Meet the youth leaders who are building peace in their communities

In some of the most challenging areas in the world, Aissatou, Fadya and Muhammad are using community engagement, media and tech to disrupt extremism and build peace in their communities.

EAI is proud to work with youth leaders who are creating safe spaces in their communities. Through tech, education, public speaking and more – these young advocates are driving innovative and creative solutions in some of the most challenging areas of the world.


Meet Aissatou, the youngest daughter in a family of five. Born in an impoverished neighborhood in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Aissatou’s parents struggled to make ends meet in a capital city marred by recurrent political upheavals and economic hardships. However, her challenging upbringing was a source of motivation to pursue her dreams. “For me, obstacles are ladders of opportunity to do better and be better,” she said to assert her defiant optimism. In 2013, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in German Studies. She was baffled by the lack of civic engagement among her peers in a social context marked by political divisions and economic disparities. She decided to do something about it.

To reach a larger audience, she joined a drama group at the university where she was able to influence her peers better. As she performed with purpose and passion in her theater group, EAI selected her as part of a program tailored to use participatory theater for conflict mitigation as a way to counter violent extremist narratives in Burkina Faso.

“Through EAI, I contributed to peaceful elections in 2015,” she said as she recalled her participation at various public information campaigns and peer-to-peer civic education efforts leading up to the election. In 2017, Aissatou was selected for the Voices for Peace’s (V4P) Tech Camp where she had the opportunity to meet like-minded change-agents and acquire new skills on advocacy, youth leadership, and social media management. Soon after that, she was selected to attend a regional youth forum in Niger, and she continued to expand her network. Building on her impressive youth engagement, she became more influential within the prestigious Youth African Leadership Initiative (YALI), a globally-celebrated network of emerging leaders of Africa created under former President Barack Obama’s leadership. Aissatou is part of the steering committee for the YALI’s alumni association that will convene 200 young leaders from 17 African countries in August 2018. “I crisscross the continent to teach students about peace, social cohesion, and inter-ethnic solidarity.” She said gleefully about her experience working with young students in Dakar to strengthen conflict transformation and peacebuilding.

Aissatou will serve as a mentor and coach for this year’s V4P’s Tech Camp participants in Burkina Faso and is a founding member of the Young Leaders for Peace, a network created by former V4P’s Tech Camp participants who tapped into social media to promote social cohesion. Alumni like Aissatou are the linchpin to solving the complex issues their communities face and EAI is working hard to amplify their voices and visions.

female youth leader building peace headshot

“Beyond personal achievements, youth have the responsibility to shape the future by engaging in peaceful civic action.”


Meet Muhammad, from Borno, Nigeria. Muhammad is an EAI Peace Promoter Fellow through the Farar Tattabara (White Dove) project. His community project is dedicated to eliminating hate speech on social media. Because of his vocal leadership, Muhammad has created a safe space to engage his peers in critical ideas relevant to the future of their communities. On his platforms, he discusses how young people can stear clear from violence and make positive choices for a more meaningful future.

Every opportunity I get I make sure I create awareness to the many listeners of the radio station or podcast program on peace, poverty and local news. And now, I have another powerful tool – my smartphone. Thanks to EAI and the White Dove project for giving me the basic and required skills for using social media platforms to create my awareness via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, WhatsApp, and lots more. Before I used to have a few followers, but now due to the impacts I am making of my awareness, my physical awareness, and social media awareness, I have thousands of followers. The impact is growing in my community and my state. Everywhere I go.


Meet Fadyah, an EAI Peace Promoting Fellow from Abuja, Nigeria. Faydah is working on a digital literacy project for kids who attend under-resourced public schools. Through the project, her team is blending education and technology to create safe spaces where kids can learn and grow to their full potential.

Our project focuses on promoting education with technology. In the process, we guide and mentor our audience to help them unlock their potential to create sustainable livelihoods. We are using education with technology to distract them from engaging in social misconduct and to help their intellectual development.

This story originally appeared in Exposure.

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