Carter Center Issues Report on Sudan’s Youth and the Transition
KHARTOUM (Aug. 5, 2021) — The Carter Center today released “Sudan’s Youth and the Transition: Priorities, Perception, and Attitudes,” a report that presents the experiences, expectations, and hopes of Sudanese youth regarding the country’s transition from Omar al-Bashir’s regime to democracy.
The report is based on extensive survey research conducted in March and April 2021 with representatives of youth-led organizations and resistance committees across Sudan. The groundbreaking research found that youth are optimistic about the future and keen to support the country’s transition. However, there are gaps in meeting youth’s expectations about both the government’s progress and opportunities for youth involvement that, if not managed properly, could create significant obstacles to the Transition.
“Sudan’s revolution was led by youth, and it is important that they have a voice in their country’s future,” said Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander. “As we pass the halfway mark of the transition timetable, this report offers insight into how youth view what has happened so far and makes suggestions for how policymakers can benefit from and empower youth in the months and years to come.”
The research consisted of a survey of more than 1,000 representatives of youth-led organizations and resistance committees in all 18 states as well as more than 120 focus groups and one-on-one interviews with additional activists. It was conducted on the basis of a memorandum of understanding between The Carter Center and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Seventy-four percent of surveyed youth say they are optimistic about the future. They are eager to be involved in the decisions of the transitional government. A majority of youth report being satisfied with the performance of the transitional government.
But at the same time, only 4% said that the goals of the revolution had been achieved “to a great extent,” and over 40% said they had little to no influence on the course of the transition. Activists in focus groups expressed frustration that while their opinions are heard, they are often not valued or acted upon by policymakers.
Nationwide, youth interlocutors expressed a strong wish to play a more significant part in government decision-making and to engage more directly with government officials. Youth particularly requested training in accessing information about the transition and peace negotiations, as well as training in public communication and social media to bolster their advocacy efforts.
In surveys as well as in focus groups and one-on-one interviews, youth named the rising cost of living, unemployment, and the lack of basic services as their top priorities. They said improving the economy and ensuring an equitable distribution of resources will help reduce crime as well as racial and ethnic conflict.
Respondents were split evenly on whether they believed the timeline of the transition, including the conduct of free elections, would be respected. Focus group participants cited concerns about the delay in forming the Transitional Legislative Council and other institutions mandated by the Constitutional Charter. Over 80% view the government’s peacemaking efforts as successful and support an acceleration of peace negotiations.
One highlight from the report is that nearly all respondents support advancing transitional justice. While no single body enjoys high trust among youth, civil society and independent commissions were cited as the most trusted institutions to implement transitional justice measures.
The report concludes by offering recommendations for ways in which national and international actors can support youth voices and enhance their capacities as local peacebuilders and promoters of civic spaces within a peaceful, democratic transition.
You can find the full report here.
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A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.