Tag Archives: Africa

Togo: Catholic Church urges media to serve dialogue, peace and reconciliation

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from Togo Presse (translated by CPNN)

Some 50 journalists from Catholic media and secular media from the seven dioceses of Togo took part, on Tuesday and Wednesday (21-22 August), in CESAL, in Lomé-Tokoin, in a training workshop on the theme: “The media at the service of dialogue, reconciliation and peace”. The project is in the hands of the Catholic Episcopal Council for Social Communications (CENCCS), in partnership with the World Catholic Association for Communication (SIGNIS), the Propaganda Fide, with the sponsorship of the Conference of Bishops of Togo (CET) ). It aims to strengthen the capacity of media professionals to contribute to the success of inter-Togolese dialogue, national reconciliation and the consolidation of social peace.


Emmanuel Mawusi, clarifies the objectives of the workshop

The essential functions of a media is to inform, educate and entertain. As such, in a process of dialogue and reconciliation, as is the case in Togo, which is going through a momentous moment in its history, the media must be mediators between the protagonists of the crisis. But it is clear that the Togolese press, for the most part, ignores this role, preferring to play the game of politics. It is therefore to remind them of this role of awakeners of conscience that the Catholic Episcopal Council for Social Communications (CENCCS) initiated, for the pastoral agents of the sector of Catholic media and secular media of the seven dioceses of Togo , a workshop on the theme: “Media for Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace”.

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Click here for the original version in French)

Question(s) related to this article:

African journalism and the Culture of Peace, A model for the rest of the world?

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For two days, seasoned speakers spoke on several sub-themes namely “Dialogue in the management of a political crisis: the case of Togo”, “Reconciliation in traditional and contemporary societies”, “Promotion of culture of peace: the role of the media professionals “, “The role of the media in a process of dialogue and reconciliation”and “Exchanges on the use of traditional and contemporary techniques of production of media content in favor of ‘peace journalism”.

“We want that, starting from here, we can act as we should with great circumspection by using the words and doing the right thing to really help the Togolese to reconcile, to know how to manage the moments of crisis. Words have strength. By speech or a statement, people can be manipulated based on what is said. So, as media professionals, we hold the very crux of the crisis in this country. When there is a crisis without dialogue, we go to the impasse. We are here to teach Togolese to stay together while being on various sides,” said Rev. Emmanuel Mawusi, Secretary General of CENCCS.

For Daniel Lawson Drakey, one of the communicators, the journalist, as an educator and awakener of conscience, must make a difference. The journalist should be at the disposal of the population wherever there is an issue without taking a stand. “It’s about not throwing oil on the fire. Today we have the impression that journalists have become political actors. They speak in the place of the politician. This makes us no longer understand the role of the media within the populations. Combat journalism has had its day. Today, everyone is talking about the development of our states. When a journalist engages politically, he loses credibility. But if it becomes independent, the people find in it a credibility and they listen to it,

Morocco and Senegal promote gender equality through media

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from Devdiscourse

The first traveling workshop of the project ” Prevent violence and promote gender equality through the media in Morocco and Senegal ” was held from 16 to 18 August 2018 in Thiès (Dakar-Senegal). An activity that allowed the various participating journalists to build their capacity in the mastery of the concept of gender, human rights issues and their consideration in the collection and processing of information.


©UNESCO/Théodora Samba Taliane

The project “Preventing violence and promoting gender equality through the media in Morocco and Senegal”, funded by Spain under the International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC), has as its main objective to empower beneficiaries to promote gender equality and combat the reporting and spread of hate speech in the media while promoting a better strategic approach to the use of digital.

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Click here for the version in French)

Question related to this article:

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

African journalism and the Culture of Peace, A model for the rest of the world?

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The project is implemented in Senegal with the support of partners at the national level such as the Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications, Posts and the Digital Economy, the Senegalese National Commission for UNESCO (COMNAT), the Union of Associative and Community Radios of Senegal (URAC), 

A series of four itinerant workshops are planned to be held throughout Senegal. It is in this context that the first event was organized. The workshop, which was held on August 16, 17, 18, welcomed nearly 40 participants, members of the community radios as well as the online press, located in the region of Dakar and Thiès.

For three days they were trained on the concepts of human rights, gender and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); and in journalistic techniques, on the notions of ethics and deontology in the treatment of information. 

At the end of the training sessions, the participants were asked to make radio and written productions, respecting the notions of gender, ethical and ethical according to the knowledge acquired. These productions will be monitored throughout the implementation of the project for dissemination to local communities. 

This workshop was an opportunity, especially for members of the online press, to participate for the first time in an activity dealing with gender issues, demonstrating clearly that the need for strengthening on these themes is essential, and this at all scales. The next traveling workshops will be held in Kaolack (September), St. Louis (October) and Kolda (November).

Promoting a culture of peace and gender equality is central to UNESCO’s mission. This project is part of the Organization’s drive to strengthen peace and non-violence through the media with a focus on building their capacity to advance ethical, objective and quality journalism.

Eritrea hosts peace meeting between Ethiopia govt and Tigray ‘rebels’

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article by Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban for Africa News

Eritrea on Tuesday [28 August] hosted reconciliation meeting between the Ethiopian government and a rebel group belonging to the far north Tigray region.  

According to Information Minister Yemane Meskel, representatives from Addis Ababa led by the Director of the National Intelligence and Security Service met with a delegation of the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement, TPDM.

Whiles the Ethiopian intelligence chief led the government team, the TPDM was led by its chairman Mokonen Tesfay.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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This is a continuation reconciliation efforts led by Asmara between Addis Ababa, Ethiopian regional governments and rebel groups that have been based in Eritrea.

So far, Asmara has been the venue of meetings between Ethiopia and rebel groups from the Oromia and Amhara regions.

On August 16, representatives of the Amhara Region and the Amhara Democratic Forces Movement, (ADFM), signed a Reconciliation Agreement in Asmara today. The Agreement provided for the ADFM to pursue its political activities in Ethiopia through peaceful means.

In early August, Ethiopia and the Oromo Liberation Front, OLF signed a Reconciliation Agreement.The deal was reached between President of the Oromo Region, Mr. Lemma Mergesa & OLF Chairman, Mr. Dawd Ibsa.

It provided for i) termination of hostilities; ii) that the OLF will conduct its political activities in Ethiopia through peaceful means. The two sides also agreed: (iii) to establish a Joint Committee to implement the agreement. Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu participated in the meeting.

Ethio-Eritrean thaw heading for democratic Horn and stronger IGAD

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article by Yosef Ketema in The Ethiopian Herald

The recent  and landmark  rapprochement  of Ethiopia and Eritrea will play crucial role in  bringing about genuine  and home-grown democracy as well as strengthening the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Scholars say.    

For Addis Ababa University African Political Studies lecturer Tewodros Mebratu,  Ethiopia’s  ongoing political reforms and the rapid  thaw between Ethiopia and Eritrea  after  two decades of no peace-no war situation, have several positive spillover effects in  the  Horn of  Africa and beyond.

He says : “During the past two decades, many countries in East Africa, Middle East and others used to be in diplomatic dilemma as they could  not confidently  decide with whom they could forge warmer ties with either Ethiopia and Eritrea.” 

He, moreover, says because of the two countries’ hostile relations, insurgent groups and terrorists had been taking advantages of the situation  in carrying out various terrorist acts in the region. 

“Also regional organizations like IGAD had  been accustomed to lack of consistency in  decision -making  on various  regional and international  matters.

And this in turn has played big role in weakening IGAD’s influence on  building sustainable peace and economic partnership with other regional players, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and The Southern African Development Community (SADC) which  are relatively successful in reinforcing peace and stability as well as cooperation among their members,” he  points out.

He, therefore, notes that the thawing of the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea will benefit both countries economically, socially and politically as their priorities are definitely  going to  be realizing peace, regional cooperation and prosperity.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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“Hopefully, the ending of the state of war between these two  countries will give impetus   to Eritrea  in a bid to  put into action  its  homegrown  democracy as  the country’s existential  security  risk has been removed for good.” 

Regarding the rejoining  of Eritrea  to IGAD, he says it will strengthen this regional organization’s activities  towards ensuring peace and  stability  in South Sudan and Somalia, which have been  the headache of  the Horn region for a long time.

“So long as IGAD member states work in unison against poverty, corruption and foreign intervention, IGAD will get the chance and capacity to positively intervene in issues like South Sudan and can reinforce stability for the region’s habitants,” Tewodros  notes.

Humanitarian Expert Mulualem Getachew, who works for the  International Organizations Affairs division at the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for his part says : “The  Ethio-Eritrea Stalemate that lasted for nearly two decades had created havoc in  the efforts of  strengthening   IGAD’s role in  bringing economic integration among  member states. Plus these two countries’ rivalry  used to have great impacts against settling the conflicts in South Sudan and Somalia.”

He therefore says that from now on, it will be  easier for IGAD to mobilize its community and to solve burning issues like South Sudan’s case and channel its full effort in bringing sustainable development in the Horn region.  

If the current  promising political reforms in Ethiopia move  at a good pace , the Horn  region  will have bright future of democratization, he says adding : “Now, we can unequivocally say  that the right time has  come to fight terrorism.”

He  also  underscores  that  it was  difficult and  impossible to dismantle terrorism during  the past  two decades as Eritrea remained passive  in fighting terrorism.

Therefore, both Tewodros and Mulalem indicate the current political situations in Ethiopia and Eritrea have brought great opportunities for East African countries and IGAD  in line with  ensuring genuine  democracy, holding  similar stands on various regional and international agendas and speeding  up the ongoing  political as well as economic integration of the region.

Eritreans and Ethiopians in Khartoum rally in support of peace deal

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from Shabait: Eritrea Ministry of Information

Eritreans and Ethiopians in Khartoum and its environs have jointly expressed support for the joint peace and friendship agreement signed by Eritrea and Ethiopia on 9 July in Asmara.

At the rally that was organized by the communities of Eritrea and Ethiopia on 3 August, thousands of citizens of both countries expressed support to the historic agreement reached between President Isaias Afwerki and Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed to normalize relation and they pledged to play due part for its success.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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Speaking at the event, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, Charge d’Affairs at the Eritrean Embassy in Sudan, noting that the agreement the two countries reached will help make up years of lost opportunities of cooperation and partnership, reminded all citizens to play due part to that effect.

Expressing his conviction that the peace deal the two leaders reached without the involvement of a third party will ensue sustainable solution, the Charge d’Affairs at the Embassy of Ethiopia in Sudan, Mr. Amsalu Hatie said that the peaceful rally both Eritreans and Ethiopians in Khartoum have conducted in support of the peace deal attests to the desire of the two peoples for peace and cooperation.

Besides the rally, the communities of Eritrea and Ethiopia in Khartoum and its environs have handed over Letter of Support to the Charge d’Affairs of both countries’ Embassies expressing their support to the peace and friendship agreement.


After escaping 35 years of slavery, this black Mauritanian woman is running for office

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

An article from Face2face Africa

A former slave in Mauritania has put her name on the ballot for the elections in September.

Habi Mint Rabah became a slave when she was just five years old and was only released in 2008.

Habi Mint Rabah became a slave when she was just five years old and was only released in 2008.

“I became a slave at the age of five. Every day I had to take care of the flock. Every night I was raped by my master. I always believed, without really understanding, that it was normal, “she said.

As a slave, she hauled water, did the cooking, and sometimes slept next to the goats on the sand.

“I carried the water on my back. I ate the leftover food. If they left nothing, I had nothing to eat. I was sleeping wherever I could find a place – sometimes in the sand, with the goats.”

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Question related to this article:

What is the state of human rights in the world today?

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Her owners  would even deny her the chance to pray, telling her that she did not deserve to because her soul was inferior.

She was able to escape slavery thanks to her brother Bilal Ould Rabah who freed himself and alerted the anti-slavery movement IRA and human rights group, who mobilised her release after 35 years in bondage.

“Even if sometimes I don’t have anything to eat, at least I have my freedom now. My freedom is the most important thing. I’m like another person now. I’m the master of my own life,” she said after she was released.

Rabah is one of the black women in Mauritania who have been enslaved by their light-skin country people.

The country is considered the slave-capital of Africa and the practice is still ongoing. The government has denied the existence of slavery  amid pressure from the United Nations and other rights groups.

Rights groups have also been under attack for protesting slavery, with the government accusing them of colluding  with the West to destabilise the country.

Rabah is vying for a parliamentary seat under the Sawap-Ira coalition.

According to the president of IRA, Biram Dah Abeid, Rabah is the perfect candidate for a number of reasons:

“[She’s] a victim of slavery that has been liberated. She is in our ranks, militant, and it is she who will bring the contradiction to the dominant slavery group, in the future Mauritanian Parliament,” he said.

This will be the first time for the abolitionist group to participate in elections after it registered as a political party.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

USA and Nigeria: The Right to Water

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

Information from Corporate Accountability

The government in Lagos, Nigeria is considering at least five water privatization projects. In response 23 members of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus issued a powerful statement in solidarity with the Our Water, Our Right campaign, which is leading the movement to keep water affordable and accessible in Lagos. The statement highlighted the perils of water privatization and connected the dots between struggles in the Detroit, Flint, Pittsburgh, and Lagos, Nigeria.


Akinbode Mathew Oluwafemi

Here is their letter:

To Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi
Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth Nigeria
Lagos, Nigeria

Dear Akinbode Oluwafemi and members of the “Our Water, Our Right” Coalition,

We. members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus signed below, continue to stand with you and our brothers and sisters in communities across the United States, the African continent, and the world as we struggle together to achieve the universal human right to clean, safe drinking water.

Thank you for bringing to our attention developments since our 2015 communication about the situation in Lagos, Nigeria, where a mere fraction ofthe city’s roughly 21 million people have regular access to safe water. Water is a fundamental human right and building block upon which individual and collective economic prosperity relies. When people cannot access or afford clean water, the impact on their health and livelihoods is devastating. As you know all too well, these circumstances force families to make painful economic choices.

Unfortunately, water access is a problem that transcends national boundaries. In the U.S. city of Detroit, low-income residents continue to experience inhumane water shutoffs, a development that has drawn the concern of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation. In Flint, nearly 100,000 people are still dealing with the effects of being poisoned by contaminated water, and are demanding infrastructure repair and health services.

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Question related to this article:

Is the right to water a basic human right?

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In Pittsburgh, people are facing elevated lead levels and working to ensure their water is safe, affordable and publicly-controlled. In both Pittsburgh and Flint, people are fighting for democratic control of their water systems: organizing against privatization in Pittsburgh, rebuilding from the devastating legacy of emergency management in Flint, and holding the global water corporation, Veolia, accountable for its role in the public health crises in both of these cities. At the root of the water crisis in the U.S. is a failure to invest in our precious public water infrastructure, which is an important foundation for achieving the human right to water. And as you know personally, the people of Lagos are facing the possibility that their water services will also be privatized.

We are deeply concerned that low-income communities, African Americans and other people of color, and people in the Global South are disproportionately affected when water is managed with greater attention to profits and finances than to human rights. Time and time again we have seen this practice result in abuses in the most vulnerable communities, whether through neglect and failure to invest in public infrastructure, or through outright privatization. While we cannot all be experts on the distinct water access challenges facing each of the world’s cities, we share your concerns that a move towards privatization of the water system in Lagos, including through public-private partnerships, could leave the city vulnerable to the negative impacts historically associated with various forms of water privatization, including rate hikes, unaffordable service, inequitable access, worker layoffs, service interruptions, and failures to adequately invest in infrastructure. Privatization also introduces significant governance challenges that can erode democratic control and oversight, including the government’s ability to regulate in the public interest.

Protecting this public good requires transparency, democratic decision-making, and strong public participation, particularly when governments consider contracting private, for-profit entities for water delivery and management. It is in this spirit that we wish to express our solidarity with the people of Lagos, Detroit, Flint, Pittsburgh, and cities around the world as they raise their voices in support of public water, participatory governance, and universal access. Movements like yours provide us with an inspiring example of democracy in action and a valuable contribution to the struggle to secure the human right to water.

We also wish to demonstrate our support for governments exercising leadership, courage, and political will to stand up to powerful interests and make the strong public investments in water infrastructure that have proven successful in the past. It is our hope that we can continue working together to ensure that all people enjoy their fundamental human right to water.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Faces Of Africa – Defenders of the Forest [Madagascar]

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from CGTN

Madagascar is one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots. The vast majority of its species of fauna and flora are endemic to the island. Much of Madagascar’s wildlife is under threat, particularly humid forest. The severe poverty that afflicts the island communities is causing serious damage to its environment. Turning these practices around will mean finding ways for locals to benefit from the natural environment. This is where Mitsinjo Association comes in. The organization is composed of the local conservationists who are dedicated towards the conservation of the island’s heritage.



Video

It all started when tourists would go into Andasibe village and requested to see the forest. Later in 1999, Mitsinjo was formed by local villagers. “We started as guides only, protecting the forest, trying to plant trees,” told Justin Claude – Mitsinjo Amphibian conservation director. When Justin joined Mitsinjo, he was only seventeen years old. He was the youngest founder in the group. The group embarked on planting trees and conserving the animals that were in danger of extinction. Each member is assigned a particular zone depending on their expertise. One of the members Youssouf Martin is in charge of tree nurseries while Justin is in charge of the Amphibians.

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Question for this article:

When you cultivate plants, do you cultivate peace?

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“Before, I was a guide and afterwards they asked me to help them do reforestation here. Because I was born here in this village I can do this work because I have much knowledge about the rainforest. This project is a program to plant more native trees. We’re restoring 25 hectares per year so we must grow 30, 000 seedlings with the 60 different species of the native tree,” told Youssouf – Mitsinjo tree nursery specialist.

Madagascar is thought to have more than three hundred species of frogs, ninety nine percent of which are endemic. These are one of the most critically endangered creatures on the Island. Hence in 2010, Justin started the amphibian conservation project. The project is the first one of its kind in Madagascar. In 2013, Justin went for training on amphibian conservation in the United States of America. Coming back to Madagascar, he established a breeding facility for the frogs. The facility remains under his supervision.

Besides the wildlife being under threat of endangerment, the environment faces serious threats too. Clearance of forests primarily for firewood and charcoal is rampant in Madagascar. Hence the group carries out sensitization forums with the locals to stress on the importance of conserving the forests.

This is where education comes in. Mitsinjo engages in a variety of education and capacity building programs for the communities they support, including schools. “Mitsinjo needed a head for environmental education, which also has a link to teaching. I accepted, because I was born here. The environment and love of nature are important to me too. We work with schools all over the region of Andasibe (their village). Over the holidays we create clubs for children who don’t have the money to travel”, said Irene Ramanantenasoa – Mitsinjo environmental education officer. This group of Andasibe local conservationists is working tirelessly to ensure that the glory of its forests is restored and conserved.

Mauritania: Creation of the Youth Movement for Employment

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from Maghreb Emerging

On Thursday [July 26] the Youth Movement for Employment held a press conference at which this movement announced its creation.


Photo by CRIDEM

The president of the movement, Mr. Balle Diagne spoke about the causes behind the creation of the movement and reviewed its objectives which aim, among other things, the recovery of young people exposed to a potential rupture with society and to fight at their side against drug abuses, narcotics, criminal gangs, as well as extremist currents etc.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question(s) related to this article:

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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To this end, the movement aims to create a space for exchanges and functional learning between state and non-state institutions, to popularize national unity and cohesion and to challenge decision-makers and economic operators to invest in promoting of youth development and raising awareness of the values ​​of citizenship and the culture of peace.

In this context, the president of the movement stressed the importance for young people to preserve national assets and to promote development projects for young people.

As for the secretary general of the movement, Mrs. Malika Mint Mohamed Saleck, she reaffirmed the same principles and objectives inviting all young Mauritanians to join the movement that aims to develop Mauritania and protect against all dangers.

Responding to a question from the Mauritanian Information Agency on the nature of the movement, Balle Diagne said the movement is not political, but he called on Mauritanian youth to register on the electoral roll and to participate fully in the elections.

He added that his movement does not operate within the framework of tribal and regional sectarian structures but, on the contrary, strongly opposes them. He said he believes in the skills and abilities of young Mauritanians.

Women in school to promote a sustainable peace in Cameroon

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from Media Terre (translation by CPNN)

“The role of women in conflict resolution and in the construction of a lasting peace in Cameroon”: This was the theme of the program “Ladies Hours” held by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung for Cameroon and Central Africa in Bastoson July 24, 2018. The program is a platform for exchange, information and training of women on the issues of the hour. Twenty-five women decision-makers from the government, political parties, civil society, cultural and professional associations and the media were invited to this quarterly meeting. They shared their experiences and worked for reforms to improve the status of women to be better partners in building sustainable peace and development in Cameroon.

(Click here for the original article in French.)

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(Click here for the original French version)

Question for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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What role do women play in today’s conflicts?

An inventory of women’s activity in the current security situation in our country indicates that it is women and girls who suffer the most in conflicts because of their vulnerability: poverty, rape, destruction of their homes. sometimes their relocation, loss of loved ones. Women are absent in decision-making bodies. They are not involved in socio-political activity and do not confront the different crises such as Boko Haram and the Anglophone crisis. Women in the English-speaking regions have formed an awareness and mediation group for a return to calm.

What can women do in building lasting peace?

The education of a society is mainly based on women. They are life givers, protectors of life, initiators of life. They therefore have a very great responsibility in the culture of peace through the initiation of children and society to justice, to peace. The culture of peace is a set of acts and attitudes that give precedence to social harmony and that have as a prerequisite social justice. Women must therefore be agents of peace and actors of peacebuilding in Cameroon through their attitudes, the language they hold, the positions and analyses they make of different situations in life. Justice and equity must govern their actions. For this, they must use all the means at their disposal to build peace in Cameroon, and advocate for the protection of women and girls in times of conflict. In addition, women must work together to engage in an inclusive dialogue on the culture of peace.

In conclusion, an invitation was made to women decision-makers for awareness-raising and ongoing training of women members of their organization on the context and the need for women to be key players in building lasting peace in the world in general and in Cameroon in particular.