Message of African youth to their leaders

Message of African youth to their leaders

Results of pan-African poll released on the Day of the African Child

GAMBELLA (Ethiopia) / Dakar / Nairobi, 16 June 2016 – African leaders are not doing enough to stop conflicts in Africa, said two-thirds of the nearly 86,000 African youth surveyed in a recent mobile-based poll conducted in nine African countries.

Using a messaging tool called U-Report, the short survey was sent to 1.4 million mobile users in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Central African Republic, Senegal, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Guinea, from 18 May to 1 June 2016.

The U-Report users surveyed, who are typically between 15 and 30 years of age, were asked to provide their opinion on conflicts and crises in Africa through short multiple choice questions on their mobile phones.

The findings of the survey will be shared with African leaders on the Day of the African Child, which is marked every year on 16 June by the African Union.

“It is so crucial, and even urgent for the leaders to heed the voices of the youth, if we must silence the guns by 2020, as set in our Agenda 2063. This is flagship project to which the youth must also recognize their role and take their responsibility,” said the African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Key findings about African youth messages

• Asked whether African leaders are doing enough to stop conflicts and crises in Africa, two out of three respondents (70 per cent) believe that African leaders are not doing enough.

• When asked why Africa is more prone to conflict than other regions, 56 per cent of respondents believe that ‘politicians fighting for power’ is the main reason while 19 per cent said ‘inequality’, 17 per cent said ‘poverty’ and 4 per cent said ‘access to food and water’.

• What can leaders do to stop conflicts? Nearly a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) said a ‘strong economy’ while 20 per cent believe African countries needs to be more independent in their ‘foreign policy’, 19 per cent said investing in ‘good education’, 14 per cent said ‘talk to each other’, 10 per cent said ‘talk to other country’ and 9 per cent said ‘security’.

Humanitarian crises in Africa continue to spill over borders in recent years, with children and families increasingly on the move. More than 1.2 million people face insecurity in the Central African Republic due to a complex humanitarian and protection crisis that has spread to neighbouring countries. Nearly 1.3 million children have been displaced by violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency across Cameroon, Chad, the Niger and Nigeria.

Two years into the conflict in South Sudan, nearly 2.4 million people have fled their homes, including 721,000 living as refugees. Burundi is facing a protection crisis that has driven some 265,000 people to flee across borders.

“The lives of millions of children and their families are disrupted, upended or destroyed by conflict every year in Africa,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “This survey speaks to every child’s right to be heard and gives African youth an opportunity to express their hopes for the future of their continent.” 

U-Report is a social messaging tool available in 23 countries, including 15 African countries, allowing users to respond to polls, report issues and work as positive agents of change on behalf of people in their country.

Once someone has joined U-Report, polls and alerts are sent via Direct Message and real-time responses are collected and mapped on a website, where results and ideas are shared back with the community.

Note concerning the Democratic Republic of Congo

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, nearly four million children are affected by conflict, particularly in the eastern provinces of the country.

For nearly twenty years, conflicts have been recurring in the DRC, and have had consequences on children’s schooling. 824 schools were damaged or destroyed between March 2015 and March 2016 following conflicts.

To meet educational needs during emergencies, the government, through its program Education in Emergencies- implemented with the support of UNICEF among others- aims to reach 200,000 girls and boys affected by conflict or natural disasters and provide them with quality education and psychological activities.

Children from the poorest households, especially those living in crisis and conflict areas are almost twice as likely to die before the age of 5 as those in richer households, and they are five times more likely not to be enrolled in school, not to be protected against all types of abuse and violence based on gender and not to have access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation.

In 2015, the humanitarian appeal for children has helped to mobilize $51 million (barely 40% of needs) for children in the Democratic Republic of Congo thus providing assistance to 1 million people. The requirements for the implementation of the 2016 humanitarian plan for children in the Democratic Republic of Congo are estimated to be more than $130 million.

Several activities will be organized throughout the country during the celebration of the day of the African Child, notably information days and child awareness days, state partners and members of civil society, production and distribution of television and radio programs, organization of child advocacy activities with the authorities and the organization of a drawing competition, called “Draw me Peace” for children.

In DRC, the national theme for the celebration of this day is “Eradicate extreme poverty that causes on average the death of one child every three seconds.”

For more information on U-Report:


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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For further information, please contact:

• Helene Sandbu Ryeng, UNICEF Regional Office (Dakar), +221 77 81 99 097, [email protected]
• Ricardo Pires, UNICEF Regional Office (Nairobi), +254 701 635 021, [email protected]
• Alexandra (Sacha) Westerbeek, UNICEF Ethiopia, +251 911255109 [email protected]
• Louise Holly, UNICEF Liaison Office to the African Union, +251 930 003 821, [email protected]

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Yves Willemot

Yves Willemot est le chef de l’Équipe InfoCom de l’UNICEF RDC. Plus que tout, ce qui est important pour lui c'est d'être "tous ensemble pour les enfants".

Yves Willemot is Head of the UNICEF DRC InfoCom Team. More than anything, he believes that the most important is to "be together for the children".

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