West Africa Peace Development Forum: 2022 Kick-off Meeting
On January 21, the “West Africa Peace Development Forum: 2022 Kick-off Meeting” was hosted by HWPL’s Southern Seoul and Gyeonggi Branch. The event included 125 citizens participating from various educational institutions, media outlets, and NGOs in Ghana and Nigeria, and presentations about the results of West Africa peace activities in 2021, as well as the plans for peace activities in 2022.
Ghana and Nigeria are countries in desperate need of peace due to a wide range of issues, including divisions and riots caused by religious conflict, domestic violence, territorial disputes, and corruption amongst leaders. For this reason, the two countries have been steadily carrying out peace activities together with HWPL in order to establish sustainable peace in Africa.
The messengers of peace in Ghana and Nigeria strongly requested for HWPL to train peace educators in their countries, saying that peace education was desperately needed to instill the value of peace within children and the youth. In response, HWPL conducted Peace Educator Empowerment Training for teachers in Ghana and Nigeria, and peace educators who completed the training conducted 101 peace education sessions over the course of 6 months at 49 NGOs and educational institutions. The seeds of peace spread throughout Ghana and Nigeria, and in particular, peace education was implemented in 13 out of 37 states in Nigeria.
Executive Director Clement Iornongu of the International Centre for Peace, Charities and Human Development (INTERCEP) in Nigeria was a presenter during the event and had participated in the Peace Educator Empowerment Training. He currently conducts the HWPL Peace Education program for students in schools within the Plateau and Benue states.
“My impression in participating in HWPL Peace Educator Empowerment Training is the uniqueness of HWPL’s approach to peacebuilding, in the sense that a bottom-up approach in peacebuilding is employed,” he said. “This approach is very essential to build the culture of peace in our youths to uphold the harmony and tranquility in our society, particularly considering the volatile nature of the region which is plagued with banditry, insurgency, kidnapping, terrorism and all manner of vices.” He explained, “Therefore, these reasons motivated me to participate in conducting the HWPL Peace Education program in schools, so that the culture of peace will be cemented in our children for a better and peaceful tomorrow.”
Editor-in-Chief Jeorge Wilson Kingson of Ghana News Online, who has been a HWPL ambassador since 2015, said, “Working with HWPL has broadened my horizon on peace-related issues. Peace education is an essential education to teach students – the main characters of the next generation – the right values of peace, and to train them as citizens of peace.” Stressing the need for HWPL Peace Education in the region of West Africa, he said, “The next plan is to implement HWPL Peace Education with the ministries of education and schools in every region and state in West Africa. This is possible together.”
Through this event, Ghana and Nigeria pledged to collaborate not only for HWPL Peace Education, but also a wide range of other peace activities in the future. Peace is not meant to propel the government and its citizens separately. All who are part of the family of the global village should support and move for the cause of peace. Moving forward, the two countries will prepare a system for peace activities at the national level, such as the introduction of peace education through the Federal Ministry of Education, construction of a peace monument, and recruitment of national agencies to cooperate for peace. They also plan to promote various peace activities that citizens can easily participate in.