.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..
A press release from Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso
Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso partnered with the municipality of Ouahigouya to organize an unprecedented event to promote peace and social cohesion in the context of security challenges, the spread of violent extremism, and intercommunity tensions in Burkina Faso.
The event was organized within the framework of the project “Un Futur à Construire” (A Future to Build), funded by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany and Denmark through the PATRIP Foundation and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).
More than 500 participants, including local authorities, religious and customary leaders, and representatives of eight communities – Peules, Mossé, Samo, Gourounsi, Gourmantché, those of the Southwest (Lobi, Dagara Djan Pougli, Birifors), Bissa and the Malian community, which was invited as a guest of honor – took part in the event. The strong participation of women, with 300 present, underscored their crucial role in promoting resilience and community cohesion.
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Under the theme “Community Resilience in the Face of Security Challenges,” the event focused on building community resilience to combat insecurity and promote peace. Participants exchanged messages of peace, tolerance, and coexistence and shared inspirational quotes on the importance of unity and coexistence.
During the day, Adama, a local radio host, emphasized the importance of rediscovering the values that allowed their ancestors to live together peacefully, while Achille, the organizing committee’s communications manager, acknowledged his previous distrust of a particular community. However, he was moved by the message of that community’s representative and stressed the importance of analyzing one’s own prejudices and biases.
The event included games and a fair that lasted all day, promoting unity and friendship between the different communities. The participation of members of a community that was previously distrusted by others is a significant achievement demonstrating its courage and willingness to promote cohesion despite stigma and fear.
Community representatives expressed regret at escalating violence between the communities and called for dialogue to return to peaceful coexistence. The event was praised for the quality of the messages and the interest shown by the different communities towards each other, despite the initial tensions.
Search for Common Ground – Burkina Faso remains committed to promoting peace and social cohesion in Burkina Faso through various initiatives that encourage dialogue and collaboration between communities. We call on all stakeholders to join us in this effort to reduce conflict and promote sustainable peace in Burkina Faso.
(Click here for a French version.)