Youth Against Barriers

In Jan 2015 Felix Manyogote launched an initiative called Youth Against Barriers. This non–profit peace building and humanitarian rights Initiative addressed issues pertaining to injustices, domestic violence and discrimination against humanity in sub-Saharan Africa.

This Initiative strives to create equal opportunities for girls & women as well as children and young people with disabilities, in human rights development agendas in sub-Saharan Africa and ensure that they don’t live in poverty.

Realizing that children born with disabilities and psychological problems are often hidden away, Manyogote has built a good relationship with community leaders to spread awareness of the condition and helped the victims have access to education.

Manyogote has also been working to tackle prevalent issues among women such as female genital mutilation, early marriages and the promotion of girls education through forums, public awareness campaigns and household visits.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

(i) Creating equal opportunities for children and young people with disabilities and enabling them have access to education and participate in development issues, including leadership opportunities.

(ii) Eradicating discrimination and social injustices among marginalized groups.

(iii) Promoting gender equality and the rights of women and girls of diverse backgrounds.

HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED

The Initiative is currently undertaking the following activities to bring different community ethic groups together, with the aim of maintaining peace for development:

(I) Sporting Activities: Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Bicycle racing, Music, Arts and Crafts.

(II) Community Awareness encourages communities to change attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate violation of human rights. The program works at a grassroots level, with community action groups, community volunteers and end violence groups, to increase awareness of the impact of violence.

(III) Media and Learning Materials works with print and electronic media to promote discussions and public debates about human rights and domestic violence.

(IV) The Advocacy Program pursues reform in by-laws and protocols that infringe upon human rights, especially the right to protection and justice.

(V) Legal Aid and Social Counseling to youth or women who have experienced violence.

CAMPAIGN INNOVATIONS

Children born with disabilities and psychological problems were often hidden away and not given an opportunity to participate in development issues.

This campaign strives to give equal opportunities to children and youth with disabilities and prepare them to be future leaders. In doing so this campaign involves the use of sports activities to help to stimulate children with disabilities and emotional (mental) difficulties overcome many of their fears and frustrations.

Also, the sports and games help youth to develop the spirit of volunteerism and solidarity in order to promote peace through education.

Still this campaign harnesses the use of ICT and new media, video sessions and documentaries in addressing the issues of violence.

CAMPAIGN IMPACT

1).The campaign has enabled 250 children with disabilities from 5 districts, including Blind, Vision Impaired and those with Psychosocial problems, have access to education.

2) The campaign has helped more than 120 children with disabilities, including those with club foot, to have access to treatment.

3) The campaign has Increased community awareness on human rights, prevention of domestic violence through community dialogues, public forums, workshops and media campaigns.

4) At the grassroots level, the campaign has provided leadership in boosting the visibility of violence against women for nearly 15 villages reaching about 2 000 people; giving victim-survivors a voice through tribunals and personal testimonies; providing innovative forms of support to victims of violence; and forcing the government to recognize their own failure to protect women.

5) The initiative recruited about 5,000 Change Makers who pledged to take a stand against violations of human rights.

CHALLENGES FACED

(i) Lack of sufficient funds during the project implementation.

(ii) There is the risk that some of the government and community leaders will become politicized and the beneficiaries could then be used by them to gain political sympathy in different groups.

LESSONS LEARNT

Disable people have equal rights and should have the opportunity to participate in leadership and development issues. They are great agents of the changes we seek, thus they should be empowered and not hidden.