The umbrella body for all youths in the North, the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) yesterday in Kaduna took stock of the first phase of its Conflict Mitigation and Peace Building Project in Bauchi, Nasarawa, Taraba and Kaduna States.
Speaking at the gathering indicating the end of the participatory evaluation meetings of the first cycle of the project, National President of AYF, and Director of the project, Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, said “effective implementation of various programmes, projects and policies at community level has suffered from administrative inconsistency, lack of sustainability, weak coordination and corruption.”
Gujungu said, “Arewa Youth Forum has compiled and submitted interim reports of the Community Dialogue Forums to Governors of the four states; we hope that at the end of this participatory evaluation meeting we will compile a final report to draw recommendations in line with what we observed for the intervention of State and Federal Governments as well as stakeholders.”
According to the AYF boss, “Communities appreciate the opportunity to interact and discuss community problems and challenges and to collectively proffer solutions.”
He however identify some of the problems militating against peace as, “Over-concentration by the political class on the empowerment of individuals and neglecting the strengthening of community structures at the grassroots” which he said has “greatly weakened the foundational structures of society – family and community.”
He also said “The opportunity for community action has yielded positive results with potential to serve as a model for other communities as CDFs report taking action to engage key stakeholders to address community issues.
“Reports from all the CDFs indicate that unemployment, livelihood challenges, political manipulation, ethno-religious conflicts are major issues.
“This outlines critical areas of intervention for the communities. Gender mainstreaming is a critical dimension in community development and needs to be integrated into the project as from the next cycle.”
He then told government that “Lack of community strengthening programmes, in spite of existing policies, have weakened the economies and social fabric of grassroots communities and rendered them vulnerable as recruitment grounds for insurgent movements.”