Poor economies, unrest, and strict political regimes often mean youth have very limited opportunities to direct their own futures and exercise democratic rights. Across all of the countries in which SIHA works, youth alienation and marginalization are drivers of social violence, violence that frequently assumes the form of VAWG. Where young people are frustrated and restricted, they are also turning to militant Islam for answers. Investing in youth is especially important for countries coming out of conflict in order to pull them out of these cycles of violence. The potential for transformation is massive. In SIHA’s experience, a human rights approach works well in the engagement of youth, and rights education is important for social change. SIHA has also seen success in dialogue with Muslim youth on gender justice in Islam. Both approaches work toward long-term transformation.
In the coming years, active engagement with female and male youth will be even more important. SIHA will recognize youth as a vast and diverse group of people, striving to reach the marginalized and alienated ones of all ethnic and tribal backgrounds; privileged youth as well as those living in poverty. SIHA will move toward engaging youth in political activism and building their capacities for wielding influence even within the restricted space available to them.