Sunday, March 21, 2021

Civil Societies and Non Governmental Organizations: their Activities Towards Promoting Peace


The Peace Symbol Widely Used in Local and International Organizations

Most Civil Societies or non-governmental organizations operating in the Northwest Region came to existence in the course of the ongoing Anglophone crisis turned an armed conflict, with most of them having as mission/vision to impact lives in different Communities and work with persons of different age groups.

Some of these Civil Society Organizations have respective niches, within which each of them operate, without necessarily focusing on promoting Peace. This reporter understood that, while each of them tackle a particular sphere in life/ society or groups of persons, the impact all of these makes, gives peace of mind to the local man.

In the face of the armed conflict in the Northwest region, persons considered to be more vulnerable are generally the population, most especially; women, children, teenage young girls and persons living with disabilities. Each of these NGOs operating in Bamenda work with or target these different vulnerable groups, making efforts to improve on their living standards and give counseling.

In an attempt to use the bottom-top approach in implementing projects through these civil Societies, this strategy can be sighted as one of the ways to attain peace in a conflict situation. The lay man in an armed conflict feels the pinch more than the armed groups or actors involved.

People living in armed conflict zones are worried and restless about what's next, given the tensed atmosphere. Many are caught up in the zeal to move in search for a safe space. Everyone feels a sense of danger but no one can tell where it will come from, this is the situation in the Northwest region.

A CSO offers foodstuff, delivery kits to Young pregnant women

These NGOs now come in to serve as a relief pill for the people in a conflict zone. They carry out activities like providing basic needs like foodstuff, clothing, toiletries, didatic material to assist in education and improving on knowledge, provide both material and financial assistance, each of these according to the immediate needs of group of persons they target at a particular time.

Some of these organizations will go as far as providing counseling for persons living with trauma, some get empowered through small trade assistance. Most Communities welcome and recieve their initiative because through them the people have hopes, they get a kind of breakthrough, given the provisions the NGOs made.


CEO Light Africa Cameroon

Celencia Mala runs Lights Africa Cameroon, which mobilizes and trains Youth Leaders, political elites on eventual dialogue opportunities. She tells Civiclens that the NGO stands to address the concerns of those in armed conflict situation.

"Light Africa Cameroon, mobilizes and trains youth leaders, political elites, socio-cultural and community leaders towards eventual dialogue opportunities. We have been able to research and produced a 400 page scientific manual to address the economic and sociopolitical worries of Anglophones in the Anglophone crisis" CEO, Light Africa Cameroon.

"Organized and propagated debates with University journalist clubs and engaged in radical online social media campaigns to advocate, build minds for the reviving of education in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. The NGO Created the All Anglophone Union for Peace and Development and continues to advocate for peace within NW/SW through national and international networks." She added.


CEO MANOFCAM

Atigi Samuel is the owner of MANOFCAM
Mandela Voluntary Foundation Cameroon, says his NGO provides information, assistance, humanitarian aid and protection. He gathers experience from field work and several serminar programs to make available support to those in need of his immediate society.

"When the crisis broke out, we were limited to providing only information for possible assistance, as it continued to degenerate we started providing not only information, but humanitarian aid and protection. We have gone as far as popularizing human rights, We visited the Adagom refugees settlement and other camps in the Federal republic of Nigeria to provide with food and non food items NFIs and also preach Peace to other communities". CEO MANOFCAM.

"We have Peace Programs on radio, workshop, and conferences, organize Voluntary clean up activities and during that time we use the opportunity to advice the youths to shown away from any risky behavior that my jurpardized their future. Fighting fake news and miss information online, is one of our objectives" Atigi Samuel.

Other communities will also benefit from construction of community halls, classrooms, markets, depending on the goals of the NGO. Some of this innovations or assistance given to communities brought peace of mind, gladness to the weary population, that had lost hope.

CCMN, the Cameroon Community Media Network has been at the forefront of ensuring that peacebuilding takes more inclusive and nonviolent approach. For over 5 years exceptional strides have been taken to shift the narratives from traditional to peace journalism in almost every newsroom and online by the network. 

The CCMN is not an NGO but a Network of Peace Journalists, that gives voice to under reported stories that can change the narrative given the crisis in the Northwest region. A network of over 300 members, who have been able to redirect media content towards taking on a solution oriented, people oriented and inclusive dimension. 

The national Coordinator for the CCMN, Rose Akah Obah says capacity building of these Journalists has been the catalyst of the skills reporters exhibit in telling different stories. 

CCMn's National Coordinator 

"More efforts have been placed towards capacity building of media people now known as peace journalists and CSOs working in the domain of peace to ensure they put on a human face when reporting or influencing the community directly or indirectly. Media content have been produced in audio-visual and print formats to ensure a peaceful society while focusing on giving more spaces to the voiceless as echoed by our motto which is, 90% Community and 10 % Media." National Coordinator tells CCMN.

"CCMN has also been invited on various platforms nationally and internationally to share best practices on peacebuilding and conflict transformation, peace journalism and Do No Harm." She added.

Many people living in communities; men, youths and women, have told stories of having benefitted from numerous training touching the media sector like publishers, station managers, journalists and content producers.

Rose Obah Lectures on the fight against Fake news and misinformation

Most importantly, a lot has been done by the network to counter hatespeech, fake news, misinformation and disinformation online and offline which seemingly are the cause of violent confrontations in some crisis hit zones in Cameroon. These are some of the strides of the CCMN to contribute towards upholding positive values in peacebuilding processes in Cameroon and beyond.



By Ndefru Mélanie
ndefrumelany@gmail.com

    

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