GNRC Africa strengthens its quest to involve children and young people in peacebuilding
The Global Network of Religions for Children, GNRC Africa introduced the Great Lakes Zone Young Peace Builders Network (GYOPEN) on 6th January, 2006 at UNICEF in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The introduction of GYOPEN was marked by a debate on the theme ‘Conflicts: Are They Avoidable’ organized by the young persons, drawn from various Peace Clubs in Dar Salaam, Tanzania, and operating under the aegis of the GNRC Africa’s run Education for Peace Programme.
In his opening remarks, the Auxiliary Bishop of Dar es Salaam, Bishop Dr. Method Kilaini appreciated the role taken by young persons to organize a dialogue on the most significant issue for the region – ‘Conflicts’. He stressed that children and young persons in Tanzania were obliged to educate their counterparts in the Great Lakes Region on peacebuilding and developing a culture of peace. Bishop Kilaini thanked the youth, and asked them to work even harder to learn and live by the highest ethical standards to set examples to their peers. Bishop Kilaini is a member of the Committee of the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children.
During the unveiling of the GYOPEN, one of the Peace Club Leaders who has been appointed as a member to the Geneva based Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children, Emanuel Mathias Nhumba, was introduced to the participants and members of the press in Tanzania. Emanuel Mathias joins other members of the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education as a representative for children and young persons.
Having realized that young people in the region barely participate in peacebuilding and conflict transformation efforts, yet majority of combatants in the conflicts comprise of young men, women and children, GNRC Africa through the Education for Peace Programme is spearheading campaigns to ensure that peace is promoted and built in Africa. During the closing of the debate of the GYOPEN, Sr. Jean Pruitt reminded the young people of their moral responsibility to the society to be ethical, peaceful and respectful particularly to the elders and women.
The Great Lakes Zone Young Peace Builders Network (GYOPEN) is a network of young people, Peace Clubs, and youth organizations active in peacebuilding and working among conflicts and post-conflicts regions in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. It is among GNRC Africa Initiatives of peacebuilding programme based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. GYOPEN will be comprised of members from Great Lakes Regions within Africa. These are Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo. The Network will be coordinated from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The objective of the Network is to promote peace education among children and youth through dialogue, seminars and training so as to have a sustainable peace in the Great Lakes Region. Through a website, children and youth from Great Lakes Regions have been able to share their experiences of peace and conflicts.