The current situation for youth in Côte d’Ivoire is typical for
many young people in sub-Saharan states who are searching for a
national identity. Many have been involved in armed conflicts of all
kinds. It is clear that
the confrontational relationships between political parties and ethnic
groups,reinforced and manipulated by the elite,will be slow to change.
Many groups of voters,such as women and young people, have not yet
reached their full potential to be able to support a
reformist government or act as agents of peace. Deprived of a
popular momentum, the progress achieved so far may be fragile and hard
CISV Côte d’Ivoire is committed to help change this situation. We
aim to do this through a number of initiatives including exchange
visits, events on conflict resolution and leadership workshops
targeting young people. We hope in this way to contribute to the task of
building a new Côte d’Ivoire. We believe that young people can be a
driving force in spreading a culture of peace and helping the
development of a positive national identity. It is in this context that
CISV Côte d’Ivoire has organised a range of educational activities to
promote peace and bring together youth groups from all the social strata
in Côte d’Ivoire. The young people involved in these activities have gained confidence to take action in their own communities and
hopefully be a means of reconciliation and exchange. A lasting peace
is dependent upon our ability to understand the diversity of
cultures around us.
CISV Côte d’Ivoire, through its Chapter of Agnibilékrou,initiated
a Mosaic project on the theme of resolution of conflicts in Africa.
In order to reach a large number of young people, it involved
partner youth organizations such as AEEMCI (Association of Muslim Students and Pupils of Côte d’Ivoire),the JEC (Catholic Youth Student Association), and the Scouts.
In addition to youth organizations,the Mayor of Agnibilékrou,as well as
tribal leaders,brought aspects of religion and politics to our
project. The project also introduced the theme of “Cultural Mixing”.
A fundamental principle of CISV Côte d’Ivoire is to provide forums
where diverse groups can meet to discuss their interests and work
together. Such a level of interaction in Côte d’Ivoire is rare,and we
had to prepare for several months for this project,which began on
26 September 2008.
Young people in Africa study forms of conflict resolution that centre
on European experiences,but this project focused specifically on
the conflicts of the continent of Africa. The project involved
discussions between youth,as well as religious, political,and ethnic
representatives. A conference with a writer from Côte d’Ivoire was held,
along with a large public event that included presentations of
skits,songs, poems,dances,a football match, and tree planting.
In the hope of contributing to processes already underway to reduce
community tensions, CISV Côte d’Ivoire held a series of solidarity
events in collaboration with local partners. These
celebrations, focusing on the unity of the community,cultural mixing
and conflict resolution,took place through various activities. In the
project we continued in our efforts to encourage a new kind
of leadership among young people who for years have been vulnerable
to manipulation aimed at dividing communities,youth
movements,and families. We introduced a series of meetings about
non-violence and freedom of expression. At the end of the programme,our
participants agreed on the establishment of a platform for young people
from different political parties and youth movements to maintain
dialogue and peaceful coexistence.
Peace is a daily project; it begins in our families and our
classrooms. To promote peace,we must be vigilant, for he who sees evil
and does not protest is a fan of evil. Africa has all the resources
necessary to meet the needs of its communities and for them to live in
harmony,but is sad to see the hotbeds of tension and conflict.
We believe that it is time for young people to wake up and take part
in the reconstruction of Africa,which has suffered so much. To this
end, CISV Côte d’Ivoire is developing activities,such as this
Mosaic project,on conflict resolution in Africa to engage young people
to be facilitators,to love justice and freedom for a world of peace.
The positive impact of this Mosaic project is real.
Naon Katiohora, Côte d’Ivoire