It was an emotional scene at the closing of the first ever peace summer camp in Liberia last week. The tears started to flow from my little sister-Georgia Welleh Myers. Others followed and it was difficult to me to control my watery eyes.
The campers did not want the camp to close but all good things must come to an end. The Camp managers, volunteers and sponsors are consoled in the fact that our campers have made good use of their time and have learnt to avoid the triggers of conflicts in the society.
They have learnt not to utter slander, vile, swear and use curse words or take part in bullying their friends and colleagues. We Messengers of Peace (MOP) –Liberia are happy to have inculcated the values for peace by teaching our campers lessons on how to show respect, fear God and despise any form of violence, even when they are aggrieved or hurt by friends and/or family members, colleagues and societal injustices.
We have advocated for peace and informed young people on peace. The objectives of the camp have been met as reported in the reports from camp evaluation. Most campers are now optimistic about the future and acknowledged been kept from harm’s way. Our campers have been schooled on how to carefully choose their role models and friends.
Optimism and good attitudes among youths could be powerful attributes for peace and we have taught our campers how to work in teams and for the collective good of the society. The recent historic resolutions (amongst which is the UNSCR # 2250) adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council emphasize that sustainable peace is a shared responsibility of Governments national stakeholders including youth based and youth led organizations and the United Nations. Peace in Africa, according to the United Nations Secretary General, Ban-ki Moon, priority.
Our shared responsibility is to nourish the seeds of peace and prosperity and there is no better way to do this than to engage young people. We believe that our peace summer camp has done just that. Engage young minds.
It is the responsibility of all to harness the power of youth by investing in the formal and non-formal education sector mandate to provide knowledge, skills and tools required to avoid violence and establish partnership for peace, security and stability. We must not let our young down, we must advocate for peace.
At MOP we firmly believe that dialogue, through open and courageous communication, not violence would quell conflicts, peaceful demonstration, not guns; investment in human security not investment in more police and military would sustain peace in Liberia. The burden of responsibility for peace also lies with young people. We must commit ourselves to keeping the promise for sustainable peace in Liberia.
Until next year when we come back to you to sponsor a peace child for Summer Camp 2017 and until week when we continue with our dialogue among peace messengers by bringing to you extracts from our peace camp, it’s peace first, peace above all else. May Peace Prevail in our time!