USAID-supported Integrated Youth Activity, Kefeta, organized a “Youth for Peace Festival” at the Sidama Cultural Hall in Hawassa on December 31, 2022, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women and Social Affairs (MoWSA), regional bureaus in Sidama, and the Hawassa City Administration. Fifteen hundred (1,500) young people from Hawassa, Bishoftu, Adama, Shashemene, and Dilla participated in a variety of activities, including a 3K “Youth for Peace City Run,” peace fora and dialogues, a music concert, sports and games, talent shows, and a market.
The “Youth for Peace Festival,” is part of the $60 million (3.1 billion Birr) USAID/Kefeta activity, launched in March 2022 to lift-up millions of vulnerable youth across Ethiopia. The five-year initiative will help youth in 18 cities across Ethiopia find meaningful jobs and ensure better access to essential services.
Kefeta organized the festival with USAID support to empower Ethiopian youth to champion positive change and to become agents of peace and stability in their own communities. The festival promoted intercultural understanding and created a platform for increased private sector engagement and civil society support for youth development. State Minister of the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs Muna Ahmed officially opened the festival and she called for all actors to contribute to the social and economic development of the next generation.
During the festival, Kefeta handed the Tula 01 Youth Center in Tula sub-city, Hawassa, which is a venue Kefeta remodeled to be a gathering place for local youth to engage in creativity and innovation. With funding from USAID, Kefeta is remodeling more than 50 such youth service outlets in selected youth centers, health centers, higher learning institutions, and industrial parks to expand access to essential services, including banking and healthcare.
In the coming months, Kefeta is planning similar events in other cities around Ethiopia. The festivals will engage young people in meaningful dialogue, arts and culture, sports, and games to inspire them to contribute to positive change in their communities. Activities such as the Hawassa Youth Festival will engage young voices and empower the next generation to take part in Ethiopia’s resilience and peace-building processes.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia.