The Lutheran Church in Liberia Training Healing and Reconciliation Program (LCL-THRP), in an effort to constantly engage young people and other major stakeholders, recently hosted a peace festival in the Port City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
Under its Community Conflict Resolution and Peace Building Project (CCR&PBP) with support from Bread for the World Germany, the LCL-THRP brought together more than 250 motorcyclists, fishermen and community dwellers, who participated in the day long sports and cultural festivities that characterized the occasion.
The events were held at the Doris Williams Sports Stadium where motorcyclists clashed with fishermen from the West Africa Fish Company in an entertaining friendly soccer match under the theme, “Sustaining Peace through Sports and Culture.”
Spectators were entertained by various cultural performances, while the two teams locked horns. These events were graced by the presence of local government authorities and other key stakeholders.
Philip Nushann, LCL-THRP program officer, told the Daily Observer prior to the start of the game that “community engagements through dialogue meetings, sports and cultural festivity, training workshops, and other peace building activities are fundamental to conflict prevention, conflict resolution, national healing and reconciliation, and the promotion of the rule of law.”
Nushann said the need for peace to reign among the youth so that they put their incredible gifts and potentials into use to transform their communities, the organizers associated the event with sporting activities.
He noted that without constructive and meaningful engagements, their contributions to the growth and development of Liberia will be limited, and that youth energy could be used to undermine the peace and stability of the country.
“We should not see young people as liabilities to society, but as potential, powerful, influential, and innovative group of individuals capable of making meaningful contributions to national peace and reconciliation and nation building,” Nushann said.
In continuation of the festival, a-one-day capacity building training workshop was conducted on July 24 in Compound #2 with the aim to improve the conflict mediation skills of the 22 participants, who included 12 males and 10 females from the various communities. Topics discussed were conflict prevention and resolution; peer mediation, and promoting the rule of law. Officers of the Liberia National Police assigned in the district presented on the Rule of Law and Strengthening Police and Community Engagement.
The project aims at empowering youth and other locals to become peace ambassadors, who will promote peace and stability, and adopt a more proactive and interactive means of resolving disputes/disagreements.
The project is being implemented in the three districts of Grand Bassa County with focus on youth, religious and leaders; local authorities and others. It has established about 17 local community structures with more than 300 members in the three districts to enhance its community engagement initiatives.