As the world continues to battle with various forms of violent conflicts and emerging security threats, peace-building and investing in formidable security are at the top of the agenda for many nations; and rightly so, peace is described as the bedrock for development and prosperity.
Though Ghana is a relatively peaceful and commonly referred to as a ‘peaceful country in the middle of turbulence’, Ghana has not been spared from elections-related violence and inter and intra-ethnic or tribal conflicts.
Interventions to promote trust and relationship building as well as deepen local ties and understanding are needed more than ever as activities of violent extremist groups continue to grow near our borders.
Both government and civil society organisations, including community-based NGOs and youth groups, are working assiduously to maintain the peaceful atmosphere of the country.
African Students For Interfaith Tolerance https://asfitnetwork.org, a youth-led peace-building non-profit organisation, is one of such grassroots organisations working to promote peaceful coexistence in the northern part of Ghana through various interventions, such as interfaith and intergenerational dialogues, peace education, and capacity-building opportunities for both youths and non-youth groups.
As part of the organisation’s peace efforts, it annually partners with other organisations to host a residential peace camp for young people of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds in order to imbibe in them the skills of peace-building and tools of conflict transformation.
This year, thirty (30) young men and women were brought together to Walewale, the capital of West Mamprusi Municipal in the North East Region, under the theme: ‘Peace Built by Many Hands’ from 1st – 3rd December to participate in this year’s Ghana Peace Camp.
Participants were taken through various activities and training sessions including spiritual reasoning, celebrating diversity, digital safety, forgiveness, ideating and co-creating simple peace initiatives, and engagements with religious and traditional leaders.
Mr. Issah Toha Shamsoo, the Executive Director of African Students For Interfaith Tolerance https://asfitnetwork.org, explained that: “Ghana Peace Camp 2022 is intended to provide an opportunity for youths to listen to one another’s perspectives, interact with their fellow peace-builders, explore topics of peace and reconciliation, and unite around initiatives for positive changes within their communities. I am very excited to see fellow young people coming together for peace and living side by side for three days even though they are from different religious and cultural backgrounds”.
He also asked for support in order to sustain their peace-building work.
“We are open to partnerships with individuals, private businesses, government bodies, and other NGOs. Brave Aurora https://braveaurora.com and Northern Innovation Lab https://northernilab.com joining hands with us to make this a reality clearly demonstrates their commitment to building peaceful societies, and underscores the importance of partnerships in peace-building.”
The participants were full of praise for the organisers and expressed their desire to spread the word of peace in their respective communities.