“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
Peacebuilding is a complex and challenging process that requires the involvement of all stakeholders in a society. One of the key factors that can hinder or foster peace is the relationship between different generations. In Cameroon, where a violent conflict has been raging in the Anglophone regions since 2016, there is a need to bridge the gap between the younger and older generation, who often have divergent views and interests.
That is why WAA Cameroon organized two Intergenerational Dialogue for Peace in the South West and North West regions of Cameroon on May 25 to June 1. These workshops are part of the VOYCE project, an EU-funded initiative that aims to empower young people to become active agents of change in their communities.
The workshops brought together over 100+ actors from different backgrounds and sectors, such as religious leaders, traditional leaders, youth leaders, community leaders and government administrators. The facilitator used various techniques to engage the participants in constructive dialogue and mutual learning. The participants shared their perspectives and experiences on the causes and consequences of the conflict, as well as their hopes and aspirations for the future.
One of the main outcomes of the workshops was the identification of some of the reasons for the intergenerational gap and the proposal of solutions to address them. For instance, some of the participants pointed out that some traditional practices and policies were discriminatory or oppressive towards the youth, especially women and girls. The chiefs who attended the workshops acknowledged these issues and promised to abolish or reform them in their chiefdoms.
As a result of the workshop, the participantss agreed on practical and feasible action plans for lasting peace and signed MoUs to demonstrate their commitment to implementing them.
The workshops also created a space for trust-building and collaboration among the participants, who expressed their willingness to continue working together for peace and development in their regions. WAA Cameroon plans to follow up on these workshops and support the participants in implementing their action plans.
WAA Cameroon believes that intergenerational dialogue is a powerful tool for peacebuilding and conflict prevention. By fostering mutual understanding and respect among different generations, it can help to create a more inclusive and peaceful society.
Edgar E. Mpako
Communications, WAA Cameroon