Dialogue Among Peace Messengers: Political Peace (Part 3)
By Gwendolyn S. Myers/Founder &Executive Director, Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP)
Over the past week we have seen an increase in the number of youth based activities in support of UNSCR 2250. The Peace, Reconciliation, Dialogue Seminar organized through the Ministry of Internal Affairs with funding support from UNMIL and USAID sponsored Regional Consultation Dialogue on LAVI 2nd project Thematic Window in collaboration with the National Civil Society Council in which two of our volunteer peace messengers were motivational speakers, are great initiatives for the participation and involvement of young people in peace building initiatives.
Both programs, held in the sectors of Bong, Buchanan and Tubmanburg, provided the impetus for an action plan necessary for the conduct of peaceful elections in October 2017.
Within the past week we have also noticed the frustrations unleashed by regional associations in an attempt to galvanize young people to be more proactive in peace and security matters. While we would like to encourage the involvement, engagement and participation of young people in peacebuilding programs, it cannot be enforced, cloned or coerced. Young people must have a passion for peace to be involved. Young people must also enjoy the cooperation and strong support of traditional players.
We have enough issues of women’s underrepresentation in politics across Africa. Not only do we have stagnating pool of women in politics, we have few young people in politics; and for political peace to be assured, we need encouragement and empowerment for youth and women participation, not divisive rhetoric.
The involvement of young people in peace consolidation and sustainability should not be competitive but cooperative. The political empowerment of young people, especially young women, is fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Shared and collective approaches and resources should not be concentrated in the hands of multinational NGOs that make paradigm shifts because certain issues such as peace and security are in vogue and well-funded. Available funds and traditional funding mechanisms should not be the yardsticks for funding groups.
As a developing youth based organization heavily involved, we must break this congenial habit of political correctness and unsolicited remarks on social media. The objective of our time is to maintain political peace, not political division. We need strong leadership, not weak or chastized followers. The need to build capacity of all young people involved in peace consolidation cannot be overemphasized. This program should not be selective and neither should it be used as a tool for false involvement and participation.
The agenda for political peace cannot come true if young people are uninvolved or made to compete against each other and if young people are made to remain outside the peace dialogue while traditional groups implement their programs. We must leverage the inner strength of young people through bringing alive their hidden potentials.
On another note, this month’s winner for the writing competition on Peace Dialogue would be announced shortly by the Daily Observer. We take this opportunity to encourage other youths to write. If we want political peace and a peaceful world, we need to join the team of young writers in support of sustainable peace and development.
And until next week when we come to you with another interesting article on “An Appetite for Violence,” it is peace above all else, peace first, may peace prevail in our time.