Coming Full Circle


I wanted to take my final blog post to bring together everything that I’ve talked about in my last four posts. I thought about talking about another topic, but it didn’t make sense. I guess I thought just like with any good paper, discussion, or debate the best way to end is with reflection. This is exactly what I decided to do. So if you’ve read all of them beginning to end or maybe just now begun, (not totally sure how accessible this blog is) that maybe you can at least take away these main points that I’ve compiled into this final post.

One of the main issues that I have presented in my last few posts is the importance of development projects being used as a tool to defuse violent conflict. Conflict disproportionately affect  women and youth who constitute 80% of the civilian deaths in conflict. (Toole) This means working on programs that empower youth and women is in desperate need.  Youth and women play an important role at finding a solution to the problems their countries face. Young people have unique experiences in armed conflict and specific needs when recovering and contributing to peace-building. They play an important role because they are able to mentor other children and provide friendship and companionship for one another in times of need. Youth take on leadership roles. This is so crucial to remember because not only can they play an important role in contributing to the solution, they can also become part of the problem when neglected.

The way that I believe this can be done is through three crucial areas, while I don’t believe these are the only areas they are the only ones I had time to delve into. These three areas are, youth empowerment which I used the example of sports, education, and work. I choose to take about these three things in my previous post because they tie neatly together and without one I believe they all fall apart.

These things are crucial because it gives children the opportunity to use their voice, like in a few previous articles that I talked about. One being the instance of two university graduates who were tired of the state of their country and demanded there be a change. (Choksi) They came back with an education to make a difference for not only themselves, but their fellow brothers and sisters. This is the empowerment education provided for them. If this didn’t inspire you then maybe when just this past spring for the first time ever a joint netball team of Palestinians and Israelis women came together to compete in a tournament in Eilat with 2,000 other players from across the world for the first time ever. (Sinai) When people are given a reason to work together in a peaceful manner its amazing to see what they can accomplish. Keeping with the importance of empowerment and work, the UN has even pushed for youth volunteerism. This means engaging youth as more than just participants and/or beneficiaries of volunteerism programmes. They will be active youth citizens, empowered for peace and sustainable development through a programme that is specifically targeted to their needs and strengths. (OSGEY 2013) If given the opportunity most young people will choose to work and make a difference in their community if they are valued and empowered, so to see that its taken us so long to realize this is sad. Maybe now though we will take the steps needed to make a difference.  Lets educate these kids! Without an outlet to turn to with either education or work, youth in war-torn areas turn to violence and gangs as an outlet to their problems. We can combat violence just by giving them a productive outlet and from what we’ve seen with what I’ve talked about above, when given a voice youth will take it and try to do something productive with it.

I want to stress though that we, as Westerners need to know is that we can’t come at this from what we’re use to. It won’t solve anyones problem and could probably cause more. We don’t want to look at education and employment as a one size fits all model. Every culture and person is difference. Education doesn’t always mean the traditional book smarts and college that we’re use to. Epstein and Yuthas made some eye opening points in their research. We don’t have to always open up schools that teach children books smarts, sometimes we need to teach life skills that’ll improve their quality of life now. (Epstein and Yuthas) Not down the road when they maybe graduate high school and get into college. Teach them skills that’ll allow them to go into a apprenticeships or technical schools when they’re old enough. We can’t look at things as a one size fits all model.  We have to combine what Ivan Illich said in his famous speech “To Hell with Good Intentions and what Ernesto Sirolli. talked about in his Ted Talk. We have to forget our good intentions, we have to stop trying to fix everything in the way that we are use to fixing it. We have to take a step back and listen. We have to empower a group by hearing out what ideas they want to explore and implement in THEIR community. We have to forget everything we thought we once new. This is hard, but when we do this I believe we truly begin to learn.

So if you’re joining me for the first time or you’ve been following along I hope you can read these and take something positive away, I hope I was able to expand your knowledge on some topics and maybe if I’m lucky inspire. I know that when I take a moment to reflect upon all that I’ve learned from writing and researching  these post I realize I’ve learned a lot. When I think about all that I can now take away from this I am empowered. I am empowered and inspired to continue my education and hopefully one day make a difference or maybe even just write some pretty awesome speeches like Ivan Illich or Ernesto Sirolli. We all have to start somewhere and this is where I’ve dug my roots.

– Caitlin Marie




Work Cited:

Toole, Daniel. “Peace-Building Strategies: Transition from Relief to Development: Why Children and Early Intervention Matter.” (2006): n. pag. UNICEF, Oct. 2006. Web.

Choksi, Mansi. “Yellow Pigs Make a Political Point about Youth Unemployment in Uganda.” Yellow Pigs Highlight Youth Unemployment In Uganda. Al Jazeera, 8 Apr. 2015. Web.

Sinai, Allon. “Israelis, Palestinians Team up for Netball Tournament.” The Jerusalem Post, 17 Mar. 2016. Web.

Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. “Empowering Youth through Volunteerism – Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.” UN News Center. UN, 3 Sept. 2013. Web.

Epstein, Marc, and Kristi Yuthas. “Redefining Education in the Developing World (SSIR).” Redefining Education in the Developing World. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 9 Feb. 2012. Web.

Ivan Illich. “To Hell with Good Intentions by Ivan Illich.” To Hell with Good Intentions by Ivan Illich. Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects, 20 Apr. 1968. Web. 18 July 2016.

Sirolli, Ernesto. “Want to Help Someone? Shut up and Listen!” Ernesto Sirolli:. Ted Talk, Fall 2012. Web. 18 July 2016.