Half a day project lunching workshop was also a consultation workshop on the role of“the Online Youth for Peace and Democracy” in Oromia vis-à-vis Ethiopia. The workshop was conducted at Elilli Hotel August 13, 2022. The workshop was organized by CDCB to deliberate on the issue with relevant government agencies, invited youth, media professionals and stakeholders directly linked to the issues. At the workshop, the performance, achievement and challenges of the previous project and drawn lessons was presented. Subsequently, the project’s objective, planned activities and implementation strategies was presented for discussion. CDCB has also conducted the current media landscape analysis to set modalities of engagement for online youth volunteers. The draft media landscape analysis was also presented for further discussion and engagement. The consultation workshop was organized taking into account the objectives initially set: enhancing youth participation in leadership and democratizations; enhancing youth participation in the promotion of good governance and Human Rights; and promoting social cohesions and dialogue among cross-sections of society through positive dialogue on contentious and divisive national and local issues. At the outset, Obbo Amanuel Adnew, in his introductory remark recalled that the project was first phase undertakings and thanked the partner (National Endowment for Democracy (NED) who appreciated and financed the initiative that considers a big sector – social media – that has huge impact throughout the world. It was thus conceptualized that online participation of youth volunteers on peace and democracy would bear fruit, he said. On the basis of this concept, CDCB prepared action plan and started implementation in which youth in Oromia would use the media to contribute their part; but the outcome was not effective enough to meet expectations thus necessitated for this gathering, he indicated. Apparently, the previous project performance conducted at the end of the project period indicated the need for identifying what went wrong and take corrective measure(s) so as to revitalize the move. It is true that there are conflicts that interrupted peace and disrupted livelihoods of citizen in several parts of the country. In line with this observation, Obbo Gedeon Megersa of CDCB project coordinator presented results of the assessment in which he pinpointed the challenges encountered. In the previous project, Obbo Gedeon explained that assessment was conducted regarding major issues of conflict priory to social media engagements where various issues was anticipated to be causes of conflict as: identity; religion, corruption, ideology of politics; historical narratives, election and other issues were causes for the conflict on which 6 public dialogues on 11 topics were conducted.
Then Dr. Yohanes Shiferwa made presentation on the media landscape in its contribution towards Human Rights, Peace Building and Democracy which would in turn empower the youth. He said without having sufficient information it would not be possible to further the transition of the country for the expected changes. Dr. Yohanes identified the media types in operation as press, radio, television, internet, social media, outdoor media and billboard. He compared how much each of them is/are effective across urban centers and rural expanse. He concluded with evidence that the radio is very much effective to reach rural swiftly
while the others could fairly function in the urban. As to the advantages of the radio over the rest, he said one could listen to the radio while working but that is not the case with the others. Overall, internet is used by relatively less population in the urban and townships where connection is available though it is more or less a two way communication in that the audience interact in giving response to inquiries. After the two presentations, there was discussion among participants that covered a wide range of issues sifting through types of media outlets and the advantages to reach the community. Participants inquired as to why negative attitude prevailed in the use of the social media though most of the youth are attracted to it. Yet, they said more could be done considering issues raised and recommendations made to involve online youth volunteers more effectively free from bias and negativity without reasonable conclusions. Finally, participates appreciated that the project is such timely to the current Ethiopia challenges and expressed their commitment to support the successful implementation
of the project.