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, including VAWG. Where young people are frustrated and restricted, they are also turning to militant Islam for answers. Investing in youth is especially important for conflict and post-conflict areas, in order to pull youth out of these cycles of violence. The potential for transformation is massive. In SIHA’s experience, incorporating human rights education into engagement with is important for social change. Using this appraoch, SIHA has seen success in dialogue with Muslim youth on gender justice in Islam. The foundational aspect of this approach is that it works toward long-term transformation
Female youth in the Greater Horn of Africa Region have a history of being marginalized, both in youth groups and in women’s groups. For this reason, SIHA takes a particular interest in elevating the issues that are priorities for young girls in the region.
In the coming years, active engagement with female and male youth will be even more important. SIHA recognizes youth as a vast and diverse group of people, and strives to reach the most marginalized and alienated within all ethnic and tribal backgrounds, the privileged youth as well as those living in poverty. SIHA hopes to support youth in political activism and building their capacities for wielding influence even within the restricted space available to them.