Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana) has organised a week-long Young Peace Ambassadors’ Camp in Sunyani for some selected young people from the Northern and Upper East regions. Twenty-eight youth leaders (14 male, 14, female), in the course of the camp’s activities, were trained to promote sustained peace and conflict transformation in their communities before, during and in the immediate aftermath of the general elections. The peace camp, organised by Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana), with support from Catholic Relief Services (CRS), combined participatory approaches with thematic sessions and action planning for peace activities following the camp.
The Camp, which forms part of CRS’ ‘Promoting Peace in Northern Ghana project’, targets communities in the Northern and Upper East regions under the Catholic Dioceses of Damongo, Tamale, and Navrongo-Bolgatanga. Participants, who were between the ages 15 and 25 were identified and selected from the three Catholic Dioceses, irrespective of their religious affiliation.
Facilitators for the camp included Rev. Fr. Clement Aapengnuo, Executive Director of the Centre for Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies (CECOTAPS), Mr. Albert Yelyang, National Network Coordinator at the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), Ms. Kim Green, YES-Ghana’s Training and Capacity Building Manager and Ms. Sarah Rogers, Ghana/Burkina Faso Programme Manager for Human Network International (HNI).
Participants were trained in identifying root causes of violent conflict, the active role of young people in achieving peace and non-violence, techniques for awareness creation, communication, advocacy, and implementation of local, youth-led peace building activities.
At the end of the training, young peace ambassadors were awarded certificates for completing the Camp’s modules. The Guest of Honour at the closing ceremony, Nana Asabeng Ababio, Akwamuhene of Sunyani Traditional Council, who represented the Paramount Chief of the area, encouraged young peace ambassadors to spread the message of peace in their respective communities as they return home. Nana Ababio also charged young people to lead responsible lives, bearing in mind that they will account for every action they take at each stage of their lives.
The inducted Young Peace Ambassadors are now equipped to promote peace before, during and in the immediate aftermath of the November polls, and to prevent electoral-based violence through the use of modern information communications technology. Ambassadors are also prepared to undertake activities that utilize platforms such as radio, social media, community-based dramatization, sports, and the creative arts to promote peaceful elections and non-violence.
Presently, Young Peace Ambassadors are actively involved in various peace promotion activities in their respective Dioceses and communities within the Northern and Upper East regions.