Participants drawn from various schools and communities in Western Area
Conflict which usually boils down to violence especially within and amongst youths has caught the attention of the Young Men’s Christian Association-Sierra Leone (YMCA-SL) that it has decided to capture some among this vulnerable group for mentoring as peer educators.
From Monday, 4th and Tuesday, 5th October 2010, the Support Youth Livelihood and Governance project under the aegis of the YMCA-SL, retrained 30 youths on “Understanding and Responding to Conflict-Analysis and Early Warnings”.
The participants were drawn from various schools, community youth groups and anti-violence campaign groups earlier organized by YMCA as part of the project’s youth-led peace building activities in the Western Area.
The participants were tutored by Moses J. Johnson, the Project Manager and facilitated by Abubakar Bakley Sesay, the Western Area Project Officer.
The youth participants were introduced to a variety of concepts relating to conflict, its management and resolution. They were taken through issues such as how to identify and analyse conflict, how to identify possible responses to conflict situations, how conflicts manifest themselves, proximate and root causes of conflict, conflict synergies and peace building gaps and how to identify them and conflict resolution/the various means of resolving conflicts.
The aim of the training is to build the capacity of the youths so as to be able to analyse conflicts and detect their early warning signs as well as support their capacity to identify opportunities for conflict resolution and peace building in their various schools and communities. The tutorials were interspersed with exercises aimed at gauging the comprehensible level of the participants of any issue that had been discussed.
Ebironkeh Bangura an SSS III pupil from the Lawrenzo Gorvie Secondary School at Waterloo said she has learnt enough for her to be able to resolve conflicts among her friends whenever they break out. “Before coming to this workshop, I knew nothing about conflict resolution. Most times I would myself end up being a party to a conflict I had chosen to mediate in, but now, I think I can safely handle any such situations without flaring it up,” Miss Bangura noted. She said she would be going to her school to set up a Peace Club with membership that cuts across all levels of the school.
The workshop was supported by Comic Relief through YMCA-Sierra Leone’s international partner, Y-Care International based in the United Kingdom.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.