Study – youth in Peacebuilding


Research Report:
Beyond Dividing Lines – The reality of youth-led peacebuilding in Afghanistan, Colombia, Libya and Sierra Leone

Project Name: Understanding youth-led civic engagement in peacebuilding: Examining the context and contributions of young peacebuilders in Afghanistan, Libya, Sierra Leone and Colombia.

Duration: 01.11.2017- 30.11.2018 

Member Organizations Involved: Afghans for Progressive Thinking, Fundación Escuelas de Paz, Together We Build It!, Youth Participation in Peace and Development- Sierra Leone (YPPD).

The study aims to document and examine young people’s roles in peacebuilding, and especially study the factors that enable or/and constrain these roles. The study is a youth-led participatory action research in four countries: Afghanistan, Libya, Sierra Leone and Colombia. The comparative study in these four countries will allow an examination of youth roles in civic engagement initiatives in different cultural, historical and geographical contexts where factors like gender and age may shape the roles of youth in peacebuilding in different ways.

The study is centered on four guiding questions:

  1. What forms of youth-led civic engagement related to peacebuilding can be identified?
  2. What are the motivators and barriers that influence young people’s participation in civic engagement related to peacebuilding?
  3. What are the perceived contributions of youth led civic engagement related to peacebuilding?
  4. What are the contextual factors that make these civic engagement activities successful, how transferable are they, and how scalable are they?

Besides a lead researcher, there are two local researchers from each country – making a total of eight local researchers. These are young peacebuilders who are responsible for collecting data from their peers using the listening and learning methodology for youth-led research.

Overall objective

The overall objective of the research project is to contribute to an increasingly evidence-based approach to policies and programming related to peace and security by deepening the existing knowledge base on the positive roles of youth-led civic engagement related to peacebuilding. 

Specific objectives

  • increase the evidence to understanding the roles and ways young people are contributing positively towards building peace in their communities and countries
  • support advocacy for youth-inclusive peacebuilding policies and practices at all levels, and make regional and global funding mechanisms available to support youth participation in peacebuilding
  • support locally driven outputs and research capacity building of local actors

Expected Results:

  • Comparative Research Report
  • 1 global and 4 country-specific policy briefs
  • Improved research and capacity building capacities of young peacebuilders


Phase 1: Preparation for Research (from November 2017 – January 2018)

The lead researcher and local researchers were selected and a detailed research plan was drafted including an outline on the research methodology and focused research group discussions.

Phase 2: Training of Researchers (from February 2018 to April 2018)

A research workshop was conducted in The Hague in March 2018 in which four local researchers (one per country) and the lead researcher participated. Then, context-specific, country-level research plans were developed in the first half of April 2018 to conduct a more targeted research. Finally, a first draft desk research was conducted by the lead researcher.

Phase 3: Data Collection (from mid-April 2018 to August 2018)

Conversations, focused-group discussion and structured interviews  will be conducted by all local researchers with key respondents and the collected data will be summarized and stored in order to be analysed in the next phase.

Phase 4: Data Analysis (from August 2018 to October 2018)

A data analysis workshop will take place in the second half of September 2018, in which the lead researcher and 4 local researchers will participate. After that, throughout October 2018, a draft of the research paper will be compiled by the researchers as a team.

Phase 5: Dissemination (November 2018)

Once the editing of the final draft of the research report is finalized by the lead researcher, the document will be published and disseminated with international partners. Additionally, five policy briefs will also be developed and published and the general findings of the research study will be communicated to the Youth Advocacy Teams from UNOY as well as collaborating partners.


This research project is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of UNOY Peacebuilders and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Find here an overview of all the current grants provided under YouthPower Learning.


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