The first day of the visit of the UN Youth Envoy, Ahmad Alhendawi, in Central African Republic (CAR) started with a meeting with the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) where Ahmad Alhendawi spoke to the Heads of UN agencies about the new UNCT Emergency joint program. This 6 month program is designed to help the recovery process of young people in Central African Republic. The UN Youth Envoy recommended that the UNCT establish an Emergency joint program in order to raise awareness on youth issues while facilitating the mobilization of necessary resources for youth recovery. He committed to highly advocate for the need to invest in Central African youth during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.
After meeting with the UN Country Team, the UN Youth Envoy had a successful encounter with the Minister of Youth. Partnerships between the UN system and the Minister of youth were discussed during their meeting. Ahmad Alhendawi highlighted: “We agreed on some immediate actions for joint collaboration, designing a joint program on youth that will be taken onward and supported by UN agencies”. He further added that people from CAR had suffered enough from lack of opportunities and that he believes that the solution to alleviate this pain is to invest in and work with people for a better future.
The UN Youth Envoy also held a long discussion with the members of National High Commission. The National High Commission plays an extremely important role as an entity that brings together people to democratically share ideas within the youth sector. The UN Youth Envoy echoed the UN’s commitment to work with the National High Commission of Youth as well as the Minister of youth for the advancement of youth development in CAR.
The UN Youth Envoy stated: “I asked the members of High Commission of Youth to work for peace, be messengers and ambassadors of peace. They have the responsibility to elevate the image of young people of CAR to the world”. The President of the High Commission of Youth recognized that the future of CAR is in young people’s hands. Addressing the youth he reminded them of the UNSG’s speech: “the hope is in the youth”, he thus invited them to use their strength to rebuild their country.
During his visit to the Cultural and Youth Center, the UN Youth Envoy explained to the youth of Boy Rabe that the image that most people of the world have of the young people of CAR is of them fighting and killing each other. He was impressed by the work young people are doing at the Youth Cultural Centre under construction. He further expressed this by telling them: “You are building your country; you are proving to everyone that thinks that you are the problem that they are wrong. You are the heroes of this country. We need to tell the entire world the important work you are doing.” He added that there are many problems, many challenges but Central African Youth have to remember that they may be the luckiest generation of young people in the history of their country. “Regardless of use of violence in the past; you are the generation that is working to rebuild the country and have proved that you can make elections possible as well as development. You are the youth full of hope and we are here to support your effort and jointly build CAR”, he concluded.
Elena, one of the young people working on the construction site for almost one year, said: “When I joined the team, I did not know how to manage the stock but I learnt here how to be a good storekeeper”. While working at the Youth cultural Centre, she learnt many more skills and abilities in different areas such as IT, leadership, basketball, soccer. Nowadays she is learning carpentry. This will help her to find another job at the end of the project.
The UN Youth Envoy ended the day with a meeting with the Representatives of National Agency for Professional Training.