» Young Africans believing on the impact of culture on social change and prosperity
06.06.2017 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Young Africans believing on the impact of culture on social change and prosperity

Dieynaba Sidibé - Zeinixx © Ina Makosi

"We use various disciplines of the urban culture as tools for social cohesion and development, to promote Hip Hop and urban cultures in Africa, and for social work" said Dieynaba Sidibé during a Conference organized in Banjul, Gambia. The address, which was on 9 and 10 May 2017, centered on the role of youth movements in the transition and consolidation of democracy, peace building and regional solidarity in the African continent.

During the conference, as part of intersectoral activities carried out by its Culture and The Social and Human Sciences Sectors, UNESCO invited young leaders from the continent to exchange and engage in a working group on the thematic “Youth, Intercultural Dialogue, Heritage and Creativity: lever for social change and prosperity”.

"One of our flagship projects is YUMA (Youth Urban Media Akademy). It aims at facilitating the inclusion, social reintegration of ex-juvenile prisoners and youth-at-risk by training them for the development of leadership, technique and Social skills needed for their reintegration into their community "explained Dieynaba Sidibé, a young artiste and activist working with Africulturban, an organization founded in 2006 by Matador, a Senegalese rapper.

Developed based on the "each one teach one" principle and in a family-like atmosphere, YUMA’s goal is to help them reconnect with their community and to forget their past in prison. "Every year, this program, which exists since 2014, allows 14 ex-prisoners of the Fort-B juvenile prison to benefit from training in audiovisual, photo, video, graphic design, MAO, general computer science, written and oral, but also in social living and community management. It intends to teach them how to communicate with people and to have a new perception of themselves. At the end of their training, they participate to all events and festivals organized by Africulturban."

During the conference it was noticed that, through heritage and creativity, culture, which was recognized in the 2030 Agenda as a direct vector for sustainable development by the international community in September 2015, is seen as a lever for social change by but also prosperity by youth organizations.

As a source of identity and cohesion, cultural heritage also plays an important role for development, as stated by Dúnia Pereira from the Ministry of Culture and Creative Industries of Cabo Verde. She explained that Cidade Velha, a World Heritage site since 2009, around which communities have been able to work and create activities enabling them to support themselves and foster social cohesion. "In Cabo Verde, culture will always be a unifying factor, and it is increasingly recognized as a necessary dimension to any real development."

Within the framework of the management of this site, the Government created a Commission for the Safeguarding of Cidade Velha constituted by Central (IPC) and local authorities (City Council), the National Commission for UNESCO, the Police and the local community with which it has been leading actions around heritage since 2009. Dúnia Pereira explained that among other actions, "the Commission is setting up activities to develop the tourism sector for the benefit of the local community, promoting training in crafts to improve their quality and organizing conferences on the potential that cultural heritage represents for the development of local tourism".

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