Joint Report of the Launching of Peace Education Campaign in Douala, on Tuesday, July 9, 2019
The event was the third phase of the launching of the Peace Education Campaign in Cameroon. Similar events had already taken place in Buea in the South West Region and Bamenda in the North Region, held under very close observation by the government. The National Peace Education Campaign launching at Douala in the Littoral region had as participants, members of civil society organizations, teachers, students, bankers and pastors from different denominations. The meeting was organized by ROHI Foundation, Cameroon Peace Foundation Association, and the Global Campaign for Peace Education.
Discussions During the Meeting
The meeting opened with the reading of the agenda for the meeting, and prayer by one of the participants. This was immediately followed by the introduction of all participants and their organizations. Then followed a word of welcome from Rev. Dr. Fuhbang Emmanuel from ROHI Foundation. He started by thanking participants for honoring the invitation for the launching. He averred that it was extremely difficult to organize this event in the Littoral due to some administrative complications that led to the change of venue of the event on its eve. So the national campaign for peace education team coming from different regions had to put enormous effort to kick-start the peace education campaign in the Littoral. He stated that the campaign would have kick-started on a better venue and with greater number of participants but for the government authority. He apologized for the inconveniences that this might have created to participants and also thanked those who assisted in getting the new venue.
The next item on the agenda was a peace talk by the peace expert, Mr. Nforndip Ben Oru alias “Ben Peaceman” from the Cameroon Peace Foundation Association, Buea. He started by stating his background as a peace ambassador who studied at the United Nation University for Peace in Costa Rica where he studied peace education. He proceeded to point out his challenge of incorporating peace education in the school curriculum because of the Cameroonian authorities at the time. But despite this challenge, he has always been promoting peace through peace clubs and outdoor campaigns. He exhorted participants on the fact that peace education is the only way out of violent conflicts in Cameroon. He stated that if we fail to teach young people peace, they will learn about violence.
Mr. Nforndip Ben Oru stated that if we fail to teach young people peace, they will learn about violence.
He proceeded to state the pillars of peace, which are: Justice and strong institutions, the love for your neighbor, acceptance of human rights, sound business environment, free flow of information, equitable distribution of resources etc. He highlighted the fact that for this to be achieved there must be a proper peace education at schools. He then defined peace education as the process of acquiring knowledge and values that lead to peace, as per Johan Gultang, the father of peace studies. He also stated that peace education is holistic and can be taught at all levels of education.
Also, another point of interest was to know what the values of peace are. He said the values of peace are justice, truth, love. But what can we do to achieve peace? The participants responded by saying that we can organize workshops and training program like this one for people to gain more knowledge, targeting grassroots communities, talking on different platforms like media, by engaging everyone in the process of peacebuilding, volunteering in community peacebuilding initiatives.
It should be noted that the different participants shared their views on how they have been tackling peace education within their communities and it was noted these strategies differ from one community to another as they may work in different communities and fail in others. It was therefore agreed that participants must take note of the different behavioral patterns in their communities, guard against criticizing one party or people and mind the words they use to discuss with the different parties to conflict.
13 peace activists from different civil society organizations in the Littoral Region were in attendance. Flyers with peace messages were distributed to participants to continue the campaign. Participants were very elated to have been part of the launching and acknowledged that they have learnt a lot about peace.
- Participants resolved to continue the campaign in the littoral in their own little corners
- A WhatsApp Group was created to keep the conversation alive and knowledge sharing
The campaign team in Cameroon expresses gratitude to the Global Campaign for Peace Education for the financial and technical supported made for the launching to take place.