By Nadesh E
“The larger population of Cameroon is made up of youths. In fact, the age bracket between 15 and 55 is over 60%. It is the emergence of these youths that can secure the emergence of the country by 2035″ -Prof Uwem Essia.
The North and South West Regions of Cameroon have for 4 years witnessed political crisis in which the youths have been a key player. The many lives lost are those of youths and the ones still fighting are youths. This demonstrates how powerful the youths are when it comes to building or ruining a nation.
The Global Forum for the Defense for the Less Privileged (GFDLP) has decided to take advantage of the power of the youths and transform it into a positive venture.
The non-governmental Organisation has been organising capacity building events on peacebuilding, mediation and community mobilisation, for youth leaders in the Southwest region. The most recent, have been two trainings that took place at the Organisation’s head office in Buea.
Peace Building For Youth Leaders
The first event that took place on September 10, 2020, focused on “Peace Building for Youth Leaders” which is part of a project being implemented in the NWSW regions of Cameroon, hit by the political crisis.
With more than 30 participants in the hall, the trainer, Felix Sidoine Leudjie used practical approaches to teach participants on how to identify conflict situations, their causes, consequences and possible solutions. The group exercises gave participants the opportunity to exchange ideas and share experiences on how they have been handling the crisis at their various ends.
Sidonie Azah, an International Relations student at the University of Buea said the training has broadened her knowledge on what she studies in school and given her the opportunity to discuss and practice what she has been studying.
At the level of implementation, Angaama Blaise has promised to train members of his organisation, Empowerment Cameroon on what he has learnt. By so doing, the skills will reach nation-builders all over Cameroon.
Youth Mobilization on Conflict Transformation
The second training which was on Youth Mobilization on Conflict Transformation took place from September 11-12, 2020. The founder of GFDLP, Akoh Baudouin said the training sessions are aimed at imparting knowledge in youth leaders on mediation and community mobilisation since it is a key factor in peacebuilding. He has reiterated on the need for youths to take the challenge to impact their communities with the skills they have. However, it won’t be possible if they are not trained, hence, the reason for the many capacity-building workshops.
The Secretary in-charge of Projects and Fund Raising at the Pan-African Institute for Development, Prof. Uwem Essia advised participants not to underestimate their abilities but use the digital platforms they have to look for projects and implement in their communities.
“Unfortunately, Cameroonian youths have a culture of asking, begging, demanding with the perception that government must do everything. Meanwhile, it is the youths who have the energy, power to propel emergence projects. It is what I call the paradox of poverty amidst riches. There is a lot of land and energies to work. The energy that would have been used to work is being used to complain.” He told participants.
These training sessions have been yielding positive fruits as the training for media professionals on peacebuilding which took place in Bamenda earlier this year saw the production of The Media For Peace Building Guide Book, being used already by some UN agencies to draft their proposals.