The working session opened with an address by the moderator, followed by an opening meditation by the chaplain of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, the Rev. Nomfor Godwin. Text read: Jeremiah chapter 6 verse 1, the meditation was titled: working for a consensual and lasting peace. The peace in question, that sought by this workshop, and that defined by Christ in John 14 verse 25. The peace that Christ gives.
From the corporatist claims brutally repressed in 2016, in Cameroon, we have reached a situation of extreme violence where war rhetoric is commonplace. As a result, Peace has become a scarce commodity. The situation in Cameroon requires that we look into questions of peace. This explains why this workshop is being held in an area affected by violent conflict.
At this workshop, the questions of the prophet Jeremiah are addressed to us, religious actors, not only to the public authorities. Through our statutes as religious men, it is our duty to find solutions to problems and not to create more. This can only be possible through tangible actions, and not empty talk. It is therefore incumbent upon us to become builders of peace. At the end of this workshop, it will be up to us to build and share peace.
After this meditation, the Rev. Charles Berahino, recalled the objectives of the workshop. Focusing on the global theme of non-violence and the “culture of peace”, the overall objective of the workshop is to contribute to government and international community efforts for conflict resolution and consolidation. of peace in Cameroon, by building “peace skills” among pastors and religious leaders. The training will give participants the opportunity to improve their peace capacities to inspire their communities as advocates / peace officers. Peace activists / peacekeepers are active peacebuilders who guide others in the effort to build lasting peace, starting with their own practices and community sharing. Therefore, the overall goal is to make every pastor and church leader of the CCP an agent of human security, peace and development.
More specifically, the capacity building workshop has the following objectives:
- Equip participants with the tools and connections necessary to advocate for tolerance, justice, reconciliation, the rule of law, and respect for democratic principles. To achieve this goal, participants will develop skills in the peaceful management of peacebuilding conflicts.
- empower participants and enable them to participate actively in the decision-making process at the local level, as well as in the monitoring, prevention, management, resolution and transformation of conflicts, in order to promote peace and social cohesion.
- Encourage trained peace officers to speak publicly and diplomatically, with a view to contributing to the construction of peace in their communities, nations and continents.
- Improve the critical thinking and analytical skills of the participants, in order to enable them to understand the best strategies to be implemented in the peace process in conflict-affected regions in Cameroon.
Mr Eugène Ngalim then led the phase of participatory definition of the expectations of the participants. Thus, the different participants, having introduced themselves, listed the following expectations to conduct the workshop effectiveness evaluation.
- Form an ecumenical block advocating for the community. This block should act as a collective consciousness and structure moralizing.
- Refining peace businesses, in order to act as mediators of peace in our families, our communities, and our nation.
- Help us overcome our differences to work in union for peace.
- We expect to develop language conducive to peace building.
- Equip yourself with the necessary skills on peacebuilding strategies, to communicate them to women, who constitute an affected stratum of conflict situations
Session 1: The causes of (violent) conflicts in Africa (structural, immediate and immediate factors) Dr William Herman Arrey:
- The participants defined the conflict, they also said what the conflict means according to them: Two kinds of conflicts exist: a conflict which creates peace and conflicts which come with hardly;
- Many governments have different agendas: those that influence peace and those that add conflict that already exists so we are forced to improve our capabilities to be more active in conflict situations;
- If the concept and the reasons for conflict are fallacious, the approach will also be fallacious: Because it is important to understand the conflict well in order to properly rectify the situation;
- There is a bad and a good conflict rib, and each rib has its ups and downs. There are those who have existed through conflict and those who penchant for conflict;
- The nature and the understanding that we have in relation to the conflict is thus relative those who make the conflicts therefore different are the goals and the interests so if we have only one goal in relation to the conflict resolving it will not be a problem
- So we cannot stop the conflict but it is possible to stop the violence: because the conflict is in every context and in every society so we just have to try to ensure that the violence does not shift to the conflict