Sewit Haileselassie Tadesse, Ali Altiok

The positive role that young people play in preventing violence and building peace is gaining recognition. In the Ethiopian context, youth movements ushered in political reform processes, creating a new and dynamic political landscape. While the role of youth in these movements and protests is widely contested, their agency and demand for change is undeniable. The participation and inclusion of young people is a central component of the reform processes in Ethiopia. This project explores potential ways to enhance the inclusion and participation of young people who are on the margins and peripheries of formal political processes. It approaches youth agency as a source of innovation and resilience that can help strengthen the culture of democracy and demonstrate civic practices from the perspective of young people; and so seeks to document and visualise the political force of young women and men to foster democratic cultures and build peace. The project highlights how their efforts impact local, societal, and political resilience for peace and democracy.

About the research team

Sewit Haileselassie Tadesse (@sewithst) has a background in economic development focusing on issues of gender. She is President of AWiB Ethiopia, a women’s association dedicated to developing and promoting women’s leadership in Ethiopia. She is also co-founder of Changing Images, a social impact start-up working on transformational change. As lead investigator on this project, Sewit’s experience in dialogue and research helps bring into focus a new perspective on youth political participation. She identifies, connects with, and articulates the many ways young people express dissent.

Ali Altiok (@atomicsentences) is a trained film-maker as well as having a background in peace and security studies, with special reference to youth-based activities and engagement across conflict states globally. On this project, Ali manages the collection and collation of stories, songs, drama pieces, dances, and daily life interactions of young people through videography and photography, and relates these to the youth, peace and security agenda in Ethiopia. Ali also explores how the Ethiopian context aligns with, or departs from, global discourses of youth involvement in peace-building processes.