The Youth Conference was organised as part of the International Fund for Ireland’s Peace Impact Programme (PIP) and drew young participants from more than 50 rural and urban projects to share their experiences, identify critical training needs and discuss difficult issues linked to the legacy of the conflict.
Dr. Adrian Johnston Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland paid tribute to the work of the
projects in overcoming difficult issues and assisting communities to progress.
“Through our Peace Impact Programme, we have committed more than £4million/€5.5million to 56 community
projects across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland that are taking measured risks to reconnect with marginalised individuals and groups who remain excluded from government interventions and others.
“In less than two years, they have yielded impressive results and brought positive changes in their neighbourhoods. The potential for violence has been reduced and many participants are finding employment and positive leadership roles in their community. The demand for this type of programme greatly outstrips the resources we can dedicate to it and must be a priority for other funders in forthcoming months.”
Monina O’Prey Programmes Manager with the Community Foundation NI said:“This event is about encouraging participants to listen and learn from peers from a range of communities who have developed their own approach to dealing with these issues. This is very much about getting young people to talk to each other about their experiences of working on peacebuilding issues at the local level and the barriers they still face.
“Sectarianism, unemployment, suicide, isolation and disaffection are complex issues that deeply affect young people in all communities and on both sides of the border. Getting conversations about divisive issues on the table is crucial and could be pivotal in developing action at times of tension.”
The Peace Impact Programme aims to build sustainable peace and reconciliation within and between communities suffering from high levels of economic and social deprivation; where there have been low levels of engagement in peace building; and where there remains a continued risk of instability and violence.