Currently celebrating 10 years of engagement in Sri Lanka. The movement is 20,000 members strong, active in 25 districts, engaging youth in five reconciliation centers and has 15 full-time staff.
Sri Lanka Unites will be launching their own online TV network on the 14th of April 2018. This will be the first of its kind and we are excited to have the opportunity to engage a broader audience as we look to expand the movement from 20,000 members to 2 million members by 2027.
UNICEF and the British Council have approached SLU for formal partnerships and it’s an honor to be recognized by these international organizations as a key local partner to engage youth. The movement is eager to see these partnerships catered to reach their visions and strategies in Sri Lanka. These international organizations have been open to letting SLU take lead on the strategy and approach while they play a supportive role.
Currently in their third year of grassroots engagement in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The movement has grown to 7,000 members, is active in 11 provinces, and has one full-time staffer.
The Congo Unites team recently concluded a special training for influential young women to expand the movement in their communities.
The Congo Unites team is prepping for a very busy end to the year with the launch of a national training of first responders for trauma victims and a national soccer competition to broaden the reach of the movement to further engage youth from various backgrounds. Planning has also begun for the movement’s second Future Leaders Conference with the goal of hosting the event in the summer of 2018.
Currently in their second year of grassroots engagement in Kenya. The movement has grown to 2,000 members, is working in 40 counties, and has one full-time staffer.
The Kenya Unites team covered 12 counties in their first nationwide school relations tour (SRT). This trip engaged 1200 students and 100 teachers.
This Kenya Unites conference received the endorsement of the Kenyan Ministry of Education and during this conference, the movement was able to attract applicants from 40 out of the 44 counties in Kenya- surpassing the government’s official department for National Cohesion that only engages 12 counties and is active in less. The movement is well placed to be one of the most influential youth movements in the country and has already begun.
Officially launched six months ago and is currently operating with one full-time staffer. The Uganda Unites team is currently working hard in preparing for their first national conference set to take place in December of this year. The movement was granted an endorsement and approval from the Ministry of Education in Uganda to host the conference. This provides huge credibility across the nation and places the movement in prime position to become a nationally recognized organization.
A team of young leaders from Liberia visited Sri Lanka this year to gain more insight into how the Unites movement is practically implemented on the ground. After following Sri Lanka Unites during their School Relations Tour they confirmed their desire to officially launch Liberia Unites. They already have a strong network of leaders, however, they want to embrace the cause of youth-led conflict transformation and work towards creating a national movement. Liberia has been peaceful for nearly two decades but is still recovering from the civil war and most citizens believe violence is a strong possibility in the future due to unresolved grievances and tension across tribal lines. Hence, Liberia Unites has a pivotal role to play among the next generation of Liberia’s leaders. We are excited to have the opportunity to work alongside them.
The movement is currently in conversations with El Avispero, a local organization that engages with youth through social media and promotes positive social action, on partnering for a social media initiative. This partnership could provide the platform for important dialogue to transpire between divided youth- specifically for conversations following the rift between those who voted “Yes” and “No” to the current peace deal. This will be the first step for the movement to emerge on a national level and there is excitement that this initiative will pave the way for launching a national conference next summer as the country prepares for elections in 2018.
The movement is in the early launch stage but there is excitement on the ground from the local Global Unites network. As the initial research for key organizations and activists continues, the movement wants to keep the focus on uniting the Palestinian people, especially bridging the gap between those who are in refugee camps and those who are not. The movement is now focusing on creating a larger network of like-minded youth to begin dialogue on how this movement should approach broader engagement. Sights are set on summer 2018 for the movement’s first national conference.
Conversations are progressing in determining the best approach for launching a grassroots youth movement in Afghanistan. Most of the current local and international organizations are focusing their work in the urban regions of the country, leaving a void in the rural regions. We believe that this is where we need to begin in supporting our team on the ground. In addition to that, we have been approached by the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan to train some of their young leaders working on reconciliation issues.
Conversations continue to progress with our Global Unites network on the ground in Myanmar on how to approach the launch of a Unites movement. Tensions are high along ethnic and religious lines and the need is great to begin further engaging young people. We are currently connecting with local and international organizations to find the best way we can come alongside and support youth on the ground.
There has been a desire for the past few years to find a way to launch a Unites movement in the United States. The tensions along racial and religious lines are setting a scary precedent for future generations and we believe that this is the prime season to begin engaging. We are in the early stages of creating a core team of youth that will brainstorm and create a plan on how to approach launching a nationwide movement in the States