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Mariana's visit to Portugal

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Preparation

 

My expectations were to know how a youth organization worked and managed itself to find fund, to work and has the sufficient resources to accomplish its goals. I was curious to see what methodologies it used to work with teenagers and kids.  Also I was interested in knowing how different NGOs develop the themes of poverty and gender equality in countries as Portugal, very affected by the world crisis.

Finally I expected to interchange ways of working and managing issues and problems that all youth NGOs have in matter of training and becoming professional in what we do.

 

My main objective was to present my organization and my country, with the idea to show our similarities in the way that we work for the same objective and at the same time the cultural difference that enriches the interchange and the experience

Also I investigate for my visit I investigate a lot about Portugal and Amarante, Catarina sent to me material about Aventura Marao Club as well and Casa da Juventude. I read a lot about their work.

I was in contact with Catarina and she sent to me the schedule, and I asked her which public they worked with and if I would have a teenager audience and what they expected from my visit

We had this problem with the plane ticket, because from OAJNU we didn’t have the total amount to afford the cost of the plane, but we talked to UNOY and together we solved that.

 

 

Job Shadowing Week

Miguel and Catarina were to pick me up to the Porto’s airport, then we had a quick lunch and we went to our first policy meeting right away.  I met the rest of them in different moments of the day.

I believe that the objectives of the project were presented in my entire visit. We did workshop having in account the Participation of young people. I did have discussions about Cultural diversity. I could learn from other NGOs who worked combating poverty and social exclusion.

Aventura marao club and me exchange our experience and knowledge on how we run our youth organisation, we talked about our experience regarding how to carry out local youth projects (development,implementation and evaluation), and also how developed a joint project between Amarante and oajnu Argentina. In these matters I learned about Youth in action program, and the different areas and projects that it has.

Finally I think this is the best accomplished objective “Cultural diversity: As youth-based peace organisations, all partners in the project promote the importance of respecting and celebrating cultural diversity as well as understanding and dialogue among cultural different groups. Peace is not possible without this”. It was above all an cultural exchange but not only with Portuguese people but with Italian people, Polish people, Georgian people, Spanish people. It was an European exchange and the way they work in this issues.

It was a very positive experience but I find it very short time for the objective of the project. In this time the organization didn’t have a lot of activities already planned, so we observed like an artificial activity of the hosting organization because Aventura marao clube in this case had to planned a lot of non regular activities for my visit. I lost in some point to observe the daily work of the organization.

Another reason is that I think that the better way of learning is doing. The emphasis of the job shadowing experience was placed at the observation of the jobshadower and the policy meetings but not in the helping and working of the jobshadower in the organization itself. It could be an improvement to plan some activities inside a project to do within the hosting organization and the jobshadower as a learning contribution.

 

All in all it was an amazing experience where there were a lot to learn about the hosting organization and the issues that the job shadowing project emphasized.

 

 

General Activity

 

The first day, June 23rd, I arrived to Porto’s airport and Catarina and Miguel were waiting for me. We went to Amarante, a 40 minutes by car and we arrived to Casa da Juventude, we took a quick lunch in bar do Girassol (vegetaria bar) and we went to the city hall. That was my first policy meeting. There were 3 people in the room and the conversation is described later.

I wanted to clarify that all the interviews were done in Portuguese so it was impossible to me to take notes, so for the report I use the digital and printed material that each organization gave me.

Second day we have this workshop with Amarante`s children. There were 20 kids. There were there for a new project in Casa da Juventude about active citizenship. We did dynamic of presentation, then I did my workshop and finally Catarina explained the project. Then all went to the bar to have lunch. Later that day we went to dinner with Catarina and Miguel to a very typical portugeese restorant where we ate the typical meals of the region.

Third day was Sunday, so nothing of work but a enjoyable cultural trip to Guimaraeh and Porto with Stefi and Sergi, two European volunteers that were living in the Casa da juventude and of course Miguel and Catarina. It was an amazing trip and what I enjoyed the most was “Cor de tangerina” a lovely vegetarian restaurant in Guimaraesh so beautiful in the beginning of the summer where I tasted the best fruits juice.

Fourth day I went to Cercimarante with Miguel. I visited al the location, It`s an amazing place for people with disabilities, the facility has all the comfort. A gym, a pool, different room to develop their capacities, etc

Cercimarante provides services to people not only the municipality of Amarante, but also the county of Felgueiras, Lousada, Marco de Canaveses, Baião, Celorico de Basto, Cinfães and Resende.

 

It has 4 centers, the one I visited is the Resource Centre for Inclusion / Teaching Centre. The Teaching Centre is one of four centers CERCIMARANTE, which has operated since 1980, and supports children and young people from 6 to 18 years with special educational needs and disabilities.

 

It has a professional team consisting of a psychologist, a physiotherapist, a professor at the 1st cycle and a teaching assistant. Currently, this strength is attended by five students from the municipality of Amarante and Marco de Bastos Celorico of Canaveses.Given that the school's main aim is to promote personal autonomy of the child / young person so that they reach a level of appropriate behavior and acquisitions, developing the work must be properly structured and planned.

 

The educational project is a process of interaction with the environment of the school, defines general principles and guidelines based on the characteristics of an educational community and is a process of personal development of players. It has as main goal: to raise awareness of school for the preservation of the environment. In this sense it is intended to appeal to the politics of the four R's: Reduce, collect, recycle and reuse.

 

Students benefit from the following areas: academic, psychology, physical therapy, sensory stimulation, personal independence, communication / language, socialization, activities of daily living, crafts, physical education, movement and drama.

 

Fifth day morning   we went to primary school to give a workshop about fair trade for children and to attend to a NGO’s fair that the school organized. We sell fair trade products to the children, parents and teachers that visited the fair and after that Miguel gave a very passionate workshop about fair trade. There were 15 kids in the workshop and 100 in the fair.

 

I tell you a little bit about fair trade: Fair Trade is a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions and securing the rights of marginalized producers and workers - especially in the South

Fair trade principles are:

1.The respect and concern for people and the environment, putting people above profits ("people before profit")

2. The deployment of resources and opportunities for producers to improve their living conditions and working conditions, including paying a fair price (a price that covers the costs of a reasonable income, environmental protection and economic security

3. Openness and transparency of the structure of organizations and all aspects of its activity, and mutual information between all stakeholders in the marketing chain about their products and marketing methods

4. Participation of producers, volunteers and employees in decisions that affect them

5. The protection of human rights, including women, children and indigenous peoples

 

 

Fifth day afternoon we went to nursing home to celebrate with them the feast of St. John We ate the traditional grilled sardines and we enjoy some Fade music. There were about 60 old people living in that home.

 

Sixth day, we went with Catarina to Porto to meet two very interesting organization. One is CAIS Founded in 1994, is a nonprofit association of social solidarity. It works with homeless people and its present in Lisboan and Porto, one of most popular project is the CAIS magazine. This magazine is selling by homeless people in these cities. It was inspired by the English magazine The Big Issue, the magazine CAIS is the first creation of the Association, and has proven to be an integrated socio / cultural success in the processes of psychosocial and occupational homeless, and others at risk . It is these that sell exclusively on the street.

 

The CAIS mission is to contribute to the general improvement of the life conditions of the homeless and their family, social and economically vulnerabilities in situations of deprivation, exclusion and risk.

 

We went to visit the director of CAIS Porto and she showed us the facilities and what they do there. In that moment there was a workshop about recycling for selling, People there was doing a bottle umbrella.

 

Then we went  to visit ARRIMO but in the Street of the historic district of Porto. This organization intends to intervene with individuals, communities and institutions and / or associations for the eradication of poverty, social exclusion, injustice and the promotion of fundamental rights to health, democracy, education, work, culture, influence on the social change in different spheres of activity and exercise of active citizenship .

 

We were witnesses of one of their project “links”. LINKS Project is implemented through a set of nearby structures (street team, office equipment, mobile support unit and community network) with the aim of health and social support for users of illicit drugs, without the social environment and family. Its goal is to improve the socio-health of those affected, marginalized and excluded from community services, social service and flanges and appropriate therapeutic.

 

So we went with one of the staff to walk the streets of Porto distributing material for a healthy use of drugs. We passed in front of the drug dealers and then we went to the use points where we delivered metallic paper and plastic paper. This girl explained to us that most of the people that we saw there were homeless people and the use aspirated heroin. There were 10 people there and she told us as well that that was the point of the city for that kind of use. In the other part of the city was the place to injected, that place was more shaking and dangerous.

 

 

The seventh and last day was a happy day, we went with the kids involved in Portogaliza project to Santiago de Compostela to meet there this other organization called Itaka. There were 18 kids Claudia a volunteer from Poland, Catarina, Miguel and me

 

We left Casa da Juventude and its entire goodpeople and began the journey. We arrived to Santiago of Compostela and we met the other organization’s children, about 10 and its staff. That afternoon was to introduce ourselves and to talk about the reason we where there and that Itaka explained the schedule of the week. They had to do the Santiago’s walk and the rehearsed by a played that the have to do for a little town there.

 

These activities were in the frame of a project called Portogaliza which it was a multimeasures project of the Youth in Action. The objectives of the project were: To promote cultural solidarity and tolerance between young people of Galicia and northern Portugal.

  - To Promote the active participation  of young people, especially those with less opportunities

-To provide young people the communication tools, verbal and nonverbal (in the non-formal education context)

-To encourage young people for active citizenship

-To provide professional training in Humans Rights, environment, multiculturalism, and so on.

  - To promote critical thinking and initiative through contact with good practice in youth entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.

In that moment we were in the third and last part of the project and that was my last day as a jobshadower.

 

 

 

Policy Meeting

My first policy meeting was with the Amarante Local Council of Social Action. Elisabete Macedo is the responsable of the Social network program. We went with Catarina to the municipality in my first day in Amarante.

This social network is a forum for coordination and assembly of efforts, Through free membership in various public organizations or private nonprofit ones, whose goal are related with social and local development

its objectives are combat extreme poverty and social exclusion and promote social inclusion andcoesión; promote integrated development; promote an integrated and systematic planning, promoting synergies, expertise and resources, contribute to the awareness, support the objectives of the national social action plan; ensure greater efficiency and coverage of responses and local facilities;

The device's features include:

1.       Development of diagnostics and action plans for the area

2.       Development and implementation of programs and projects

3.       Survey information (local assesment and dissemination of statistics)

4.       Assess the problems and proposed solutions to them presentandos

5.       Promote the progressive articulation of social intervention of local actors

6.       Conferences and initiatives to promote better personal and collective consciousness of social problems

7.       Direct contact with individuals and families in greatest shortage

We talked about other projects as

●        Integrated service attendance: which is the integration of  different social services

It is a social response that seeks to support families and the persons in the prevention or repair of generators and problems generated by risk or social exclusion, seated on a reciprocal technical / patient, taking into account the promotion of conditions enabling their insertion through support, development and support of a life project

It is a new form of organization and management of the existing services and level of care and social support, for effective use of resources and coordination between entities diferrentes. A multidimensional approach and territorial problems

●        Curriculim Literacia Digital: computer courses for Amarante people

●        The commission for the protection of children and youth:it is a legal non-government institute with functional autonomy which has the followingobjectives:

To promote the rights of children and youth; to prevent situations susceptible to affect the safety, health, training, education orintegral desarrllo the child or young

It is intended for persons under 18 years of the town of Amarante that are in a state of neglect, suffer abuse or are victims of sexual abuse, do not receive care appropriate to their age, are obliged to perform work activities or excessive and inappropriate to their age, dignity and status.

The comission acts when parent or legal representatives threatening in any of the above aspects the integrety of the child, or when there is a danger of the act or omission of third parties involved

It was really interesting. I learned a lot about how it is managed the social department in Amarante and I could compare it with our system here in Mendoza. I was impressed by the Integrated service attendance, they had improved the results of their work with this system.

The importance that the city council gived to multiculturalism and the inclusion of immigrants; the integral protection to the children rigths and the joint effort and work between state and civil society

 

●        Project: School program,which seeks to promote the social, economic and academic inclusion of inmigrant families of Amarante

 

 

Workshop

The workshop was the main objective of sharing our culture difference and similarities with the end of showing the iporntance that the culture has in the human development.

My expectation were that people could known about oajnu and our work as volunteers, that I can learn about how the lived in Amarante and Portugal.

That we could share our cultures and highlight the importance that these kind of cultural activities has to the develpment.

Finally that the kids knew about Argentina and our culture:

 

·         The culture importance to de human development

·         OAJNU and Argentina’s Culture

·         Amarante and the portugeese’s culture

The target group was 15 teenagers from 14 to 18, 2 Casa da Juventude’s  volonteers and organizatiosn’s staff,

I prepared a powerpoint presentation avc photos and information about OAJNU, Argentina and Mendoza. The workshop resulted well but we have some issues of comunication. The problem was that kids didn’t know nothing of english and I didn’t know Portugeese nether. I didn’t foresee this but Catarina helped translated some things but I didn’t do all my workshop the way I wanted

Children they were interesed but with comunication’s problem. We had a problem to comunicate within us, because I didn’t know Portugeese and they didn’t know nothing of english or spanish, we comunicated between spanish and Portugeese but I felt a little bit frustrated because I didn’t reach them the way I expected and the workshop was shorter than I would had planified

The idea of the activity was in a first place that these kids kown about others organizations in others parts of the world worked to ameliorate the way of life of teenagers and young people. So I showed them OAJNU and th second objective was talked abour the importance of the culture to the deelopment, and iexchange in a diynamic way our different ways of life, and ours similarity too. One trigger was the typical argentinian candies and drinks. So they tasted alfajores and mate. We talked about the habitudes and manners in Argentina and in Portugal.I think that the same number because we had some issues with the language and I’m not sure if the fully understood me

The methodologie was:  a power point presentation with many triggers about similarities and difference of Argentina and latinoamerican Culture and the European culture. Another power point presentatio about OAJNU Argentina with many pictures and videos, explanning what we do. Finally A tasted activitie, where kids taste candies and typical drinks of Argentina, and they had to say what the thought about them.

It was very friendly, kids participated a lot and were very interesting. I learned a lot about Amarante, the city, their school, their music, what kind of meals are tipical from the region.

The  ulterior objective of the activity was sharing each other culture till de perspective of the need that it has to be present in any politics about development. The message was not so clear because kids couldn’t in some moments understand me and that did the workshop slow, so we change it to an informal talk and that had better results.

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Founding Chief Executive Officer of YLSL visited UNOY in The Hague

All blog posts by barbaraamaral

 

Abubakarr Messeh Kamara is former National President of the Children’s Forum Network and founding Chief Executive Officer, Young Leaders (Sierra Leone), and he’s currently a global youth sector consultant and student of law at the University of London. At aged 23, Messeh has already contributed and supported a number of youth projects across the world, and he also is the co-founder of Aftermath International, a charity helping young victims of natural disasters, conflicts and global crisis.  


UNOY Peacebuilders welcomed Messeh Kamara as a representative of Young Leaders Sierra Leone in its office from 18 to 27 September 2011. Messeh visited UNOY as part of the global job shadowing project “Learning by seeing, seeing by doing” to exchange practices on project implementation. He also gave a unique presentation on “Case studies/ testimonies from Sierra Leone on ending war and promoting lasting peace” in post war Sierra Leone.  

 

KEY ACTIVITIES:

 

  1. UNOY  Peace Builders
  2. The International Criminal Courts
  3. GHRD - Global Human Rights Defence
  4. Cordaid
  5. CARE Netherlands
  6. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
  7. International Day of Peace Events (Jam for Peace).
  8. The Peace Palace
  9. Parliament Building

 

Introduction

 

 

My official mission was to  participate on a Job-shadowing  project  with the simple aim to learn and share my experiences of ending war and promoting lasting peace in Sierra Leone, as part of the UNOY job-shadow project (‘’Learning by doing and doing by seeing’’).

 

The visit was the first of its kind and credit must be given to those who advocated so strongly for such an event where young people from diverse backgrounds across the world were given the opportunity to learn and share their experiences on peace building.

 

The Hague is a city of international character and importance.  Internationally, The Hague is often known as the "judicial capital of the world" due to the many international courts that are located in the city. Among these are the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court. Beside these institutions, The Hague is home to more than 150 international organizations, as well as many EU institutions, multinational companies and embassies. This gives the city a distinct international character.

 

Preparation and Stay

 

Given the short time available to make travel arrangement and secure visa, it was a miracle that I was able to participate on such an important activity.  Tremendous effort was put into the organisation of the programme and ensuring as rich   experience as possible for me.

As I got on the city shuttle train from Schiphol Airport, I met some Dutch folks who also speak English on the train- we shared a warm greeting­. Honestly, I felt like I was back-home in Sierra Leone. One of the first things I noticed was that the streets were filled with cyclists. They were everywhere and seemed to own the roads more so than the cars.

Initially, I was housed in one hotel which did its best to look after me, internet facilities were provided. The Court Garden Hotel is the first sustainable hotel in The Hague: it has an official Green Certificate of the Ministry of Environment, the Energy label A. The rooms are ecodesigned: the hotel uses green energy, has triple glazing and applies energy saving measures such as using LED’s, motion sensors, timers, gas absorption heat pump system, water savers, etc. In the bathrooms you will find organic soap and shower products.  

 

In the hotel you can choose from Fairtrade and/or organic products, including the Dutch delicious organic breakfast, coffee, tea, juices, wines, salads, fruit, chocolate etc. Smoking is not allowed in the hotel, but they have an open smoking area in the garden. The rooms were good, clean and well looked after and the food was excellent but lacked in variety.  

 

 Entertainment and sight seeing:

 

The organisers made sure that there was plenty of entertainment for me.  In fact, I felt that there was even too much entertainment which detracted from the task at hand.

 

I was also given plenty of entertainment through music and other visitation to important places. The organising committee of the host organisation did a wonderful job in this regard. The learning journeys to some important places were educational and useful.

 

I had dinner and lunch at some very nice restaurants in town! UNOY invited me to attend their staff lunch, a traditional Dutch style. I was so honoured to be invited and had a feel of a staff lunch at the offices of UNOY. Also, the dinner and all the hospitality was a marvellous experience! 

 

However, time constraints resulted in some of the proposed outreach visitation not being fully realised in some cases, as I had to cut my trip short, returning earlier than thought.

 

 

 The International Day of Peace Events (18th September) –Peace Jam

 

The Peace Jam was inspirational, colourful, and well thought out and designed.  UNOY should be congratulated for an event in such a fantastic hall, with a diverse group of participants.  A larger stage space would have made the event greater in terms of its stage performance impact.  I was very pleased to be in the midst of other peace builders and to have been part of such a very good programme, in support of peace.

 

 

 Visit to Care the Netherlands and Cordaid

 

My key highlights of the trip, was my participation in meetings with CARE Netherlands and Cordaid. Both organisations are partners to UNOY and are very much interested in youth matters. I found it very interesting to learn about the organisational structure of CARE as well as the various projects CARE has in Sierra Leone.  Care runs agricultural and economic projects in Sierra Leone, and there was a discussion to include the YLSL into its projects in-country.

 

Cordaid was also very keen to involve young people in to its projects, but on a wider scale, mostly from across Africa. Cordaid has plans to invite a young person to present at a meeting in the Arab community in 2012, and would like the YLSL to be involved.

 

GHRD - Global Human Rights Defence

 

I was also very opportune to participate on a training event, hosted by GHRD—a partner organisation of UNOY. During the training, I was living and learning together with a host of over 20 young people from across the world.  The training made me more aware of different cultures and how peace could be promoted through inter-cultural dialogue.

 

There were lecture sessions by leading academics in The Hague and also discussions about peace and culture. During the workshop, we were  able  to also  discus on and deal with the immigration policies of the EU and introduce common migration trends and what these concretely mean for citizens of the host countries and the immigrants themselves and why the immigration policy is in some countries tougher and in others not.

 

As a result of the workshop and follow-up, participants were asked to propose their own small projects particularly related to social inclusion, which they can later realize in their own communities, of which I was able to contribute and helped produce a group project.  

 

 

The whole experience:

 

I got a great personal and professional development. I made many friends and visited some fantastic places, not only in centre of The Hague but to some other important places in the outskirt of the Netherlands.I liked it very much! It was a great experience to visit The Hague.

 

I also liked the public transport. It’s much better than Sierra Leone public transport. I experienced The Hague’s nightlife as awesome! A lot of fun!  

 

The Netherlands is a great country, historic row houses and freewheeling social policies that attract visitors from the world over. As I discovered, it’s also a country of very determined cyclists and committed distance walkers.

 

The experience helped me bond, I learned a lot about different culture, and peace building initiatives, I made new friends, I visited unforgettable places and did unforgettable things. I became inspired by the most amazing people you could meet, I felt we made a difference and I can truly say I have never felt so content in my entire life as I did in those two weeks in The Hague. Truly life changing...

 

In any way, if a programme of this nature is to justify its existence in allowing the people to exchange experiences in a meaningful manner, build their capacity, develop the strongest possible contacts and networks, build a sense of  peace building and prepare for feedback from the trip to participating organisation, sufficient time and resources is needed.  

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Events promoted by Young Peace Brigades (YPB) to celebrate the International day of Peace in Ghana

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RECIPIENTS

 

1.      United Network Of Young Peace Builders

2.      European Commission (Youth In Action Program)

3.      The Parliament Of Ghana

4.      Ministry Of Interior (Ghana)

5.      Ministry Of Women And Children Affairs (Ghana)

6.      Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare (Ghana)

 

 

 

 

APPRECIATION

 

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the European Commission’s Youth in Action Program 3.2 for Sponsoring the Jobshadowing Project, Learning by Seeing, Seeing by Doing 2011.  This Project has inevitably touched the lives of young people in ten nations across the globe, both in Africa and Europe. We acknowledge their continuous effort and support to the issues of young people.

Our gratitude also goes to the United Network of Young Peace Builders for taking the step in initiating the project and to thank the Core team members and their respective organizations they represent, Mohammed Sillay Sessay from Young Leaders Sierra Leone, Victoria Vasalo from OAJNU, Meg Villanueva from FCV Clam per la Pau and Lillian Solheim from UNOY, for their support and for ensuring the smooth running of the Project irrespective of the challenges we all faced. Kudos…..

Finally, we extend our appreciation to all other stakeholders in the running of this project, from the ten participated organization to the young people who actively participated in the project across board.

 

The Report was prepared by Adel Umar Ibrahim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The youth are an important asset across the globe; the future leaders of their nations, who will effect economic, social, Political and family structures. This has amounted to their crucial role in the development of any nation and it is extremely important to involve them in Developmental actions. This is better manifested in the fact that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals has a lot of focus on the youth and must be included in its achievement. However, the kind of attention given to youth in recent times even though it is a bit improved, lacks a lot in terms of peace building, skill training be it formal or informal.
This has resulted in another fact, and thus - anytime there is a violence conflict of any kind, both in its minors and majors, the youth and children suffer more consequences as victims and in some occasions have been used in the wars by warlords, always in front.

 

The Jobshadowing Project “Learning by seeing, seeing by doing” is a training and networking activity of the Youth in Action program, in the form of a job-shadowing exchange AND advocacy project. As part of the project which started in November 2010 each participating country (organization) is to celebrate the world peace day in the promotion of peace. The peace day celebration provided for the youth of Ghana an opportunity to further express their taught and have their voices head by the government and other stakeholders for the promotion of Peace Making and Peace Building. This program was also to tell world to what extent young people are actually involved in Peace Initiatives.

 

 

 

 

 

The time has arrived for the voices of young people to be taken into consideration in planning, implementation, and monitoring of development processes. I believe young people have a crucial role in ensuring accountability of all actors. It should be an inclusive process because when development fails, it is young people who bear the brunt on a daily basis. Effective youth participation is sine qua non to the success of the MDGs”

Chukwumuanya Igboekwu, MD

                                                                        Health Program Associate

                                                                      Physicians for Social Justice

                                                                                                         Nigeria

 

 

 

 

WHY THE THEME FOR THE PEACE DAY CELEBRATION

 

The main theme “Ghana’s Oil in Peace; Attainable or a Mirage? Was selected by the young peace brigades due to the fact that, - Ghana finds itself surrounded by some of these conflict zones. To illustrate, up north outside the borders of Ghana we had the 2007-2009 Tuareg Rebellion in Mali and Niger, on the outside Eastern borders we had the 2004 conflict in the Niger Delta (oil) and 2009 Nigerian sectarian violence, and on the immediate Western borders we have the Ivorian Civil war which lasted between 2002-2009 and a bit beyond, notwithstanding the second Liberian Civil War which ended somewhere around 2003. For Ghanaians, this is very alarming and it calls for the Government, civil societies, the youth and all stake holders to get actively involved in the promotion of peace, especially around our newly found oil. Countries like Nigeria after discovering oil were quite excited about it just as we are in Ghana today but, where did it land them; it is only running in the pockets of the few elites while the majority suffer both the waste of oil drilling and poverty and this is what will usually bring about a few citizens willing to ask for a share which if not handled properly ends with guns.

 

The second topic however “Can Understanding Human Nature help in Conflict Resolution?” is to make clear the art of dealing or relating to people in times of misunderstandings. Most Violent conflicts start like that, small then into something a whole nation finds hard to contain. Dale Carnegie did say in his book How to Win Friends and Influence people in Business “If you want honey, Don’t Kick over the Beehive”. You can’t get people to go with your way of thinking by rankling and heckling and based on this we chose the second topic.

 

 

 

Participation

 

About 20 young leaders from 10 youth organizations across the country joined in the Celebration of the Peace Day. Majority of the participants were between the ages of 17 and 25 years old and about 5 of them between the ages of 25 and 35. We chose leaders and youth ambassadors of youth serving organizations in their various localities in order to be able to reach a wider gap since the motive is for them to take out and share to their own members and other youth groups what we celebrated and the ideas shared.

 


Moderators

 

The Peace Day Celebration was moderated by:

 

Safwan A. Nantamba: He holds a first degree in Human Resource management from the Central University College, Accra Ghana. He currently is a business man in the music industry serving as a musician and a song writer. Before this he was a youth advocate in the Development of the MDG’s under the Global youth Action Network.

 

Fatimah Dari Iddisah: AFinal Year student of the University of Cape-coast, Ghana. She currently works part time with Export Promotion and investment Fund with the Government of Ghana. She has been an active volunteer with the young Peace Brigades in respect to the Jobshadowing project and intends to stay a bit longer. She has been youth ambassador for the since 2006 and counting.

 

 

OPENING MESSAGE FOR THE PEACE DAY CELEBRATION: A message from Adel Umar Ibrahim, Programs Coordinator, YPB Ghana.


I must first apologize for the delay in the starting of this wonderful day, the peace day. This is in part as a result of today being a holiday and in part as lack of understanding of the importance of this day to some of our invited guests. But we had a plan B, so forgive me for the change in program line up.

 

I want to thank you all for taking out time to join us in the celebration of this day. I deem it important to say that, the international Day of Peace is a global holiday for individuals, organizations and nations to celebrate peace building and peacemaking on a shared date. This annual International Day of Peace was established by the UN as a "global call for ceasefire and non-violence... a time to reflect on the horror and cost of war and the benefits of peacefully resolving our disputes.” It is also important to note that The Jobshadowing Project “Learning by seeing, seeing by doing” is a training and networking activity of the Youth in Action program, in the form of a job-shadowing exchange AND advocacy project and this particular one Learning BySeeing, Seeing ByDoing is sponsored by the European Commission’s Youth in Action Program under the auspices of The United Network of Young Peace Builders.

With this in mind, let us ponder over these last few words, perchance we may agree on some basic details: ending violent conflicts across the world is not to just have peace but it is to have numerous opportunities: it is to some extent reduce poverty, have dreams and be able to pursue them. In some countries the youth have been deprived, you will agree that most war zones in have not left for their youth a lot to desire. In Ghana we have enjoyed utmost peace over the years, had opportunities to education, family, entertainment, created wealth, health etc. but all other conflict zones enjoyed peace once. As we are about to enter an election year (2012), this platform is to serve as an opportunity to reflect on whence we came and what lies ahead.

On a basic level, we the young people have the right to education, health and safety. If all is given with choices and opportunities, we will live healthier and more productive lives. We are a creative and strong that we must develop our abilities and talents to utmost use. We are the agents of change and we need to get our voices heard from which ever corner we emerge, irrespective of political, religious, tribal or social status. We need to get actively involved in pressing issues such as the one on violent conflict annihilation. There is no hierarchy today, we all own the program and I urge that you see it as such as we proceed. Feel ok to share your taught on the way forward.

 

Once more thank you for joining us and enjoy the day, this is peace day.

 

Good Morning.

 

SUMMARY OF THE LAST TWO DAYS BEFORE THE PEACE DAY

 

Monday the 19th of September, 2011

 

On this day we did the final follow up by visiting the three main Organizations who were to join us for the peace day celebration;

 

1.      The West Africa Network for Peace Building - Wanep (Resource Org.)

2.      The ministry of Women and Children Affairs (The Minister)

3.      The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (The Minister)

 

At the end of the day, we had two confirmations that stated clearly they would be present on the day and that was the ministry of Foreign Affairs and Wanep. Both The Ministry of Women and Children asked that we check up again the following day. The reason was that they were not certain if the Deputy Minister herself would make it, this was therefore to first have confirmation, then they will send a representative in case the Minister cannot make it.

 

Tuesday, the 15th of September.

 

On this day we were involved in a lot of preparations considering the fact that the following day was the Peace day. We had to first run phone calls to all the invited organizations and the media to reconfirm their participation in the program, and then we proceeded to the Ghana National Association of Teachers Hall to clean and arrange the venue.

Around 2pm however, I had a call to from Wanep (Resource Org.) and this was the message, I quote “Mr. Emmanuel Bombande (The Executive Director, Wanep) said he can’t make it your program, this is because tomorrow is a holiday and as such he intends to rest, we are sorry for the inconveniences”. I found that a little too hard to believe, so I asked, “Who will be representing him then”, his secretary then said, “No one Sir, there will be no one immediately available to attend due the same reason, tomorrow is a holiday and you organize a program on such a day, you should know you can’t get people to attend, im sorry”. There and then I said thank you and this was when the drama began; the resource organization that was to take up the main theme cannot make it. At this point I panicked, so immediately I started running calls to get a substitute but all proofed futile. In the midst of this challenge I had a call from the ministry of women and children stating the same reason given by Wanep, as the reason they won’t be coming for the program. We needed time to think. The day ended after we went in to purchase refreshments and the materials needed for the Program.

 

 

 

Initial Program Line Up

 

I have taken the liberty to reproduce on this page the initial program line up. A summary of what we had wanted to do on the peace day before the challenges we were faced with:

 

The theme, Ghana and World Peace, was selected by YPB on the basis of our National Peace and what Ghana can do in its small way to bring about peace in the World. As to whether this is attainable or a mirage is for us to wait and witness as the youth participants discuss and share their personal ideas on “How Not To” and “How To” achieve this peace. This we believe will bring to light new ideas and ways of solving peace related issues and also give an opportunity to participants to activate and access their creative minds. We will however, initiate the program with this open forum in the presence of the invited Government Representatives and the Resource organization, followed by a lecture on the said theme. This procedure will allow the resource team to first listen to the youth, in order to reform and recommend amongst the ideas presented by the youth, the most suitable ones to use in peace building and conflict resolution.

 

The second lecture will be based on how one can harness some domestic, national and international conflicts by just adhering to the usage of certain basic Natural laws of human. Despite the second lecture being a Specialty of YPB and would not require an external resource person, we will allow the other resource persons to touch or criticize on the subject with questions from the participants. The essence of the second lecture however is to equip each representative with the necessary skill to be themselves agents of Conflict resolutions and serve as peer educators in Promoting and sharing the Jobshadowing project themes in their various organizations and communities, and for those of them who get to travel outside of Ghana, they will have the opportunity to share these ideas with other youth leaders in the World, thereby boiling down to Ghana’s Contribution in World Peace. Participants after the second lecture will then be allowed to ask questions, followed by another lecture.

 

At this point we will open the floor for refreshments, interactions and possible collaborations between participated organizations and setting a date for the first meeting of the established Board. It is also important to note that the participated organizations will be the very contact in mobilizing the youth for the Campaign in favor of the youth which will be taking place after the Jobshadowing and before Mid-November.

 

Closing Prayer will then climax the program.

 

This final part of the program is optional to Government Representatives and WANEP, and so we will appreciate if the media will stay.

 

We will set up a board consisting of a member from each participating organization to follow up and continue the organization of the peace day in subsequent years to come with YPB as the focal point; A program we will Dub UNOY Peace Day, Learning by Seeing, Seeing By Doing. We alsointend to raise local funds for its organization in subsequent years, but international help will be well appreciated.

 

 

Summary of Challenges

 

The last two days before the peace day posed a lot of challenges and we are not sure if this has to do with Africa yet Again. These challenges, we have classified into two. The first is pre-Crisis; challenges we had before the peace day and the second is Celebration Day’s Challenges; this represents the crisis we had on the Day of the Peace Celebration.

 

Pre-Crisis

 

These were challenges we couldn’t exert any changes to, but to look for alternatives:

 

1.      The Resource Organization (WANEP) at about 3 hours to the end of working hours on Tuesday the 20th of September 2011, communicated to us, their in-ability to join us for the peace day celebration. It was same with the ministry of Women and Children Affairs.

 

2.      Some of the Media, who were joining us to take coverage started withdrawing after hearing the latest developments on the absence of both the Deputy Minister For Women and Children, and Wanep.

 

3.      And five of the participating organizations outside of Accra called in to request that their transportation be taken care of which was beyond our reach at that time considering it was only a few more hours to the Peace Day. And this was in part because initially they agreed to join us at their own expense in order to celebrate this great day.

 

 

Celebration Day’s Challenges

 

1.                   At about 3am on the 21st September (Peace Day) the weather changed and started dropping in on Accra some rain showers. Then at about 7am it was a heavy rain, flooding most of our gutters and streets. This made it almost impossible for cars to journey but to wait till it subsides.

 

2.      As part of a national celebration of the peace day, Nestle Ghana organized what we call the Milo marathon. Unlike every other year, this time they blocked most of the principal streets to the Ministries which was where we were to hold the program. This lead to a heavy traffic which made easy accessibility to the programs ground extremely tough. Some participants had to drop and walk to the site, others had to return home.

 

                           

 

3.      It’s a norm in Ghana that whenever there is heavy rain the Electricity cooperation of Ghana switches off electricity until the rain subsides from thunder strikes. This again posed a little bit of a difficulty having to go get Fuel for a generator which was provided for the hall.

 

4.      The overall crisis ate into our time coupled with the rain also made it impossible to take up the walk we had planned for.

 

 

Summary of the Peace Day Celebration

 

The program started with a film show “Sometimes in April”, a movie that reveals the tribal war that existed between the Hutu’s and Tutsi’s of Rwanda after the United Nations negotiated a power sharing agreement between the two sides in 1993. Participants were allowed to watch this movie to remind each one of us the consequences of war once it starts showing its ugly head. After which we started the discussion of the first presentation dubbed, Ghana’s Oil in Peace; Attainable or a Mirage?

 

Participants made very meaningful contributions on this topic. They understood the situation and accepted the fact that our parents have strived and craved to locate oil in the shores of Ghana. This oil however is what they are leaving for us and are currently enacting policies on how it should be used for our benefits – and they say this is our future. Now if that is true should we not be part of its planning and implementation, but the youth are continuously being pushed aside. So, basically much of the worry was based on four main issues:

 

1.      That, the Government of Ghana should establish some policies with the youth for the youth in ensuring the rightful use of oil revenues for the benefits of the country first, especially the poor majority. Some young people are of the opinion that the thematic issues that border on young people should be included in National Youth Policies.

 

2.      Others are of the opinion that the international community should put in more effort to facilitate youth involvement in policy making in their respective countries.

 

3.      That, these policies should be established with all the political parties, youth and all stakeholders, and then deep rooted in our constitution with the rules stating clearly that it can’t be changed by any single group or political party except by the same groups or organizations who together sat on a round table to establish them.

 

4.      That, the Government together with the youth and other stakeholders must ensure that at the end of all negotiations with foreign oil companies, the Government of Ghana must have majority shares in the revenues accrued from the oil.

 

5.      That, an independent organization should be formed by the youth with vigilance to keep an eye on Government, to discuss in the media every bad move by the government or stakeholders, and given power under the constitution to prosecute and jail if deemed necessary any Government Official or stakeholder guilty of corruption, embezzlement or money laundering. Some suggest that corruption and illegal acquisition or laundering of funds has played a major role in some other African Countries who have oil but the majority suffer economic hardship.

 

6.      That, the policies once established must be let out in the public for general discussion rather than kept secret in the midst of a few elevated citizens and that is because a few say that the poor and vulnerable are not consulted and hence their views are not well reflected.

 

             

 

The government is extremely cautious in planning my country’s development, with the main actors being high level civil servants. You generally will not see youth involvement in any policy development, unless they happen to be young (younger than 35) outstanding civil servants rising the rank”

 

Bernise Ang,

Founder of the Singapore International Youth Council

Singapore

 

 

We took a break after the discussion to first of all officially launch the Peace Day Celebration T-shirts and to take in some refreshments. The T-shirts showcased in front the Logo of the Jobshadowing project, Learning by Seeing, Seeing by Doing, the logo of the European Commission (Youth In Action Program), the United Network of Young Peace Builders Logo with the Logo of Young Peace Brigades at the back of the shirt.

 

Refreshment was in the form of socialization amongst the various organizations as they enjoyed their Khebab’s and fresh Yoghourt.

 

The second presentation took turn after the 30 minutes leg stretch and refreshment. The topic, Can Understanding Human Nature helps in Conflict Resolution? Was moderated by Adel Umar Ibrahim and the focus was based on the fact that when conflicts occur, amongst the civilians, it is usually the less privileged groups who have no skill or training that get actively involved in the massacres. A time they claim they are able to share their grievances; the struggle in which they were born into, coupled with the Governments Neglect of such societies. Participants therefore urged that the Government must not take lightly the nature of Humans; that when humans are pushed extremely into a corner for a very long time against their will it comes to a time when they rebel. In most cases this rebellion once it arises are not handled in the right frame work, which leads to the uprising and the formation of various rebel groups.

 

The participants also acknowledged the fact that we must all play an essential role in wanting to hear their cries. Some of them end up there not because they wanted to but because they lacked the childhood training that could lead them to good jobs and better livelihood and this is also largely due to poverty. For most of them all they need are jobs.

 

The discussion then went further to blame Governments for most of these situations we have to unfortunately find ourselves in. The most unfortunate thing is the reality on ground when these uprisings occur. Instead of the Government investigating into the main reasons behind the uprising they quickly get involved in killing, arresting and jailing of some of the rebels which in itself fuels the rest of the rebels. We must remember that for the rebel he claims he is fighting for what is rightly his and the government in turn calls them warlords and criminals when indeed all they are asking for is food and acknowledgement.

 

In the nutshell however, the discussion threw light and took various turns around these two main factors:

 

1)  That, Governments must work hard and focus largely on using our natural resources, now oil inclusive to create new jobs and opportunities for the average Ghanaian to be able to feed and educate their young ones. This will further prevent a major up-rising.

 

 

2)   Once an Up-rising begins however, the Government in as much as should not allow rebel groups to feel empowered, must not rush into haunting them down, but first investigate into what their main worries are and quickly find remedies to these worries. Unless otherwise established that these worries are mischievous and will not benefit the majority, even so Government must use good human relations first to try harnessing the situation before the use of force if deemed necessary. In all Violence should be last. 

 

After the second presentation, a candle was lighted and all the participants lighted their candles from that one candle. A minute silence was then witnessed by us all for the recent deaths in the Arab World Uprising, from Libya to Egypt, and Syria etc. with a song by Safwan A Nantamba titled, “Shelter”. 

 

The program quickly came to an end after the Minute silent candle light.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

CONCLUSION

 

The Peace Day celebration exposed us to some truth that the current youth in Ghana have drawn lessons from other African nations and that very few of the participants were not informed about the current oil policies. It also created an opportunity to identify young people who have been involved in the development of peace building and Peace making and to share their experience at the Peace Day Celebration 2011.

 

Furthermore, the Peace Day Celebration created awareness amongst the participant the important role young people can play to ensure transparency and accountability in our various Government agencies. The major thematic issues relevant to youth covered in the discussion with respect to what oil money’s should be used for covered areas such as education, heath, employment and youth participation.

 

As the summaries above show, participants proposed several ideas on how to move forward. One idea we would like to emphasize in this conclusion is the idea on Policies with the youth for the youth. They also suggested that these processes should be supported by monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess progress made and that the policies should be initiated by young people and put into shape by all stakeholders including youth organizations together with the UN and other international and national groups.

 

The final outcome of the Peace Day Celebration also indicates that young people are a creative and energetic resource that everyone must cultivate and nourish from. They are leaders of today and tomorrow and need to be given greater attention in order to eliminate poverty and make our world a better one to live in.

 

 

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International Centre for the Promotion of Education and Development (CEIPES) International day of Peace report.

All blog posts by barbaraamaral

 

CEIPES organized activities like:

-          Photo contest PEACE IN YOUNG PEOPLE’S EYES

-          Photo exhibition

-          Watched documentaries movies concerning peace

-          Create short movie about peace.

-          Participation in  Peace Day Festival, Forestside, Northern Ireland 

Photo contest

From 29.July till 9. Septemberin the framework of International Day of CEIPES organized a photo contest entitled PEACE IN YOUNG PEOPLE’S EYES, where 26 participant from 10 countries send a total of 56 photos.  The main aim of the photo contest was to create a space where young people can freely and creatively express their ideas and opinions about peace.

The finalist of the contest are:

1st Asmaa Abdelatif from Egypt

2 th Mohammad Sharafdin from Iran

3 th Irena Kroc  from Poland

 

Participants, which pictures will be on photo exhibition PEACE IN YOUNG PEOPLE’S EYES:

-        Tereze Elpere (Latvia)

-        Mustafa Eren Uzun (Turkey)

-        Isabella Antonucci (Italy)

-        Elena Pagallo (Italy)

-        Reza Kavosh (Spain)

-        Asmaa Abdelatif (Egypt)

-        Mohammad Sharafdin  (Iran)

-        Irena Kroc  (Poland)

 

The winner- Asmaa Abdelatif- about motivation to participate: I decided to participate due to my love and passion to photography since 2 years ago also I believe that each contest or small exhibition will give experience and  help in my life career in photography field. I love learning , watching photography. I hope that one day I can make my dream true which is  study abroad "photojournalism photography". So you can call me amateur to photography or may be obsess to photography.

 

Irena Kroc from Poland about motivation in photo exhibition PEACE IN YOUNG PEOPLE’S EYES:I decided to participate in this contest, because in my opinion, the best way to spread information about PEACE, to express and show it - is Photography. Visualization always reaches to people better than just words! PEACE - union, calmness, happiness.

 

Photo exhibition participant Reza Kavosh: I am not a photographer by profession but a Master student of Peace, Conflict, and Development studies, but I am interested to take photo and work in the field of peace and conflict resolution. Several years I have been  travelling to different countries in Asia and Europe. This experience has made me realize that most people disregard less of their race, skin colour, nationality, culture, or religious or spiritual affiliations, are joining hands together with the sole aim of how peace and harmony can be achieved. United we stand, divide we fall. I believe peace is not merely the absence  of conflict but rather, it has  a lot to do with the spirituality of a human being. Society and people can only achieve the peace when everyone shall have  gained his/her internal peace. This is what always comes to my mind when  I hear or talk about peace.

Photo contest participants werefrom Latvia, Poland, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Kenya, Iran, Armenia and Portugal.

CEIPES decided to create this contest, because  we wanted to encourage and promote the development of individuals through education and human rights as well as international cooperation and peace day give us such change, namely,  International day of Peace provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on shared date.

·        All photos available in the following link:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.130622260364013.28121.100572056702367&type=1 

First place:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=143987232360849&set=a.130622260364013.28121.100572056702367&type=1&theater

 

Second place:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=144913395601566&set=a.130622260364013.28121.100572056702367&type=1&theater

 

Third place:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=143455835747322&set=a.130622260364013.28121.100572056702367&type=1&theater

 

 

We would like to give a special thanks to Riccardo Scibetta, a Italian professional photographer, who participated in the selection of the photos.

 

Photo contest was heldon the framework of the Peace day project, which is implementing within the framework ofproject “Learning by seeing, seeing by doing”. The project “Learning by seeing, seeing by doing” is a training and networking activity of the Youth in Action program, in the form of a job-shadowing exchange and advocacy project.

 

Photo exhibition& documentary movies

In 21.September CEIPES together with Human Rights Youth Organization from Palermo organized photo exhibition and documentary movie watching as well as several different activities concerning with peace topic.

In photo exhibition PEACE IN YOUNG PEOPLE'S EYES, where was exposed photo contest finalist images from Italy, Latvia, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Poland and Spain was possible to sawfreely and creatively expressed ideas, opinions and  comprehension about peace.CEIPES and Human Rights Youth Organization will gave possibility to enjoy  two documentary movies- One Peace at a Time(2003) and Playing for Change: Peace Through Music(2003). Movie One Peace at a Timeis an inspiring look at the possibility of providing basic rights to every child. Shot in 20 countries on 5 continents, the film features the insights of Nobel Laureates. Playing for Change: Peace Through Music is a story of hope, struggle, perseverance and joy, where filmmakers explore both the motivation and the music of the contemporary street busker by showing just the lengths to which these entertainers will go to share their music with the public.

 

Human Rights Youth Organization:          

http://www.humanrightsyouthorganization.net/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short movie about peace

Video shows in how many varied ways peace can be seen and achieved by young people. People with different skin color, nationality, culture, religious or spiritual affiliations have their own way of interpreted peace.

Participants from Italy, France, Latvia, Portugal, Turkey and Kenya.

Movie available:

http://www.youtube.com/user/CEIPES#p/f/0/5K1Bh7Gq6FM

 

Participation in  Peace Day Festival, Forestside, Northern Ireland 

CEIPES send a short message and a picture representing our group for peace day.

 

The idea of this event was to give people a greater awareness of the global community we all belong to.

 

 

Here is the final picture:

 

C:\Users\Guest\Downloads\287162_125520580883418_115723295196480_96632_1661218602_o.jpg

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Activities for the International Day of Peace in the Philippines

All blog posts by peacenik

 

 

Media coverage of the activities GenPeace promoted in order to

celebrate the International Day of Peace: 

 

‘One  Million  Voices  for  Peace’  launched  

By Penelope P. Endozo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Hundreds of youths joined the celebration of International Peace Day in Quezon City Wednesday, which took on a new meaning this year as it coincided with the anniversary of the declaration of martial law 39 years ago.

After declaring a suspension of military operations across the country to honor Peace Day, students and out-of-school youths are seeking a longer ceasefire through the “One Million Voices for Peace” campaign for a final settlement of the communist and Muslim insurgencies.

“Peace Day is remembered globally but what sets the Philippine celebration apart is that the date coincides with the commemoration of the declaration of martial law. This is why our national theme this year is ‘Peace is our right.’” We are highlighting our collective right to peace,” said Debbie Cabanag, who has been participating in the United Nations-declared celebrations for the past three years.

In One Million Voices for Peace (facebook.com/givepeaceashot), the young and the young-at-heart are encouraged to “give face to peace” by declaring their support for the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The youth network, Generation Peace (GenPeace), organized the simultaneous celebrations in 7 key areas—Cebu, Nueva Vizcaya, Iloilo, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Quezon City. Eight indigenous peoples groups also conducted peace rituals in the Sierra Madre in Luzon and in Mount Apo in Davao.

Most of the people who witnessed martial law as it happened identified themselves as part of Gen X, while most of the participants in the event responded to the call of Gen Y.

“Here, we’re all GenPeace,” said one out-of-school youth who joined the fun run.

In a message he sent, President Benigno Aquino III said “the government pledges solidarity to this cause, in accordance with the conviction that the Filipino people’s progress is founded on an environment of peace and stability.”

Colonel Dickson Hermoso, chief of the Armed Forces Peace Process, said the administration’s new policy was no longer about winning the war by arms, but winning the peace through civilian and medical missions.

“What we have to arrest are the threats to human security such as poverty. We in the military cannot do that alone,” he said.

 


MANILA BULLETIN

International Day of Peace 2011

September 20, 2011, 10:21pm

MANILA, Philippines— Now on its 30th year, International Day of Peace or Peace Day provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and nations around the world to promote peace and sustainability. This year’s theme is “Make Your Voice Heard.”

Established in 1981 by virtue of a United Nations (UN) resolution, the firstPeace Day was celebrated on the third Tuesday of September, 1982. In 2002, the UN officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the observance of Peace Day which it said, “shall hereafter be watched as theday of worldwide non-violence and ceasefire, a summons to all states and people to respect a termination of resentment.”

It invited all member states, UN agencies, and non-government associations to observe the day by broadening public awareness and education on the theme and assisting the UN in promoting and strengthening the ideals ofpeace.

Events vary in scale, form, and duration. They may be as simple a gesture as lighting a candle for peace at midday, sitting down in silent meditation and prayer, staging a concert for peace, organizing a forum.

In the Philippines, there will be a sports and health event “Peace is Our Right,” a celebration of peace day through music and the arts “7th Rhymes for Peace,” and a Student Peace Summit focusing on the subtheme “Magkakaiba. Nagkakaisa.” But one focal point around the entire planet will be the minute of silence at 12 noon, on September 21, 2011, as requested by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

As we mark International Day of Peace this year, may we be reminded that we can never truly contribute in the pursuit of peace for our country and the world, unless there is peace within us. Let peace, therefore, begin in each one of us and thereafter let us spread it to wherever life’s journey brings us, because “fortunate are those who work for peace, they shall be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). MABUHAY!

Youth claim right to peace on International Peace Day

By VERA Files | The Inbox – Mon, Sep 26, 2011

 

 

 

 

peace mosaic wall with designs from 100 different youth organizations and communities nationwide was unveiled …

Artha Kira Paredes, VERA Files

Photos by Mario Ignacio

 

 

 

 

 

Salma Matias, 19, a member of the Muslim-Christian Youth for Peace and Unity, longs forpeace in the island province of Basilan in southern Philippines where she was born. There she had lost many relatives to rido (clan feud).

She was one of some 400 representatives, most of them youth, who gathered at the Quezon Memorial Circle on Sept. 21 to celebrate the International Day of Peace.

Matias, who left her hometown 11 years ago, said she attended the event not only because her group was participating but because she wanted to "unite with people advocating for peace."

As an individual, she said she believes that "peace starts with me first, then at home in the family, then in the community."

Edmark del Mundo, 18, spokesperson of the Muslim and Christian Youth for Peace and Development (MCYPD) said their group also supported the event because they share the same advocacy.

He also stressed that "people should not fight because of difference in religious beliefs."

Del Mundo said their organization, which is composed of some 50 Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Iglesia ni Cristo members, is proof that people with different beliefs can respect one another.

Chanting prayers for peace in different languages and different beliefs opened theInternational …

Prayers for peace in different languages and different beliefs offered by Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim, Shume and Brahma Kumaris spiritual leaders opened the Peace Day  celebration.

MCYPD president Crispin Lungkuran, 23, said part of their peace advocacy is also promoting a clean-and-green, drug-free community in Sinag Tala, Project 8, Quezon City.

In Cebu, Nueva Vizcaya, Iloilo, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, hundreds of youth also participated in forums, contests and signature campaigns in the events initiated by youth network Generation Peace (GenPeace).

In 1981, the United Nations declared Sept. 21 as International Day of Peace. This year marks its 30th year with the UN theme "Peace and Democracy: make your voice heard."

GenPeace led the Peace Day events here with the theme "Kapayapaan, ating karapatan"(Peace is our right).

Their simultaneous celebrations aim "to raise awareness of the public on the International Dayof Peace as a global day of ceasefire and non-violence," according to secretariat head Nikki Delfin.

He added that the peace celebrations are also intended to enlist public support for the peaceprocesses between the government and insurgent groups --- Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the New People's Army- National Democratic Front (NDF).

Delfin added that the youth network, which was formed in 2006, has been spearheading "creative and collaborative ways of celebrating Peace Day together with different sectors" since 2009.

A peace mosaic wall with designs from 100 different youth organizations and communities nationwide was unveiled on GenPeace's first year of Peace Day celebration. Last year, it launched an anthology of poetry and prose on peace from youth contributors.

Noel Bonanciar, a member of the Quezon City Federation of PWD (people with disabilities) who also attended the event, said he wanted to be part of an activity which was celebrated by different countries and promoted by the UN.

Bonanciar, 30, said he wanted to observe so that he can pick up ideas for activities for the youth in Bagong Silangan where he currently resides.  

President Benigno Aquino III, in a message sent to GenPeace, said the government "pledges solidarity" to the cause of the global day of ceasefire and nonviolence "in accordance with the conviction that the Filipino people's progress is founded on an environment of peace and stability."

In one of his two messages to GenPeace, MILF Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal said that "peace, the everlasting and real one" is the "best gift we can pass on to the generation after us."

A Sept. 20 press statement of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) said the Philippine government declared a "one-day unilateral truce" with the CPP-NPA which entailed a suspension of military operations for the entire day by the Armed Forcesof the Philippines.

The statement also said that ceasefire with the MILF "is still holding as the government affirms its commitment to abide by the Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities signed by both parties in 1997."

Peace day coincides with the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

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DAY 9: Final Evaluation and Visit to a local partner

All blog posts by willie

 

At 10:00hrs  i met with uva, my mentor and  we walked around  the  city. Being  my  last  day, she took me  around to buy some  few  gifts to  take home.We  arrived  at  CEIPES  at 12;00hrs. I  filled an  evaluation  form  by CEIPES and also proposed a  joint project  with  CEIPES  on  human  rights  education  and  democracy. In  Kenya, there is  a  facility  led by UNDP  called Amkeni Wakenya  which supports projects on  democracy  through  the  implementation of the constitution. This idea  came due  to the  fact that  we  shared a  common  agenda  on  empowerment  of  minorities. I only made an executive  summary for this project  and forwarded  to  Ana's aorganization.

Later on at  17:00hrs, wwe  visited a  local  organization called  Lab  Zeta. this  organization  mostly  dealt with  immigrants from the Republic  of  Southern  Sudan.As  i  was  made  to  understand,  the  organization provided  for  the  essential  needs of these imigrants  such as water  and accomodation.The  meeting  with  the  people  from Sudan was  also great  we  made some  few  exchanges learning more  from  each other.

We  left the place  together  with  Senem  at  20:00hrs and  headed to  the hiostels.I  got  to my room at 20:30hrs and had  some  rest, took shower awaiting for  21:00hrs. This  time  we  met with Senem, Gaele,Kristar and  Tiago  for  the  farewell dinner. We  made  it  to  a  popular restaurant  and  shared  great  moments  together. We  parted  for  our hostels  at  22:30hrs.It  was  great  being in  Italy and  i  look  forward  to work  with  CEIPES in  the near  future.

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DAY 8:Policy Making Visit

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I woke up  at 7:00hrs  on this  day  to  have  a  look  at a  book Ana had  given  to  me. It  is  called  ''COMPASS'' . I  found  this  book  to  be  useful  since  it had important  information ranging  from issues such  as human  rights education  to  peace.I  had  breakfast  and took a  walk  around  a nearby  market  called Brior.This appeared to  be  a  common  market place  for  most  of  the people  living around  as it was  filled  with  humanity.Along  the  way  i  bought  some gifts  to  take  home  with  me. when  i  got  back i was informed  that i had  to move from  my room  to another  one  which  was  on the  first  floor. Johny, who was  the  director of the  place  informed me  had  to  make some  arrangements for  other clients.

At 10:00hrs  we met  with Allesandro for  a  policy  making  visit. We arrived  there  at  10:30hrs. the  department  deals  with  social  services  around Palermo.This  department mostly  deals with th  provision of education  to  the  imigrants  to  the  immigrants. /the  departments  was  lready making  plans  to  construct  a  youth resource  centre for  the immigrants. Here the  youth  would  be in a  position  to  interact and also  show case  their  talents. The  department  also  calls  for  proposals  from youth projects.I also  learned  that In Italy  there  was no  main ministry dealing  with  immigration  which  they  would collaborate  with.The meeting  ended  at  11:10hrs  and  we  left  for  CEIPES.

The heat here  had  drained  me  and  i spent  most  part of the  afternoon  relaxing  with a  book  on peacebuilding. At about 17:00hrs i  was  better and  we left together with Gaele for a  visit  to  local  partners of  CEIPES. The  name  of  the  organization  was  Cooperativa Al Azis   Associazione  Inventore  Insieme.The  contact  officer  was Nadia  lodato.She  was very receptive  and tried to communicate  in  english  but  it  was  quite  difficult for  her.This organization  deals  with  mafia  issues.  It  seeks  to educate children as  well  as  give them life  skills. they teach children to  sew clothes.The  meeting ended at  18:00hrs and we exchanged  information on our  working  realities.I acknowledged that she was undertaking a very sacrificial role. I lso  gave information about  my organization.the language  barrier  limited  our  exchange  but she promised to forward  information  to Ana in order for her  to  translate information. This  gives room  for future  cooperation.We  took  a  wlak around the  lecture rooms. It  was awesome  how much  the  organization  had been  doing.

We  met  with  Allesandro  at  20:00hrs and  got to his place. we  had dinner together. The interaction  was  important as  we  got to know each  other's  cultures. I left  for  my  hostel  at 22:00hrs.

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DAY 7:Workshop

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On  this day,  my  activities  mainly  revolved around  the  workshop. I got  to  CEIPES  at   10:00hrs. I  made  six  print  outs  of  the  presentation   for  the  workshop  and just  checked  through  to ensure  everything  was in place. At  13;00hrs  we  had  lunch at CEIPES and headed  to  my  hostel  to  pick  up  some other items i  had at  my room. We  then  headed  to the  venue  for the workshop. At 15:00hrs  people  started  streaming  into the  room. They  were  in  time! I  was  amazed at  how  good  people were at  keeping  time. The  participants  were  mostly  youth  who  were  working  under  the European  Youth  Program.They  were from  different  countries-Latvia,Palermo, England  and France.I made  a  formal  welcome  for the participants and begun immediately. My  workshop  had theree  session:The  first  was  the  introduction, the second  was the  discussion  where i  mostly engaged the  participants  in  understanding  the statistics,the last was  on  the questio  session  where i  would  answer  every  question asked. The  participation  was good.The  workshop  ended  immediately at  16:10hrs.We  also  had some  time  together  after the workshop  for interpersonal exchange. Uva  and  Senem also did  a  workshop on  Advocacy  and  change. They  also  managed  their  workshop in one  hour.

We  left  at  18:00hrs.We  had dinner  at  her  hostel.The meal  was  delicious. I also  had  some conversation with  a  lady  from  Germany,called  Isabelle and it  was  amazing  how  many  people  want  to  visit  Kenya. I  left  for  my my  hostel  at  20:00hrs.

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DAY 6: Day Trip to Cefalu

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I  met  Uva at  10:00hrs  and  we headed  to  the  train station, headed  for Cefalu. Senem  and  Gaele  joined us at 10:15hrs and we  begun  the  journey  to  Cefalu.I  love  the  technology here!The train  was so  fast. Along the  way  i  could  see that  the  environment  changed  to  a  rural  kind  of  setting. I  could see  vast  cultivated  lands. This  reminded  me of  Kenya.The  journey  took  about  fifty  minutes.We  alighted. And  behold! There  was  a steep hill overlooking the  beach  of  Mondello.The waters here seemed  rough  than  at  Mondello  and  Senem informed  me  it   was a challenge even  to  professional swimmers. We  however  begun  by climbing  the  hill. Being  up  there  was breth taking and  we  realized we  could not  go so far. Our  shoes  were  not  fit  for  it  so  we  just  stopped  midway.We then climbed  down  the  mountain. The mountain  had a  temple at  its  peak  called  the  temple  of Diana.As we  walked around we  came  to a  nearby  church.This  was  a  massive  building where there  were  several worshippers  and  tourists  flocked  here  in  great  numbers.We  moved  to  the beach and  spent most of  the  afternoon  there. The beach  was lovely  and  we all had  fun  together.

We  left  the  beach  at  18:00hrs  and had  had  dinner  at  Senem's  place. Tiago  and Krista  had  moved  here so  we  had nice  time  with them  too!

I met  with Phillip from  Germany  who  was  a  professional  photographer and he  introduced  me  to  an  organization  in  Nigeria which  deals  with  environmental  issues.I left  for  my  hostel  at  21;45hrs and  arrived  at  my hostel  at   22:00hrs.

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DAY 5: Cultural Exposure

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We met  with  Gaele  at  around 10:00hrs  and headed  to  Sicilia for  shopping. At  about  13:00hrs we met with  ana  at  the Hostel and we  crossed over  to  a  nearby restaurant to have  lunch.Later, Gaele left  for her  hostel  and  Ana  and i  headed  to the puppet  theatre.We  left the  theatre  at  around  18:00hrs and  headed to  the  hostels.I dropped  my  bag  and  we  left  for  dinner  a  local  restaurant. I  met  with  some  of her  former colleagues  who also were  really  interested  to  learn about  Kenya. I  also  shared with  them about my organization.We  also  exchanged contacts. This  was  a very  interesting  day.I still  found the  language  barier  with  some  of the people i  met  here  but  we  still managed  to  communicate  altogether.I got  back  to the hostel at  11:50hrs.

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Day 4:Day Trip to Mondello

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Uva and I  headed  to  CEIPES  to  pick  up  Tiago,Kristar,Gaele and Senem.We  arrived  at  CEIPES and caught  up  with  them. We boarded a  bus  to  the  beach at  Mondello.The waters  were a bit  calm and  we  had  lots of   fun  here.The sun was warm  and  the  cooling  effect  of the  water and  the breeze  made  a  perfect  day  out  at  the  beach. We  left  the  beach at  about  18:00hrs and  i  got  back to  my  hostels.

I  had  dinner  at  21:00hrs  with  Tiago  and Kristar at  their hostel. We  exchanged  conversations  together.Tiago's presentation about Portugal was striking  and i  learned how  different our  cultures  were. Later on  we  went to a  youth  restaurant  and  met some  of  their  friends from Latvia,Germany  and  Turkey. The  experience  was  awesome!

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DAY 3: Policy Making Visit

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At  around 11:00hrs Ana, Uva  and  I had  a  meeting  with  the  councillor  of  Palermo  at  the  city  hall  building.I  found out  that  he  had initiated a  pilot  project  that aims at providing  equal  access  to  education for  immigrants who  called  Palermo  home. He acts aakeholdersion  to  other  sts  a  link  between  the  regional  and  local  government, providing information to the  other  stakeholders  about  his  department  roles.The  technical barrier  for this  initiative  was that  he  needed  more  support  from the regional  government. He  also informed  us that  he  was  ready  to  support  Ana's  project.The meeting ended at 11:40hrs  with ana  presenting  the  position  paper  to  the  councillor.We got  to the  office  at  CEIPES and had  lunch  at 15:00hrs and  had  a  staff  meeting. This  meeting  was  basically about  knowing  each  individual's activities  and  this  was very important  as  it  helps  to  ensure  the  smooth  running of the  organization.Ana  also  shared  more  on  human  rights  education.the  meeting  was very  educative.We  left  the  office at  18:00hrs. I got to  the  hostels  and  relaxed a  bit.Ana  picked me  up at  19:40hrs and we met  some  of  her  friends  at   a  local restaurant. Here  i interacted  with  individuals from different  organizations. We all shared about our organizations. It was a  gret day and i got  back to  the  hostel  at  23:25hrs.The  heat  here was unimaginable and had a  toll order on me since i felt  so  exhausted. This  day  was  successful as everything worked  as  per  the  plan.

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DAY 2:Site seeing around Palermo and 1st visit at CEIPES office.

All blog posts by willie

 

This was really interesting to me, The beautiful buildings with massive achirtectural art works around the city,the pople were friendly and  very nice.My two friends Krista and Uva were really helpful and wonderful tourguides,i was amazed by the way of life in Palermo,the market was tidy,organised and every vendor was marketing  his products.We walked  around  the  city and  took  some  photos.Among  the  places  i  got  to  visit  were  the port of Sicilly, a  local  park  and  several  churches. I  noticed  that there  were  several  churches in Palermo. These  churches  were massive  compared  to those in  Kenya.The  walk  around the  port  of  Sicily was really panoramic.I had  never  been  so  close  to  the sea  before! The  waters   were  abit  calm on  this day.After two  hours  of cite-seeing  we  headed to the  office at  CEIPES.

we arrived  at  the  office at  13:00hrs.Ana prepared some lunch and  we  all  had good meal  together.The meeting  begun at 14:00hrs.Ana  begun  by introducing  CEIPES.My presentation  of Kenya  Youth Foundation (KYF) begun  at 14:50.The interns  at  the  hosting  organization were  really  interested in knowing more  about my organization and  i was  glad  to  share.This meeting  ended at 15:30hrs after which  we  had some  interaction  together. I learnt that CEIPES has  four  other seats  in  different  countries!That  is,Turkey, Belgium,Portugal  and Hungary!This  branches  work  independently  but share the  same  mission.CEIPES intends  to hold meetings  in  the  future  to  foster  better coordination  in  the  future.We  left  the  office  at  16:00hrs  for  the  hostels  with  Uva. She ensured i got  to my hostels.

At 20:00hrs, Allesandro  picked  me  up  at  the  hostels  and we  headed  to  a  popular  restaurant. Ana  joined us a  short  while  later  and  we  had  dinner  together.

I  got  back  to  the  hostel at  21:20hrs.

Findings  for  this  day were:

There  was  so much  art  work  in  the  city  of  Palermo  and  one  could  really  spend  time  exploring  the  art  here.

The  people  were  aslo friendly but  the  language  barrier limited the  much  needed interaction.

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DAY 1:Arrival at Palermo, Italy

All blog posts by willie

 

This was a really joyful  and exciting  though quite tiresome day  because i had never travelled for that long in my life  before.i felt like was was sleep- deprived, tired and everything seemed quite unusuall to me.It took me some time to clear with the customs at the airport  then sooner before  I could start finding ataxi,Ana,Allesandro,Uva (CEIPES) and Tiziana met me,took my laguage and we headed straight to the hostel.Ana  and  Uva  helped me  to  get  my  luggage  to  my  room after which  we  left  for  dinner.Because it  was getting  late  and  still  struggling  with  the  jet  lag,they  took  me  back  to  the  hostel  since we  had  a  busy  schedule  from  the  next  day.Along  the  way, we dropped  Ana  at  her  place and  headed  to  my  hostel. Allesandro ensured  i  got  to my  room and  then  left.

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Celebrations of the International Day of Peace in Portugal by AMC - Concerto Casa da Juventude de Amarante -

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PINOY IN BARCELONA

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Some Stories and Reflections on the Jobshadowing Experience

(part 1)

 

Jobshadowing is something new for me, both as a concept and as an experience. These opportunities are very limited in my country, and partnerships with EU youth organizations are especially more difficult to find. While my organization, Gaston Zavalla Ortigas Peace Institute is a partner of the jobshadowing project with 9 other organizations from EU and non-EU countries, I had to google the traditional meaning of jobshadowing which is “a program for students to find out what it is like to be in a specific profession. This helps the student to choose the college program (higher education/training) and subsequently the profession that they would like to choose. However, the act of job shadowing is also utilized by college students or by non-student adults simply wanting to experience a particular career opportunity. In either, the shadower will follow the professional and observe their daily work” (Education 2020 Homeschool, Vocabular, Career Elective, ‘definition of job shadowing’).

 

Jobshadowing as defined in this project focuses not on the ‘career opportunity’ part but on the learning experience from other organizations and their programs and projects. With peacebuilding as the overarching theme along with specific MDGs on poverty and gender equality, the jobshadower is immersed in an intensive week-long work experience that baffles as much as it enlightens.

 

Hurdles Before the Shadowing

 

Through United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY) I now have this 'emergency' jobshadowing experience. The visa problems of our Philippine jobshadower to Romania proved to be a very difficult barrier. Debbie (our original jobshadower) had to apply for the Romanian visa twice, only to be informed that they lost her passport and would contact her as soon as they find it. The double whammy is that the jobshadowing project must end by October, which makes it virtually impossible for the Philippine partner (my organization Generation Peace-GZO Peace Institute) to send a jobshadower. 

 

Since my organization had been a UNOY partner for a couple of years now and I have been involved as an International Steering Group member as well, we were also offered this opportunity for a EYCB Study Session on Peacebuilding and Volunteering in Budapest. The Schengen Visa is a difficult hurdle, but since I will be taking part in the Budapest study session, I potentially have the opportunity to use the same visa for the jobshadowing experience, or no jobshadowing for the Philippines at all. Visa is very difficult for Philippine citizens entering Europe's Schengen states. As an example, I am supposed to apply for a Hungarian visa but without an embassy in Manila, the Belgian Embassy issues in representation of Hungary. I have to request for entry in Hungary from the Belgium visa section, and if approved with more days than the study session, will have the opportunity of going to Barcelona, Spain for the jobshadowing project. To make the long story short, the visa section handed my visa 3 hours before my flight that I also had to rebook my flight to a flight itinerary two hours later. 

 

Actually, I am supposed to have my visa 3 days earlier, which also means I arrived at Budapest 3 days later than expected--right smack into the middle of the study session week instead of a day before it. I really missed out a lot, but since Fundacio Catalunya Voluntaria (FCV) is also taking part in the study session along with the UNOY International Coordinator, but as a facilitator/co-organizer, I already had a glimpse of how their global networks, international workshops, and non-formal teaching approaches work. In a way, the study session is already part of my jobshadowing experience, particularly when I shared the current calls for an 'all-out war', the Mindanao conflict, and the history of the armed struggles in the Philippines. Since Lillian from UNOY also took part in the jobshadowing by visiting the Philippines, she was also able to share some of her experiences in Mindanao and the Philippines, and included some  essential examples in peacebuilding work (i.e. the chance to dialogue with MILF negotiators, the participation of women and youth as best practices during the study session, etc.).

 

 

Onward to Barcelona

 

I arrived on October 30th in Barcelona without much fanfare, after all the Budapest Study Session on Volunteering and Peacebuilding had just finished and it is such an enriching experience that I have yet to digest, reflect and meditate on how it impacts the way we work in the Philippine setting. The opportunity also allows me to see how the international linkages between the UNOY and the FCV as partners in an international training course work together. After flying from Budapest to Munich to Barcelona, I am very excited to see how EU youth organizations work, the work culture, and how they accomplish their personal and organizational goals. 

 

The Workshop

 

On October 31st, I had the chance to do a workshop discussion on the Philippine Peacebuilding experience with partners of the Fundacio Catalunya Voluntaria. Europe and the rest of the world, are not aware of the difficulties that we have to face in the Philippines vis-a-vis the armed conflicts and youth initiatives. It was a great experience sharing the organization's initiatives and the Mindanao conflict to a group composed of participants from Spain, Turkey and Colombia.

 

 

 

 It is a new thing for them to learn more about events happening in the Philippines such as the recent call for an all-out war in the country, and how people have been supportive of this call to arms! (96% of survey respondents showed that they support an all-out war policy instead of peace). Unfortunately, even Filipino youths have very limited knowledge and appreciation of peacebuilding efforts. It is also surprising to note that the Colombian participants connected well, and understood the impact of armed conflicts and the proliferation of weapons in the Philippines since Colombia also has these features. 

 

 

 

Tatiana, the jobshadower from Spain who was sent to Ghana, also presented her jobshadowing experience and her learnings from her first trip to Africa. I learned a lot not just from her sharing, but also cultural-wise from the work culture and processes of the foundation as well. I learned that project proposals are crucial to the work of the organizations. It was a very unlikely but fortunate time for me to be observing these hard working volunteers, part-time workers and permanent staff do their work--proposal writing and coordination with partner organizations from all over the world.

 

 

The Foundation

 

The work of the  Fundacio Catalunya Voluntaria seems very daunting. I could not have jobshadowed at a more busy time of the year. I learned that in the European setting that there are readily available modalities for youth participation and more importantly, access to resources from European states and its supra-national mechanisms. This also implies that there are funding and proposal cycles that are part of the life of youth organizations here. FCV is currently working on many of their proposals this week. With the Todos los Santos holiday, people at the office had been scurrying back and forth--writing, editing, discussing, albeit arguing on their different project proposals. Jobshadowing it is, for I have to become a "shadow" and observe as this happens. I find it amusing but at the same time energizing to absorb such a work culture, with each employee, part-time worker and volunteer being well-versed and knowing already what to do and how to accomplish it. Here's a photo of our evening at the office. We were only able to leave the office because the custodian came in and reminded us that he will close the building in 5 minutes! 

 

 

 

Funding Application European-Style

 

With two of the finished funding applications in hand, Meg and I had to travel halfway across the city to specifically hand in the application forms to the government agency responsible for reviewing it.It was the first time for me to take the Barcelona metro. You can see in the photo that Meg is carrying this thick folder full of documents for the project application process. I learned that there are regular project cycles in Europe, with these project terminologies being part of the youth organization's cultures and even calendars, since these funding cycles are done on regular schedules across Europe. Terminologies such as "Youth in Action", or specific numbers 3.1, 3.2, etc. are already part of organizational culture. The proposal cycles, the item numbers, the application forms have all been instituted and embedded on the culture of youth civil society organizations. The European mechanisms for participation, I would dare say, are methodical and process-wise very organized. The downside of these opportunities is that organizations become very limited in their approaches to resource mobilization, many of which become ‘project proposal chasers’ without knowing it. Alternatives to this type of organizational resource mobilization are sadly limited. What can one do but to submit a proposal and hope to get approved to sustain an organization for a month or so?

 

 

 I learned that while funding may be readily available for the youth organizations, the competition is stiff and it is very common for organizations to experience being turned down. However I also learned that FCV has a very high 'batting average' so to speak. We went to a Generalitat de Catalunya building where the offices are concerned with family and social welfare issues. Here I took a photo beside the signage which writes, "The New Catalonia National Youth Plan." 

 

I believe youth issues and agendas are well-built into the Catalunya Government's ideals. Access to the government is a right in a democracy, and while this is not yet realized in the Philippines, here it is a given reality.  

 

 

 

 

Organizational Visits

 

After setting policy visist meetings, Meg and I learned that most policy makers are unavailable due to the non-working All Saints’ Day. We still had the opportunity to meet with Manos Unidos, Escola de Cultura de Pau, the Philippine Embassy and to see the office of the Catalonian Youth Council. I said ‘see the office’ because apparently the office is closed during regular office hours and normally opens at 5 o’clock in the afternoon since that is the time when most students and youth leaders are available. I can say that the office was very youth-oriented with their schedule as well as the ambience of the place which was very relaxed, cheerfully colorful and informal.

 

I learned that Manos Unidos works in around 60 countries worldwide and that they have also projects in the Philippines particularly in Bicol and through their partnership with Fr. Angel Calvo who is a peace advocate based in the Zamboanga Peninsula area. Manos works in two ways: 1) ‘Sensitivizing’ (which I think is conscienticization) Spanish youth with the issues that confront the rest of the world; and 2) provide support through grants and aids for the global south. The main work revolves around the themes of education, health, agriculture, women and socio-cultural promotion. Interestingly, I found out that its main driving force is the Catholic church through the church leadership. While funding is mainly privately mobilized, there are also some 20% coming from government funding. When I asked the Presidenta Delegada whether youth are a priority, she said commented that “Youth work is a priority because understanding and collaborating with youth is challenging.” Organizationally, I eventually would like to explore possible partnerships with Manos Unidos in the future, given the need for more intercultural and interreligious understanding in the armed conflicts in Mindanao.

The Escola de Cultura de Pau visit was very fascinating for me because I had to go there by myself and that the Universitat Autonoma where the research-advocacy center is based is outside the city limits. This was my only chance to go outside Barcelona and to commute by myself. Thanks to technologies that enable us to do our work far more easier than the generation before us, the Google Maps were accurate in the directions and the time estimates. I had a 7-minute walk towards the Parc de Recerca building where I was greeted by the very animated Jordi Urgell Garcia, a passionate investigador (which means a researcher and not a criminal investigator as I initially thought) who leads the conflict and peacebuilding programme in the Escola. We discussed about the Philippine Peacebuilding experience and I learned that he also travelled to the Philippines and did some research in Mindanao. We talked about his views about the Mindanao conflict, his meetings and interviews with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, civil society organizations in Mindanao and in Manila. I was also able to update him regarding the recent Basilan crisis in the Philippines, where 19 soldiers were killed and the escalating call from media and political leaders for an ‘all-out war’ call before I left Manila a week before. I was glad to share the thoughts of a kindred peace activist but also reflected upon the dearth of peace researchers in the country. He shared publications on comparative analysis of peace processes around the world, a global conflict map and other interesting publications that will help in our advocacy and peacebuilding work back home.

 

The visit to the consulate of the Philippines was also heartwarming since they were, well, Filipinos and had that homey and hospitable manner of greetings and sharing of stories. Meg and I were able to talk to the consul general and he said that Filipinos are largely not troublemakers in Barcelona, have adapted well to the local culture and are known by their foreign employers to be one of the most hardworking people the world over.

It is a reality that Filipinos have become the proletariats of the world, working in the most humbling of jobs. We lack opportunities back home—decent jobs, decent salaries, social security benefits—but are known to be productive and purposive with our strive for excellence in other countries. I think the Philippine diaspora enriches not just the economic ‘refugees’ so to speak, but at the same time provides for their families back home. It is not an ideal setup: leaving and sacrificing the tightly-knit large family networks for greener pastures, but a reality that the Filipino has to contend with.

 

One dances with the wind, and flows with the rivers in order to survive and thrive. I am also concerned with the Filipino culture and how each Pinoy promotes it outside his/her country. Since we are easily adaptable to whatever environment we are in, we are natural polyglots and assimilate other cultures smoothly. On the other hand, Filipino culture even the superficialities of food, clothing, way of living are not that easily spotted as compared to Chinese, Pakistani, Japanese, etc. expatriates.

 

I think the Filipinos in Barcelona can do so much more to promote national pride and Pinoy culture in more creative ways. Concurrently, it is not in the ‘leaving behind’ but in the ‘coming back’ that the Philippines is enhanced. If one can dream in Barcelona, then one can also dream in the home country. If rights are respected elsewhere, if the rule of law and democratic principles of governance can be followed in a foreign land, then one can also dream the same back home. Ultimately, Filipino travelers juxtapose foreign lands and the Philippines in their hearts and minds; and in doing so, will eventually realize the reforms needed for a country’s revival.

 

 


 

PINOY IN BARCELONA:

Some Stories and Reflections on the Jobshadowing Experience

(part 2 on Poverty and Gender Equality, Culture)

 

The jobshadowing is primarily looking into inspiration from the host organizations and their realities but on top of this having the jobshadowing in Barcelona is also an intercultural learning experience. For one, I have seen that while Spain suffers from one of the highest unemployment rate in the whole of Europe there are still ways to access support from the government if you are (un)fortunately fired from work, for example.

Poverty

As in any other country, whether developed or developing, there are always packets of third world like bums in the streets, people with cardboard boxes for beds and people in conflict with the law or what we appropriately call ‘common’ criminals. Surprisingly, Barcelona also has these features although it is not a prominent feature of the society nor an intense local issue.

The huge difference with the Philippines and Spain is that the social welfare system works at a greater pace because people know the ways to participate and access governance structures, people do mobilize and are involved in organizations that in turn access resources or opportunities from the Catalonia Government, the National Government or the supra-national European Union mechanisms if needed.

The city also boasts of a fervent economic activity. For one there is a very dynamic tourism industry here and tourism’s upside is that it brings jobs, opportunities and business opportunities for locals as well as migrant communities. I have seen that Chinese, African and Pakistani migrants have been a prominent feature of the businesses in the streets—cafes, groceries, restaurants, tourist shops, etc. While most of the migrants have moved out of their countries in poverty, their dreams of prosperity and equal opportunity are somewhat fulfilled in Barcelona. Although one can say that these migrant communities, even the Filipino community itself, are still seen as different.

Migrant communities can also be seen by local Catalans as those that rob locals of work opportunities. I have talked to a migrant Pakistani who worked here for more than 8 years and he said that ‘Beggars cannot be choosers, we are in a different land so we do not choose what jobs to have, but we strive to be successful to send money back home.’

The migrant community might pose a threat to some but at the same time, migrants provide cultural dynamism that continually challenge and enrich the Catalan culture. New ideas and new food finds, new ways of doing things are just some of the benefits of having a diverse culture. In fact cultural evolution is possible when an anti-thesis to the culture exists. It can be a win-win situation, for the locals an enriched culture and creative ideas from halfway across the globe, for the migrants, a practical way or a one-way ticket out of poverty back home.

Gender Equality

I was suprised that jobs which are commonly ‘male’ jobs back home are also genderized in Barcelona. As an example, women drivers are common in buses, taxis and delivery trucks. At the same time, women are also prominent in youth organizations. FCV has women in its leadership staff as well as its volunteer program. The organization we visited such as the Manos Unidos are also equal opportunity organizations.

I have shared with some people that our problems in the Philippines can seem very elementary compared to the issues in Barcelona. In the Philippines, the church has such a hold in political affairs and public policy that a very logical and practical approach at reproductive health is met with brimstone and hellfire. It would be very interesting to look closer at the gender isues in Barcelona but for the lack of time or key informants on the matter, I was not able to probe deeper on the gender issues in the area.

 

Culture

Barcelona has a very rich and diverse culture. It is a coastal city with ports already spanning centuries, near the border of France up north, faces the Mediterranean Sea and a historic city at the same time. The city is influenced by many different cultures and histories overlapping and connecting, confronting and challenging each other. It is this confluence of factors that enriched the present-day culture of the area. It is a city that is both laid back and at the same time on ‘work mode’.

Siesta anyone? I have not seen someone dozing off at work, but I personally witnessed that the lunch and coffee breaks take a lot of time. An hour of break can be considered as a blasphemous act against siesta, but kidding aside, people love food and beverages here. Discussions and debates, and work-related issues are often discussed during these long breaks as well. This is resting and relaxing while at the same time being productively and genuinely contented with life. FCV as an organization alternates between these days with long breaks or days without any breaks at all!

I always say that the best things in life are to find great food, and I can say that I have come to the right place. I have tasted the most unforgettable paella in my life here, I have also sampled the tapas in its infinite combinations. There are also halal and vegetarian options here, attesting to the dynamism of cultural influences from elsewhere. As a self-confessed intermittent alcohol and caffeine junkie, I enjoyed the breadth and depth of choices when it comes to coffees and cafes as well as with cervezas and wines.

The Catalonian Pride

Catalonia’s sense of national pride is something to feel and experience. Catalan as a language is strongly encouraged as a national policy. Free Catalan lessons are provided by the government, it is also the primary medium of instruction for the 8 or so universities within and around Barcelona. I think the Catalan national pride is also single-mindedly built in through football, afterall FC Barcelona has many of the finest players the world has ever known. The Philippine connection here is that the player that holds the FC Barcelona’s record for the most number of goals, and is known as “El Rompe Redes” (lit. net breaker) is Paulino Alcantara of a Filipino-Spanish origin.  Beyond football, they Catalonians have identity anchors in their culture, language, history and traditions. While we have these in the Philippines as well, we have it in segmented or even irreconcilable in some ways.

I am also very fortunate to being homestayed while jobshadowing, in a way I had a glimpse of the touristy as well as the more locally-grounded experiences.  Take the taberna experience for example; they have these after-office restobars that only serve drinks and aperitifs, the tradition is to go taberna-hopping for these aperitifs. This gives you enough opportunity to sample a multitude of food served on toothpicks. It is interesting that when you start paying, they count the toothpicks instead of the type of foods you ordered. Far more interesting is this is not dinner yet! For me though, and after a mouthful of bread-sausage-cheese combinations, it already is.

Transportation Options

Barcelona has very efficient transportation with lines of trams, trains, metros and buses thrown into a gigantic weave crisscrossing through the city, connecting the heart and the districts through these numerous veins. I wish I could say the same thing for travelling around Metro Manila, where transport options are limited and patternless. The city is also a bike-friendly city, they have this bike program for residents where you can take a bike from one of the many bike stations, travel across the city and leave the bike in another bike station. There are bike lanes across the city and even with these options, I have seen numerous people travelling by skateboards or inline skates as well. Walking of course is a popular European travelling option, something that many Filipinos have already forgotten. Perhaps it is the crime rates that deter people from walking around Manila that much, or maybe the drivers’ irreverence for traffic rules, or the tropical heat.

That Meatshop

In the Philippines, most office workers would be rushing home by 5 or 6 o’clock in the evening. I am fascinated that in Barcelona, the streets become alive starting at 8:00 until midnight. For this night though, I am skipping the usual touristy and populated areas of La Rambla and Plaza Catalunya. I met Meg at the wharf where hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes lay peacefully dancing with the mild waves of the dock. We took a 3-minute walk through a dark and stuffy alley and there found a tiny decrepit building about 50 meters from the Palau del Mar. My initial feeling is one of outdated-ness, if there is such a thing. In the middle of the darkness we stepped through a smoky wooden door and were greeted with warmth and vigor. The door itself is ferrous and smelled of iron. Inside were 80 or so people squeezed into a meat shop of sorts, with lots of champagnes and wines from across the bar and iron hooks with different meats and sausages hanging on all possible places over the ceiling. I learned that during the day this place is a wholesale meat store selling sausages, smoked pork and beef among other things, at night it morphs into a locals’ pub where one can order sausages, cheeses, wines and breads.

It was an extraordinary sight to behold, one that really made my day—an old historic building making sense of its present and a meat shop with its new found after dark role as a space to connect and discuss, with people getting livelier and more people coming in for a drink or two. In this meaty midst, two friends debrief each other about the day’s work.

 

 


 

PINOY IN BARCELONA:

Some Stories and Reflections on the Jobshadowing Experience

(Part 3 Afterthoughts)

 

 

The jobshadowing project is different with the usual networking and it is also different from the usual volunteering and internship programs. Through this project one views a glimpse of how peacebuilding work is done elsewhere, whether there are similarities and differences and if there are innovative or noteworthy way of doing things. To sum it up, my jobshadowing experience draws inspiration from the FCV as both a volunteer organization and a peacebuilding initiative.

After the whirlwind week shadowing with the organization and with Meg, I felt exhausted but at the same time inspired to go back and work on changes with my organization that may be beneficial in the long run. I have joked around that I am actually in a reality TV called ‘A Week in the Life of Meg’ since most of my interactions with the organization were through her. She really does have a very exhausting week during my stay in Barcelona.

I have also felt like an alien, even alienated being in Barcelona and making sense of everything from the organizational structures and mechanisms of FCV, to opening doors, buying train tickets or even just saying ‘Can I have my receipt?’ The analogy of the learning curve is that it is too steep, like that of a fish learning to live on land. Seeing the differences between how my organization operates and an EU-based organization presents a stark contrast in terms of opportunities available, rights affirmed and even resources accessible to the respective organizations. I felt disenchanted at times during the jobshadowing, a throbbing thought asking me: ‘So why are you here when most of the things you see and experience cannot be replicated or would be very difficult in a Philippine context?’ One can dig deeper and look for universal truths, parallelisms and powerful ideas that can be empowering rather than disempowering as I go back to the realities on the ground. With these in mind, I am going back with fresh eyes and a zealous heart as I immerse myself again to peace building and advocacy work back home.

The experience of learning from another organization from close-range actually helps reaffirm the values and principles that I have held dearly. First, that the development of the personal must be linked to a higher collective purpose. EU states have put great emphasis on education and a culture of learning and this must serve in purposively empowering people and communities. Secondly, that the pursuit of peace is a continuous struggle that does not end when a state is already free from armed conflicts. I have seen it firsthand in Spain where issues and arenas of struggles have evolved, but does not mean that structures of violence are dissipated in the process. Humanity must continually strive to help itself and it is upon its members’ contributions, sacrifices and ideas that it is continually shaped. Thirdly, that organizations can only be as powerful or as effective as its members and the collaborative environment with which it takes root. Empowering the youth therefore empowers not just the youth movement. The cultural and social contexts of our youth movements shape us as much as we strive to reform or even revolutionize them.

Organizational Learnings

Creativity in Resource Mobilization

I do not think that the problems of the world as we know it now will dissipate into thin air in just a moment. We are faced with pressures mounting up from all sides and the crises that we have now will be a prominent feature within our generation, maybe even generations to come. Organizationally, funding as a problem is already a global feature. Most funding institutions have cut back on funding, or have diversified in the fields that resources are allocated to. Youth organizations from the Philippines to Spain grapple with the same question of how to effectively reach broader audiences with the ever-shrinking budget. Sustainability of efforts becomes our ‘trial by fire’. Given this reality, we need all the help we can get, not just in thinking outside the box but even rethinking and unthinking the box itself. Crowdsourcing or Crowdfunding may be something to look into vis-a-vis this issue.

Another problem with resource mobilization is the tendency to gasp for air only in between funding cycles and deadlines. Most EU youth organizations enjoy this steady stream of funding, which is shrinking or limited but concurrently regular and perennial. If we are not cautious, this can be detrimental to our approaches and frameworks of action for this can breed dependency and more alarmingly, becoming mere ‘fund chasers’ or  ‘proposal writing dead beats’ having paid attention to the greatest of details but foregoing the bigger, beautiful picture of why we are doing these in the first place. It is a difficult balancing act of ensuring personal and organizational survival at a time where our problems are converging and shrinking global spaces.

Funding guidelines keep our work compartmentalized when the solutions to the problems we face need to be holistic. As an example, youth peace organizations working in direct peace efforts in areas with armed conflicts may opt to apply for a funding opportunity for climate change or human trafficking. While these can be situations of structural violence, the essential roles of the organization may be sidetracked to take these issues into consideration; if only to gain some funding at the very least.

Catalysts for Unity and Peace

I have seen how wildly enchanting football is for Barcelona. In the Philippines, we need catalysts for unity and peace. We must define and create social constructs that define our diversity but at the same time enables us to see that we are one in peace. This idea is something that I still have to ponder and discuss with groups: What are ideas or phenomena that can bind the Philippine citizens, be they Moros, Indigenous Peoples or Christians?  One needs to understand that the nation-building process in the country is still in its kindergarten state. These may be superficial constructs but can initially provide an anchor for the elusive Philippine identity and the arguable definition of a Philippine national identity.

Moral Imagination that our initiatives are Linked

Equally important in the jobshadowing project, is appreciating the different modest and grand youth initiatives that attempt to combat structures of violence. It may not be that apparent at times, and may be difficult to fence in a defined boundary but understanding the linkages of the global to the local, the political to the socio-cultural helps us see the intricacies of our peace building work. I am surprised that most people still do not see the peace framework as a holistic way of dreaming a society beyond war itself. The peacebuilding framework provides us with a peg for our rights-based approaches as well as our social justice ideals from the most basic and personal to the developmental and collective.

Humanizing our Work Culture Detrivializes Peace

Oftentimes, peacebuilding work is trivialized as the hippy movement’s anti-war call. Peace is seen as something for the naive and/or the egotistical, that it is just being creative without creating something new. Peace outcomes are difficult to measure. Metrics for peace projects are more abstract and its added values to a society or a person are more fluid, especially when viewed from the outside of the peace movements. Simultaneously, from within peace advocate circles peace building work can be stressful and highly technical. The learning curve is steep and at the same time not easily appreciated nor understood by the broader constituencies. When talking about the peace processes in the Philippines one can have the tendency of either being too trivial: presenting creative posters, essays of youth about peace, peace day celebrations, even hugs for peace—or deadly technical: discussing the different mechanisms of a ceasefire mechanisms, the dizzying map of peace process stakeholders from the local to the international, the controversial provision of a draft proposal, the historic precedence of the armed conflict, etc. Penultimately, peacebuilding in the context of internal armed conflicts must be felt by the people affected by the violence. It is the grassroots communities, the human rights victims, the mothers and the children that were robbed of their past and future that must benefit from everything. It is by humanizing our work that can detrivialize peace. It is in putting a human face to the tragedy or the triumph that matters. In fact, for the overworked and underpaid peace workers, it is also in finding the humanized connections—the laughters, frustrations, disenchantment and rediscoveries that are shared—that will matter if we are to work for peace in the long haul.

As Albert Einstein once said, “The problems that we face cannot be solved by the same minds that created them.”We are faced with tasks so daunting that the challenges cannot even be defined as a single phenomenon, but apparently if there is an assuring aspect of the realities that we face; it is that these are also opportunities for change.

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International Day of Peace – UNOY Peacebuilders celebrations

All blog posts by barbaraamaral

 

The International Day of Peace that is celebrated on September 21 is already one special occasion for celebration activities within the work of UNOY Peacebuilders. This year, moreover, the celebrations were even more special, due to the Learning by doing, doing by seeing (Jobshadowing) Project that UNOY Peacebuilders is involved in. The activities of the International Day of Peace are one of the activities planned within the Jobshadowing Project.

On 18 September 2011, the municipality of The Hague organized The Hague International Day, as part of the celebrations of The Hague’s International Day of peace. Some international organizations, European institutions and NGOs, mostly based in The Hague presented their work to the public. UNOY Peacebuilders had its spot in the fair and used this space to share information with the public about the work that is developed by our network, as well as to promote the other activities planned for the International Day of Peace.

Other activity organized by UNOY Peacebuilders during the weeklong celebrations was the workshop on youth work and peacebuilding. It taught the participants how to develop their own peace-project. The workshop was led by Janneke Francissen from Platform Spartak, a voluntary association that supports young active Europeans in organizing cultural, social and intellectual project, aiming to strengthen the bond between Eastern and Western Europe by bringing together those young Europeans.

A second workshop took place at the American Book Center in The Hague, facilitated by UNOY in collaboration with the Keihan Foundation. Young people with different backgrounds, interested in youth work towards peace were able to learn more about the conflicts in Afghanistan, focusing on how different stakeholders were dealing with the current situation in the country.

From September 14 to 27, in the framework of this Jobshadowing Project, we also received the visit of Messeh Kamara, a young representative from our member organization Young Leaders from Sierra Leone. As a part of the exchange of practices on project implementation, he gave a presentation on “Case studies and testimonies from Sierra Leone on ending war and promoting lasting peace”.

At the end of the week, the role of youth in democratic transitions was discussed on a debate on “youth participation in democratic transitions” at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS). The panel, composed of Hilton Nyamukapa – MA Development Studies student at the ISS, Fatma Wakil - member of Afghan Youth Foundation (Keihan) and Yassine Boussaid – Dutch-Moroccan cultural entrepreneur, focused in the Arab spring.

UNOY Peacebuilders celebrations for the International Day of Peace were also artistically inspired.  At the Café Quirky in The Hague, the week was concluded with the event “Jam for Peace!”. It counted with the presentation of the bands 100 WATT, Biba and Lukas, The Soul Sister Dance Revolution and the Odd Establishment to rock the night of 120 people, who attended the concerts. Moreover, peace flowers and poems were handed out to the audience at the end. 

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International Day of Peace and Jobshadowing promotion

All blog posts by iulia

PATRIR Peace Stand

 

 

Peace Messages

 

Evening Ideas Cafe: Jobshadowing Presentation and discussions in a relaxed atmosphere

Followed by a piano recital...

 

And ligthing candles for Peace

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Young Leaders Summary Report of the Jobshadowing Project in Sierra Leone

All blog posts by sesay

 

Young Leaders of Sierra Leone (YLSL)

Summary Report of the Jobshadow project in

Freetown-Sierra Leone 

The Young Leaders of Sierra Leone is delighted to have had the opportunity to participate and contribute to the jobshadow project and hosting a youth leader from another organization in Romania to shear her experience with us in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

 

From the April 24thto 30th, 2011, YLSL hosted Ms. Iulia Socea, a youth Leader from Romania to the beautiful city of Freetown.

Ms. Socea who is the Training Coordinator of The Peace Action Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR)arrived at the Lungi International Airport in Sierra Leone on Easter Sunday, 24thApril 2011.

Ms. Socea was received at the airport in Lungi by YLSL, District Coordinator, Hassan Sesay who facilitated her arrival and immigration checks. She was boarded on a local ferry which took her to the capital city (Freetown) where she was finally received by senior executive members of YSL who took her to the Guest House.

The Following day, Ms. Socea met with YLSL Coordinating team and was taken to visit Mrs. Fatu Kanja Sesay, formerly the Commissioner for Democracy and Goodwill Ambassador for young people in Sierra Leone. Ms. Socea was briefed on the progress made by young people in promoting lasting peace in Sierra Leone.

After the meeting with Mrs. Sesay, Ms. Socea was taken for a tour to the   Lumley Beach, which is a popular destination for tourists. As it was festive season in Sierra Leone, Ms. Socea was among the thousands of people who had also visited the beach, to celebrate Easter with their friends and families.

 

On Tuesday 26thApril 2011, YLSL and Ms. Socea facilitated a training workshop on Human Rights Advocacy and Peace Building for a community based group, called ‘Sabi U, a krio word for ‘Know Your Rights’ Rights Advocacy Group based in the outskirt of Freetown in Waterloo Village in the Western Area Rural district of Sierra Leone.

‘Sabi U’Rights Advocacy Group is one of local initiatives supported by YLSL.  And over the past few years, YLSL    has provided capacity building training for community youth groups including Sabi U Rights who has been a long term partner.

The trainers for the workshop were Lansana Hassan Sowa of YLSL Ms. Iulia Elena Socea of PATRIR and Mr. Bockarie Marrah of United Nations Peace Building Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL). Mr. Sowa did a session on the Introduction to Human Right and the Basic Concept of Human Rights. Ms. Socea did a session on Conflict and Peace Building. Mr. Marrah did a session on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. The sessions were completely interactive as participants were allowed to give their views and feedbacks throughout and recorded positive feedback after the training session.

 

 On Wednesday 27thApril 2011, Sierra Leone marked its 50thIndependence Anniversary and a number of symbolic activities were outlined for that day. Ms. Iulia Socea and YLSL members were invited and given a VIP Pass by both the Hon. Dr. Algassimu Jah, Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports and, Mr. Antony Navo, the Sierra Leone Youth Ambassador to witness the official celebration held at the National Stadium in Freetown.

 

At the VIP and Presidential Stand of the National Stadium, Ms. Socea and the YLSL team were seated on the front pavilion together with the former Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Dr. Alpha Wurie. They were also flanked by some prominent Sierra Leone’s musical superstars and other local celebrities.

 Ms. Socea also had the opportunity of being in the midst of the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, who was also in attendance at the Presidential Stand of the National Stadium to officially declare the independence celebration open. Following the launch of the Independence Day, Ms Socea and YLSL team also had a brief meeting with Mr. Anthony Navo, the Sierra Leone Youth Ambassador.

 On Friday 29thApril, Ms. Socea and YLSL members had a policy meeting at the Parliament House in Freetown, with the Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Youth and Sport, Hon. Nuru Deen, and Hon. Cherinor Bah, Committee member, together with a host of parliamentarians in attendance.

The meeting highlighted challenges faced by the youth of Sierra Leone as social actors for change , and like other developing country, Sierra Leone has majority of its population young people, most of whom are in dare need of adequate solution to their problems.

 

Hon. Nuru Deen, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Youth and Sport stated that, the government of Sierra Leone was committed to addressing these issues affecting the young people of Sierra Leone through the formation of the National Youth Commission, which provides the youth with the opportunities to be an active partner in nation building through youth programs and projects that would develop and harness their potential, and enable them to be of great service to their country and community.

Saturday 30thApril 2011 was a day for sightseeing around Freetown and also doing some shopping. Later in the evening, YLSL team and Ms Socea had a reflection meeting to discussion the entire period of her visit. The feedbacks from the meeting were positive and both parties acknowledged the importance of the Jobshadow project, and the need for future collaborations in promoting peace.

 

Ms Socea left the shores of Sierra Leone on Sunday, 1st May, 2011. A Special photo shot was organized for Ms Socea with children around Wilberforce where she was staying throughout her visit. The team later saw her off on the ferry to the Airport in Lungi.

 

To mark the international day of Peace, the Young Leaders of Sierra Leone (YLSL) hosted a One Day Symposium on the theme: Politics and Peace Building in Sierra Leone---The Role and Impact of Young People, was held at Santanno House in Freetown on Wednesday 21stSeptember 2011:

 

The brought together a panel of distinguished guests to talk about key issues relating to Peace, youth development and empowerment.

The general objective of the event was to help change the mindset of young people from the negative mentality and youth uprising, as the country heads to the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections, in post war Sierra Leone.   

Dr. Alhaji Mohamed Warisay, Director of Democracy Sierra Leone who was keynote speaker at the meeting spoke about Youth and Politics in Sierra Leone.

 

Dr. Warisay stated that, in most African countries youth made up more than 50 percent of the entire population. Behind such big numbers lies a lot of power and influence in determining the political direction of the country.  Unfortunately young people have been used as political tools by politicians for their own personal political goals. He said that in many parts of Africa, much of the setbacks to a smooth democratic process are caused by violent outbursts by youth from the warring political parties. The irony here is that they always claim to be fighting in the name of democracy.


Dr. Warisay further stated that, these young people are pawns in a larger political game, often fighting on behalf of their political 'godfathers'. However when they get into office, these young people are forgotten until their services are needed during the next election.

He noted that the country was still run by people from a couple of generations back. He said there was nothing wrong with that if these same people were nurturing young people to take over from them. It should be noted that politicians not only stifle young people's political growth, they also use them for all the wrong reasons. Mr. Warisay challenged participant to tell him what it means when we say that 'youth are leaders of tomorrow'. This mantra has been repeated very often but seems to bear no fruit he added.

Dr. Warisay preferred the phrase to be stated thus: 'youth are leaders of tomorrow but tomorrow never comes'.   He added that: ‘Our 'old guard' were not interested in leaving office unless they are forced out’. He objected to any form of violence, and stated that there has to be a peaceful way of asserting ourselves on the political systems, as that would put pressure on the political leaders into recognizing the power and influence of the youth vote.  He advised that the most effective way of achieving that would have to be a consistent and regular engagement in the political process, with a clear understanding of what we needed to see as change.

 

Participants also buttressed Mr. Warisay’s assertion and accepted that the millions of young people could use their numbers, power and influence to positively steer the country's political and economic processes. It was noted that such a change requires a 'new blood' to take over from the existing leadership. And that the best way to achieve that was to support candidates who represented the youth demographic and speak to their issues.

Bamine C. Boye,a young Sierra Leonean political activist from the University of California stated that young people should stop relying on political 'godfathers' who in most cases exploited young people and instead of nurturing them. He said that, in the U.S, hope and change were the themes of Barack Obama’s campaign, and that half of the youth aged 8 – 18 (49%) were excited about Obama’s election.

Member of Parliament, Hon.  Nuru Deen called upon young people to strive to set up various community organizations. “This is the right time for youth to participate in current politics as they are the backbone to any economy’’, he said. He called on the youth to take up their responsibility to apply everything they learn practically and contribute to develop the country’s development.  

Hon. Nurudeen disclosed that a number of candidates with a criminal past are entering politics and winning elections. He encouraged youth to be mindful of their needs before they cast their vote.

                                             

In his address, Musa Ansumana, a renowned Peace and Human Rights Activist said youth can be good partners in governance by turning ideas into action. “For youth to contribute to enjoyment of human rights and establishment of world peace, we must provide necessary means for educating youth in both practical skills and moral values. It should promote social and economic progress and justice,” he added.

Musa called on participants to take active part in rebuilding the country while creating awareness among other people.

 

Conclusion:

The Sierra Leone Youth Ambassador, Anthony Navo and other youth leaders were also present and made statements, in support of youth empowerment.

YLSL isalso pleased to express thanks and appreciation to the youth leader who visited Sierra Leone, Ms. Iulia Socea from The Peace Action Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR).

YSL indebted to theUnited Network of Young Peace Builders (UNOY)   for the support the opportunity presented on the job shadow project.  Special thanks, also to the donors of the project (European Union Youth in Action Project)   

FOLLOW-UP:

  • In promoting the Jobshadow project, YLSL printed brochures that were distributed to over 200 individuals and organizations in Freetown.  
  • As a follow-up to the policy meeting, YLSL made a presentation of T-shirt and a brochure containing information relating to the Jobshadow project to Hon. Nurudeen Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Youth and Sports and the Secretary of State office of the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

 

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Photos from the outreach event: Africa Days PATRIR

All blog posts by iulia

 

Movie evening organised on the occasion of Africa Days. On this occasion we featured the video from Sierra Leone and also discussed on the global connections between all the continents.

 

The guests at the Africa Days Movie projections had as guests PATRIR staff and collaborators, as well as teachers and students.

 

The poster of the events organised on the ocassion of Africa Days, featuring

  1. African Masks exhibit, between the 23-27 of May and discussions about the Job Shadowing Project with the visitors of the Exhibit;
  2. Movie projection and debates on the global interconnectedness and Africa's challenges, on the 23rd of May;
  3. African Stories Evening, on the 24th and the 25th of May.

African Masks Exhibit

 

Public at the African Masks Exhibit

 

African Stories Evening

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