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Building Peace: Youth at the Heart of Peace Work

Introduction

To build peace is to envisage a peaceful future, to think of better living together among the peoples of a community, to launch processes that address the sources of conflict, analyze the grievances of the past and put actions for greater stability and justice. Can we build the future by ignoring youth? This brochure focuses on the role of this African youth in the work of peace, obstacles and potentialities.

Young people often find themselves at the center of conflicts, either as desperate actors of violence, or as advocates of such power-hungry manipulators, or as militia seeking economic survival. We live in a context that promotes violence. Inequalities in society, discrimination, tribalism, racism, fear and hostility towards certain groups are factors that threaten peace.

SCP networks in Africa place special emphasis on working with young people. This is how you have already read about the peace work of and with youth in other publications in the series “Building Peace”.

Building Peace: Youth at the Heart of Peace Work

Flaubert Djateng,
Christiane Kayser – Bafoussam,
Berlin,
décembre 2013

What has impressed us most about the contributions to this publication are the courageous and creative initiatives and the central role played by artistic expression and culture, to be more precise the multiplicity of cultures. The strengths and challenges of the multicultural work of the Civil Service for Peace are illustrated in a rich way in the range of articles.

We are finalizing this booklet at the moment when the great Madiba, Nelson Mandela, has just left us, Flaubert Djateng takes up the path of this icon of the constructive revolt to (re) build an itinerary for African youth. We have taken extracts from a Dapo Oyewole conference on the challenges of peace and development work with and by young Africans. Christiane Kayser reflects on the obstacles, but also the opportunities that young people face to take their place in the globalized world of the 21st century. Excerpts from an interview with Cameroonian researcher Achille Mbembe on the future of Africa complete this section.

As always, we have emphasized the concrete experiences of working around the Civil Service for Peace in the various African countries. This time we have contributions from DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Cameroon by authors working under programs supported by Bread for the World, AGEH and Eirene. Desiree Lwambo, Jackson Batumike, Florian Nickel and Béla Bisom present two fascinating cross-border experiences that facilitate youth expression and fight prejudice in Great Lakes countries shaken by hatred and exclusion.

Silvia Stroh and Claus Schrowange share their adventures with the theater instrument in Cameroon and the Great Lakes: they have been able to thematize the societal problems and do a long-term consciousness work. The experiences of cultural work with and for young people in Sierra Leone are described by Malick Sy Konaré, Julia Krojer and Eustace U. Vin-Bah in their articles on youth clubs of the Freetong Players and the radio drama Konkoroma. Maurizio Guerrazzi gives us a look at the intertribal peace work of a group of young people in the Douala region, while the young Cameroonian Salif Mforain Mouassie is thinking about the forms of organization and association of young people such as school clubs as as instruments of socialization.

Finally, Agnes Sander who continues to commit to peace in Germany after three years of work in Cameroon, shows how a film about young Cameroonians can change the perception of young Germans. We thank the authors who have agreed to share the lessons and achievements of their work. We hope that this will inspire readers and that we can continue dialogue between young and old, women and men, Africans from different countries, as well as between Europeans and Africans.

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