In a heartwarming virtual graduation ceremony held on Wednesday 27 September 2023, the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) celebrated the remarkable achievement of the 2023 cohort of the “Youth Transformational Empowerment and Mentorship (Y-TEaM) Programme.” This Programme has left an indelible mark on 27 young people from diverse backgrounds across 13 countries in West Africa who embarked on a transformative journey from January to August 2023.
Comprising 17 females and 10 males, these mentees engaged in a comprehensive curriculum that spanned nine months of training, internship, and of mentorship. This holistic approach significantly enriched their knowledge and skills across a wide spectrum of subjects related to peace, security, governance, communication, and development.
During the ceremony, the mentees were awarded certificates, marking the successful completion of their mentoring journey. The 2023 cohort benefited from the guidance of an experienced team of mentors who facilitated their mentoring process and engaged in internship programmes with WANEP National Secretariats across West Africa.
Dr. Chukwuemeka B. Eze, WANEP’s Executive Director, delivered an inspirational opening address. He expressed his gratification at witnessing the remarkable growth and transformation of the mentees from across the region. Dr. Eze challenged them to innovate and make a meaningful impact, emphasizing that even small efforts can create significant change.
Dr. Onyinye ONWUKA, Head of Mediation and Coordination of Regional Political Affairs, Directorate of Political Affairs, Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, The ECOWAS Commission, Abuja, Nigeria, conveyed her elation at being part of the mentoring process and commended WANEP for empowering young people with essential soft skills. She underscored the importance of intergenerational dialogue and knowledge transfer in achieving sustainable development in West Africa.
Ms. Josiane Sombo, Youth Peace and Security Programme Officer at WANEP and Y-TEaM Coordinator, provided an insightful overview of the Y-TEaM programme since its official launch on 21 November 2022.
Mr. Romaric Houdou Samson, Programme Officer for Monitoring and Evaluation at WANEP, highlighted key achievements and challenges. These achievements included an increased knowledge, skills and commitment to peace, security, governance, and development among mentees. Some challenges raised included funding constraints, internet service quality in mentees’ countries, and measuring the long-term impact of the 2023 cohort. Mr. Samson also noted the importance to maintain a rigorous screening process to identify dedicated fresh graduates and the need to consider some physical sessions for greater impact.
H.E Emmanuel Bombande, UN Senior Mediation Adviser and former Executive Director and Co-founder of WANEP, commended WANEP for its unique initiative and emphasised the Programme’s high number of female participants, reflecting WANEP’s commitment to inclusivity in peacebuilding. He encouraged the mentees to remain curious, continue learning, and make the world a better place through their actions.
The ceremony also saw the inauguration of the 2023 cohort’s executive members, including a President, Vice-President, and Communication and Public Relations Focal Person. The latter expressed gratitude on behalf of her colleagues and extended appreciation to WANEP for the numerous opportunities provided throughout the Y-TEaM programme.
The Y-TeaM programme continues to empower and inspire young leaders, fostering a brighter future for peace and development in West Africa.
For more information about the Y-TEaM programme, please visit link