International Day of Peace: Youth-led action critical for peace in 2020 elections

On the occasion of International Day of Peace 2020, the Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana) calls on government and all stakeholders to make young people central to national efforts towards achieving peace in the 2020 general elections and beyond.

International Day of Peace, which falls on September 21 every year, is a day set aside globally to strengthening the ideals of peace. This year’s observance is unique as Ghana goes to the polls once again to elect its presidential and parliamentary candidates. Our peace regime has become a shining light within the sub-region and globally recognised as having an all-hands-on-deck approach in ensuring and maintaining the nation’s peace. We want Ghanaians to work together once again to consolidate our peace by fostering togetherness even in the face of divergent views and provocation. We must fight for peace rather fight ourselves as we are a people with a common destiny.

Since 2008, YES-Ghana has been implementing the Youth Peace Ambassadors (YPA) project to support youth-led action for peace in major conflict flashpoints across the country. The YPA project has been deepening youth leadership in peacebuilding and conflict transformation in various regions across the country through voluntary participation, collaboration and networking. It is in line with SDG Goal 16 of promoting peace, justice and strong institutions, and is also in line with our corporate commitment of amplifying the voices of the youth in the country’s peacebuilding architecture.

In 2020, the YPA is supporting young activists in the Northern, Savannah and Upper East regions with the skills and capacity they need to collaborate and facilitate community cohesion in preventing conflict and electoral violence. As part of activities under the project, a youth forum will be held at the end of September in each of the participating regions to bring together over 200 youth groups and key stakeholders under one roof to learn and share ideas about the peace architecture and how they can use their voices for promoting peace during the 2020 election. A week-long peace camp is also scheduled for October, following which Young Peace Ambassadors will be deployed in their communities to forge peaceful coexistence before, during, and after the general elections. These efforts will deepen youth-led efforts for peace across the participating regions.

We urge young people to be ambassadors of peace wherever they find themselves and not allow themselves to be used by anyone to disrupt the peace of Ghana. We also implore all politically-active youth to engage each other with decency and decorum on campaign platforms and during discussions on traditional and new media. Let us not take the peace of the country for granted by engaging in acts that will cause mayhem as the polls draw nearer. Let us go to the polls peacefully and return united than ever.

Happy International Day of Peace!