Our Diversity Matters: Our Ongoing Peace Project in Cameroon

30 September 2019, 11:36 AM
Our Diversity Matters: Our Ongoing Peace Project in Cameroon

MEMORANDUM OF GLOBAL COMPASSIO

TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF CAMEROON

‘’OUR TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL NATIONAL DIALOGUE’’

 SANTCHOU, SEPTEMBER 23


Our ongoing peace project in Cameroon is named « Our Diversity Matters »

Following the address of The Head of State to the Nation on September 10, 2019, with the call for the upcoming Major National Dialogue in Cameroon, the Global Compassion team applauds this step for a sustainable peace solution for the anglophone crisis. As of this date, the conflict has caused more than 600.000 internally displaced people (IDPs), more than 45.000 refugees, more than 1.500 people killed by guns, and children and youth kept away from school for three years. The dialogue is the best option, but needs to be well organized for the peace we seek in Cameroon.

Global Compassion has been helping to build sustainable peace in Cameroon by fighting against violent extremism. Young, radicalized people are major actors in this conflict, perpetrating violence, including killings, with the state army. Our ongoing project called « Our Diversity Matters » which started in January 2019, has been saving young people through education that highlights our cultural diversity as a strength. We have trained 15 young people (both females and males) on peace values and tips on creating dialogue for peace. They were from six regions of the country, including the northwest and southwest, and our project has reached up to 10.000 youths within the country. Those young peace leaders are taking actions daily in their various communities to save other youth from extremism by educating them with peace values.

Through our projects and actions for peace, we hope to reduce considerably the increasing violent extremism of the youth in Cameroon.

The Respect of the 10 Dialogue Principles

Each dialogue session involves a mediator, belligerents/parties, ground rules and topics to be discussed. Nothing related to the conflict should be hidden. To make it successful, the mediator and other parties should follow 10 dialogue principles:

  1. Establish a safe space where the dialogue will be held.
  2. Agree that the main purpose of the dialogue is learning.
  3. Use appropriate communication skills.
  4. Set and agree on the ground rules.
  5. Take risks, enable feelings to surface, and confront perceptions.
  6. The relationships come first.
  7. Address the hard questions and gradually resolve them.
  8. Do not quit or avoid difficult issues.
  9. Be open to having your attitudes and opinions changed.
  10. Bring changes to others.

The Mediator should be neutral.

The choice of the mediator is crucial to any successful dialogue. For the Major National Dialogue announced, the mediator should be chosen from civil society leaders or religious leaders with the involvement of all the belligerents (direct and indirect actors of the conflict). Clement Awanfe Ngueto, our president, is a peace-building consultant and can join one of the dialogue sessions as mediator at your convenience. 

A ceasefire must be implemented.

The killings, kidnappings and violence taking place in the northwest and southwest regions are totally unacceptable. We call on both parties to implement the ceasefire, giving freedom to people living in those regions. The ceasefire is the major key to the way out of the conflict and the end of the atrocities. 

The return of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs)

After the conflict is over, the government should facilitate the return of refugees in Nigeria, as well as internally displaced people, to their home villages in Cameroon. This is the first time this type of humanitarian crisis has occurred since Cameroon's independence, and it needs to have a special response. The UNHCR and civil society leaders should be highly involved in the process of bringing our citizens home.

The reconstruction of infrastructure damaged by the conflict

Cameroon’s government, the United Nations, and other international organizations should invest in the reconstruction of houses and other infrastructure damaged by weapons and fire. Priority should be given to hospitals and schools to quickly give access to health care and education to children affected by this conflict. 

The Cameroon government should allocate a special emergency budget and assign a special committee to pilot the program. This committee should consist of government officials, civil society leaders and religious leaders to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness.

Conclusion

Through this memorandum, Global Compassion would like to express appreciation for this initiative and call on all parties to join the dialogue for the peaceful country we are looking to build. We must give equal access to all by respecting our cultural diversity, which is our strength. All parties should also respect human rights and human dignity for social justice.

Justice and reconciliation should follow the dialogue, both to give hope to Cameroonians and to improve our country’s image in the eyes of the international community. 

 

Clement AWANFE NGUETO

Founder & President of Global Compassion