Between concern and optimism, young Ivorians talk about their future and the work of the United Nations
26 October 2020
UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/Milequem Diarrassouba
To mark its 75th anniversary, the United Nations engaged in a dialogue with thousands of young Ivorians about the future they want for their country and the world.
"I want the world and my country to be peaceful. This simple but highly important proposal was one of the statements Aicha, a 22-year-old U-Reporter, made in response to a survey sent by the United Nations in Côte d'Ivoire to young Ivorians in the context of its 75th anniversary celebrated this year. Like Aicha, more than 42,000 young people aged 15 to 34 from the U-Report network in Côte d'Ivoire  took part in this online survey on 28 August 2020. In response to the question, "What would you most like to see change in the world? ", 48% of responders called, like Aicha, for "less conflict", while 16% said they wanted improved "access to job opportunities".
Young people's expectations must not be disappointed
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Philippe Poinsot was invited to comment on the survey's result on Peace Radio and Trace FM, two local radio stations. He spoke on behalf of youth to Ivorian political leaders. "Ivorian youth want peace and more jobs. Everyone, especially politicians, should hear this message. We must not disappoint them," he urged.
Three young students, Yasmine, Landry and Hilary, also participated in these radio programmes with the Resident Coordinator. The recent violence seen ahead of the elections in the country and the rise of hate messages are not reassuring signs for youth. "Young people fear for their future in Côte d'Ivoire with the elections coming up. Many young people were manipulated during the various socio-political crises the country went through and during the 2002 and 2010 conflicts. We experienced tragic events that we do not want to experience again. We want a peaceful country where young people participate in decision-making and positive change within their communities," Landry said on a show called "Topic of Discussion" on Radio de la Paix.
"We want a peaceful country where young people participate in decision-making and positive change".
On the Trace FM radio show "Generation 2.0", the discussion on the results of the survey revolved around the aspirations of youth and creating the conditions conducive to unlocking their full potential. "The United Nations should help find a long-lasting solution to the issue of children in conflict with the law, do more to protect children, and help young people become a positive generation in Côte d'Ivoire," requested many of the listeners who took part in the conversation through telephone.
To learn more about the work of the UN around the world and in Côte d'Ivoire
Continuing the dialogue on the work of the United Nations around the world and more specifically in Côte d'Ivoire is precisely the reason why a live conversation was organized on 10 September on the U-Report online platform. On this occasion, a dozen experts from the various UN entities operating in the country answered the questions of more than 2,000 young people seeking to know more about the UN and its interventions. "What is the UN for? "; "What is the UN doing to fight against poverty and the spread of COVID-19 in the country?"; "Is the UN really impartial? These were some of the many questions young people asked, during a 2-hour session, to better understand the work of the UN on peace and sustainable development. "This live exchange with young people was an excellent exercise for strengthening their knowledge of the United Nations System. The many relevant questions they asked show their interest in the Organization and most importantly what they expect from us in terms of our capacity to make positive changes in the world and in their lives in particular," said Koné Souleymane, Communication Officer at the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Côte d'Ivoire.
"It was an excellent exercise for strengthening young people's knowledge of the United Nations system" says Souleymane.
As part of the campaign marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, online and media-related activities in Côte d'Ivoire will continue to take place until the end of this year to enable further dialogue with youth, partners and the public on the future they want and the United Nations that is needed to better shape that future.
 U-Report is a social platform developed by UNICEF in partnership with the Government of Côte d'Ivoire, aiming to strengthen the participation of youth and communities in the public debate to find solutions to the challenges they face and enable them to influence decision-making for positive change.
Produced by UN Côte d'Ivoire. Written by Benoît Gohoun, Communications and Advocacy Specialist, RCO. The original article in French was posted to the UN Côte d'Ivoire website on 14 September 2020. To learn more about the UNCT's work in UN Côte d'Ivoire, visit https://cotedivoire.un.org/fr/.