The second training of peace volunteers to improve on community action towards peace in Cameroon has come to an end in Bamenda, Cameroon’s North West regional headquarters. The training organized by the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation through the Nkafu Policy Institute, a research and Think Tank at the Foundation is the second of its kind, after a similar one was organized in Buea, South West Region of the country on the 3rd of December.
The Bamenda training took place on the 5th of December 2019 at the Mansfield Plaza Hotel, bringing together youth, women leaders, community leaders, business leaders and members of the civil society. The training of peace advocates for the peaceful resolution of the conflicts in Cameroon is coming at a time where the country is living it’s most affected sociopolitical tensions
Cameroon is beset with two violent conflicts according to the International Crisis Group. The first conflict the group says is between the government and separatists from the English-speaking minority which has killed over 3,000 people and displaced 600,000. In the Anglophone regions, 800,000 children are out of school and one in three of the four million people are in need of aid. The Crisis Group notes that the country also faces a renewed Boko Haram insurgency which has come back after waning briefly. Since the terrorist group resurfaced, it has carried out deadly attacks in the Lake Chad basin. The war with Boko Haram — centred in the Far North — has killed 2,000 Cameroonians, displaced 250,000 and triggered the rise of vigilante self-defence groups. Elsewhere, and particularly following the October 2018 presidential election, ethnic discourse is heightening political tensions.
The training is a joint effort of the Nkafu Policy Institute at the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy which seeks to de-escalate tensions by training community leaders to take peaceful initiatives to end the numerous conflicts
According to Dr Bokalli Emile Sedar, Lecturer at the University of Bamenda and main trainer, all of us are fighting for a solution means that we have to deal with issues of element conflict. When this is done, Dr Bokalli says will permit the identification of the origin of the said conflict and thus making it easy for a solution to be found and create a peaceful environment needed by all. Dr Emile Trained on the first module which focused on the theoretical and Conceptual underpinings of peace, conflict and violence/war that provided participants a conceptual understanding of the key concepts and their applications.
The second module focused on methods of practical Conflict Prevention, management and transformation, facilitated by Mbeng Primus, research fellow and assistant lecturer. Mr Mben Primus thinks a lot has not been done to achieve peace, the first thing he says “is that are not committed and serious. As youths we need to be serious in our actions for peace because it is only a serious minded people that can achieve peace in our context. We need to go down to the community, talking alone here during conferences without going down to the grassroots talking to the people who are most affected in the conflict is not enough, so we have to go down to the roots, go down to the people and talk to them, give them ideas and skills of peace building. How can they keep peace in their local communities, the micro level. Most at times we focus at the macro level, forgetting that the crisis began at the micro level. We have to go down to the population, talk to them about the importance of Peace building, peace promotion and peace sustainability.
Participants testified how the training has been of tremendous help to them in their journey as peace advocates. Bongu Justin, head of operations at the Bamenda regional office of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa says the opportunity was really a great one for them as peace builders especially in a time like this in the North West region “that we are plagued by the crisis, so it is all about networking with our peers and also creating forums in which we can engage each other. It is beyond my imagination what I have gained from here. I just thought I was coming to listen to some class lectures but what I had here is really going to help me a lot, it will go a long way to make me know how I can also come in contact with other advocates in the domain of peace I never knew. So I believe this platform that the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation and the Nkafu Policy Institute have put in place, I see that they have created another space for us to engage together. ” we have been challenged to create an impact in our communities, join some networks, create our own movements and I think today is a new beginning in the peace process in Cameroon ”
Source: Bantu Voices
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