Open Street Map: Activating Youth Peace Builders
Tunisia / Freedom for Peace / 18 sep 2017
The 2017 Global Peace Index shows that the world has become less peaceful over the last decade. This is because even in countries not experiencing violent conflict the situation is as fragile and insecure as in countries where conflict is a daily stress.The rise in marginalisation and inequality leads people to engage in criminal activities or violent extremism that undermine good governance and stability.
Young people are often amongst the most marginalised and excluded groups. In Tunisia, young people, an active groups in the revolution, face chronic underemployment, underdevelopment and political marginalisation. Their high hopes have turned to bitterness where youth inclusion is one of the most important, yet challenging, issues. To address this, International Alert is using digital tools to empower younger generations to address drivers of exclusion, with the aim of building durable peace.
Open Street Map combines dialogue and political participation through innovative digital community-mapping tools. The tools allow young people in the Tunis suburbs of Ettadhamen and Douar Hicher to convey their views directly to local and national authorities. By marking areas that require basic services, like rubbish collection points, young people have a meaningful role in supporting the government and their community. Open Street Map is an alternative to crime that also creates a platform for active citizenship that allows young people to gain confidence to be positive change makers in their society.
Open Street Map is not just about technology. It’s true that mobile tech offers powerful tools that are becoming more accessible globally, but the involvement of young people is the key. As one of the young men taking part in the Open Street Map project said: “Of course we are not the answer for Tunisia. But we are part of the answer”.Young people are becoming pioneers of peace in their communities and countries. By tackling the pressing need to address the challenges undermining their future, young people can be the key to building more equal, peaceful and prosperous societies.