Did you ever sit on the bench watching your football team lose a game, thinking that if they only put you on the pitch at least you could have contributed to some sort of change that would have helped the team?

Football and policymaking is not as different as one might think.

We, the youth, are put on the bench. Yet we are expected to accept that we need to stay strong in defeat when we are losing because of someone else´s decision. How will we ever win a game if we are not included and consulted in the tactics before we start the game?

Participation is a fundamental right and a cornerstone for successful democracy. The UNSCR 2250 therefore asks every government to increase young people’s participation in decision making processes at all levels.

So when decisions about the wellbeing and future of the youth is made, let’s not get stuck on the bench anymore, watching our team lose. Let’s change the game by participating and actively contributing to the future, the future we are supposed to live. Young people’s needs and perspective are to be taken seriously at all levels and we will never be taken seriously if do not participate and have our saying about the decisions that are made about us.

What do you need in order to be able to participate in decision-making processes to reduce and prevent violence and build peace in your local community?