Sake: MONUSCO Encourages Young People's Entrepreneurship Initiatives for Peacebuilding

The development of youth entrepreneurship is an important lever for consolidating peace. Photos MONUSCO / James Nzabara

23 Jun 2022

Sake: MONUSCO Encourages Young People's Entrepreneurship Initiatives for Peacebuilding

James Nzabara

The United Nations has long considered the creative imagination, ideals and energy of young people to be essential to the continued development of the peaceful societies in which they live. 

In that spirit, on May 10, 2022, the MONUSCO Goma Civil Affairs office, in conjunction with the World Bank, through the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development project, traveled to the town of Sake, 25 km northeast of Goma in North Kivu, to visit and assess the progress of some promising initiatives undertaken by young people in the area. 

These initiatives are the result of immersion and motivation sessions organized for young people by the Uhuru Knowledge Center (a not-for-profit organisation), with the support of MONUSCO's Civil Affairs section. 

The team met Josué Miteo, a young artisan from Sake who makes beautiful faggots out of old recycled tires that he sells at an affordable price. Josué was inspired by his father's experience as a shoemaker to create his own products. Starting from nothing, he is now proud to be able to meet some of his needs through this business. 

"This activity has allowed me to assist my parents in funding my schooling and that of my younger siblings. In fact, I paid for all my secondary school education, and I continue to support my parents in paying for the education of my younger brothers and sisters. I encourage other young people to make positive use of their talents to earn a dignified living and not to engage in criminal activities," he said. 

On the other hand, Lucien Baibika, another young man in his prime, has specialized in rabbit farming. With an initial capital of three U.S. dollars two years ago, he bought a couple of rabbits to start his breeding business on his parents' property. To date, he has about 20 rabbits. "My farm is profitable because I have a market where I sell my rabbits," he says. "With my production, I earn some money to make a living (...) I feel useful to my community". 

The dynamism of these young people among many others did not leave the team members indifferent. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the team organized a mini preparatory meeting on entrepreneurship and the role of young people in peacebuilding. 

About 40 youth, including 18 girls, attended the event held in the Uhuru Knowledge Center conference room. 

Fighting youth idleness 

Speaking at the event, Esther Mbiye of the World Bank said that the personality of a young entrepreneur is often considered a key element in justifying his or her success or failure. So, before making the big leap, it is worthwhile to reflect on your real motivations and abilities to succeed. 

"Indeed, creating and managing a company requires multiple and complementary skills, so it is better to know yourself well," she said. And in closing her remarks, she said that the city of Sake has been chosen to benefit from the support funds for youth entrepreneurship of the World Bank. To that purpose, she invited the youth to massively express their interest at the next call for the submission of projects by 2023, of which those deemed promising will benefit from a grant ranging between 80 and 100 US dollars. 

In his statement, Robert Ngangue, MONUSCO's Civil Affairs Coordinator in Goma, mentioned that the development of youth entrepreneurship is an important lever to build peace and respond to the security challenges that exist today. According to him, in the context of North Kivu, "idleness generally pushes young people to join criminal armed groups and to engage in violence”. He invited them to work for peace so they can help develop their entity. 

It worth remembering that in 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2250, which urges young people to participate in a concrete way in the prevention of conflicts and peacebuilding around the world. The resolution recognizes young people as true partners in efforts at all levels to promote peace and combat extremism. 

The activities supported by the Civil Affairs Section, with the help of its partners, aim to cultivate a spirit of emulation and patriotism among young people and to help them discover and develop their potential to build a brighter future, away from the shackles of the violence fueled by the activities of armed groups. 

As former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said, young people carry the torch of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, not only as beneficiaries of the actions and policies of the Agenda, but also as partners and actors in its implementation.