de la jeunesse du Mali, 2018

In the Sahel region, many youth come of age amidst famine and political, economic, and security crises. The majority of these youth have not had the benefit of engaging in pertinent learning opportunities and a large portion are currently excluded from all forms of schooling and training. Immense disillusion and frustration can lead youth to leave their region or to join or collaborate with trafficking networks, organized crime groups, and violent extremist organizations. In this context, youth, who represent the majority of the Sahel population, are often perceived as constituting a potential threat to stability and security.

When equipped with skills for life and work, they are a significant asset to their societies and can become agents of change. A vision for youth centered on their needs, priorities, and aspirations would contribute to greater development of their potential and their creativity in favor of peaceful and sustainable societies.

In this sense, education systems should provide individuals, from a young age and throughout their lives, with the knowledge, competencies, attitudes, and behaviours for living together and becoming citizens who value tolerance, peace, and justice and who are open to the world.

In support of the United Nations Secretary General's Plan of Action for the Prevention of Violent Extremism adopted in 2016 and the decision of the UNESCO Executive Board on the Prevention of Violent Extremism (197 EX / 46), UNESCO proposes an inclusive and participatory multisectoral approach to contribute to the socio-economic integration of young people through the programme "Promotion of peace and sustainable development through strengthening youth competencies for life and work in the Sahel." The programme is based on priorities and needs which have been identified by the beneficiary countries. The initial programme activities (initial phase) are funded by the United Nations Office for Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) under the I-ACT G5 Sahel initiative. Additional funds will be mobilized for the implementation of the following steps.

Programme duration: 4 years

Beneficiary countries: Sahel countries including Burkina Faso, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Chad - as well as Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau.

Areas of intervention:

1. Capacity building of trainers and teachers to enable learners to acquire basic knowledge and values of living together

2. Strengthening the skills, attitudes and values of young people, especially vulnerable groups, with a view to their social and economic integration

3. Promoting inclusive education policies for disadvantaged groups in society


UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel) in collaboration with the UNESCO Regional Offices in Rabat and Yaoundé.

Articles web


Programme document

Programme summary

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