Author Archives: Mambou

ACHALEKE CHRISTIAN LEKE WINNER OF THE LUXEMBOURG PEACE PRIZE AWARD 2018.

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ACHALEKE CHRISTIAN LEKE WINNER OF THE LUXEMBOURG PEACE PRIZE AWARD 2018.

On Friday the 22nd of June 2018, Mr Achaleke Christian Leke, National Coordinator of Local Youth Corner Cameroon and Pan- Commonwealth Coordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network was honoured to be the recipient of the Luxembourg Peace Prize Award by the Schengen Peace Foundation and the World Peace Forum. The award is a recognition of his preeminent efforts and initiatives to promote peace and community development. This award was given during a ceremony that took place at the Robert Schuman Building in Luxembourg bringing together professionals and experts in this domain.


Achaleke Christian Leke is a young development, civil society activist, University lecturer and a youth expert on peace building and counter violent extremism. With over 12 years of experience, he has dedicated a considerable part of his life in the promotion of peace. Drawing from his experiences while growing up in Fiango-Kumba, a neighbourhood plagued with violence in the South West Region of Cameroon, he developed a niche to be better and to use the circumstances that plagued that community as an inspiration to advocate for peace and reduce violent extremism. His efforts in peace building earned him the 2016 Commonwealth Young Person of the year award and he used this platform to champion the adoption and implementation of UNSCR 2250. As a young person, he strives to shape the role of young people in the process of development and sustainable peace.

 
This award comes at a time in Cameroon when the country is struck by a lot of violence and radicalisation. It equally comes at a time of rebirth of many young peace builders in Cameroon whose efforts towards restoring peace in the country can only be recognised by one of theirs. Mr Achaleke is a national symbol of inspiration and was awarded Cameroon’s Young Person of the year 2016. His award as Luxembourg Peace Prize winner 2018 is demonstration of continuous dedication and stands as a glimmer of hope to the youths and to the Cameroonian society at large. He carries on by saying ‘‘If we all long for peace then we need to let love lead, we must grow our humanity, we must uphold justice, equity, fairness and the rule of law’’. He continues his advocacy at a National level as National Coordinator of Local Youth Corner where he is presently executing The Creative Skills for Peace Project which targets effectively rehabilitating and reintegrating 300 young violent offenders and juveniles directly and 5000 indirectly within the Prison and juvenile facilities. This award inspires him to work twice as hard for an entire generation looks up to him in the domain of peace building.

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Loyoc’s Efforts Towards a More Secure and Peaceful Future: A featured article by the Commonwealth in the last CHOGM.

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Local Youth Corner Cameroon (LOYOC) is a national, nongovernmental, non-profit making, youth-centred civil society organisation working with young people between the ages of 15 and 35. The organisation formed as a response to the increased frustration, alienation, socio-political and economic challenges of the Cameroonian youth, who find themselves at the crossroads of making wrong decisions and breaking the rules as a means of survival.

One of their most recent and most impactful peacebuilding, de-radicalisation, youth empowerment and preventing violent extremism projects include “Empowering Youth Civil Society Actors as Agents of Rehabilitation and Reintegration (R-R) of people with a History of or Propensity to Violence in Cameroon” with an aim of building the skills and capacity of youth civil society activists as well as frontline practitioners and engage them as actors in promoting rehabilitation and reintegration of young people. This project focuses on the rehabilitation and reintegration perspective of preventing and countering violent extremism in Cameroon. Through the project 30 youth peace, Civil Society Activist and 10 frontlines practitioners (prison authorities and directors of correctional/juvenile centres) from the 10 regions of the country where trained on preventing violent extremism, and rehabilitation of violent and extremist violent offenders.

RR network members meeting

They designed the first ever “Action Agenda” on Engaging Youth Civil Society in Rehabilitation And Reintegration Of Violent Offenders In Cameroon, which outlined policy recommendation and expectation of youths on the role of government, entrepreneurs, international organisations and donors in Rehabilitation and reintegration. LOYOC published a youth-led evidence-based research document – “Youth Positive Practice Memoire on Rehabilitation and Reintegration: Transforming Violent Offenders into Champions of Peace in Cameroon. This document reflects on contextual arguments around major thematic such as radicalisation, the role of youth and others.

Group photograph on the Youth positive practice memoire publication

The second most successful project – The Creative Skills for Peace (CSP) is their on-going project which focuses on preventing youth radicalisation and recidivism in prisons and correctional facilities in Cameroon. This project seeks to develop vocational, entrepreneurial, leadership and peacebuilding skills of young people with a history of violence as a way to provide them with alternative skills to facilitate their rehabilitation and reintegration into their various communities and country at large. This project uses successful youth entrepreneurs with tangible and transferable skills to train their peers in prisons and correctional facilities. The CSP is expected to contribute to reducing youth recidivism, radicalization and possible recruitment by violent extremist groups. This project is being executed by a team of young people in the Extreme North, Littoral, Centre, Southwest, Northwest, and West regions of Cameroon, which make 6 of the 10 regions of the country. The project directly facilitates the rehabilitation and reintegration of 300 violent or violent extremist youth offenders over a period of 20 months, and the capacity to have an indirect impact to over 5000 young people found in these prisons. The project seeks to transform these young people into agents of change and use their stories and transformation to inspire their peers across the country to resist radicalization.



The use of sports as a tool to facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of these young people with a history of violence. Football, handball and table tennis tournaments are currently being organised in these facilities to run for a period of 2 months to build social cohesion and heal trauma. Within the context of this project, they are also currently establishing libraries in all the 8 facilities in 6 regions selected on need base assessment in order to ensure free access to quality education to the prisoners.

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TRANSFORMING YOUNG VIOLENT OFFENDERS INTO PEACE BUILDERS : The Creative Skills for Peace Project Kicks off in Four Prison Facilities.

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We are experiencing a continuous rise in the number of young people in conflict with the law, radicalised and recruited by violent and violent extremist groups around the world today . In an attempt to provide solution to this challenge , the forces of law and order engages in arrest and detention of these young people as a form of punishment for these crimes . The question is ; what happens to these young persons after they serve their terms ? How do we prevent further radicalisation in and out of prison? How do we prevent them from going back to violence after their sentence ? How do we empower prison staffs to be able to mange these young people while in prison ? Local Youth Corner Cameroon thus developed the Creative Skills for Peace Project as a possible solution to this problem with prime objective to facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of young violent offenders through building their vocational and entrepreneurial skills , leadership and peace building skills as an alternative to violence. The Project equally focuses on personality development and building social cohesion through sports and recreational activities.

This project focuses on building “prison-preneurs” in 8 prison facilities in 6 regions (littoral, South West, North West, West, Centre and the Far North regions) within the national territory with 300 young people directly benefiting from unique vocational, entrepreneurial, peace building and leadership skills through need based assessment carried out in each of the prison facilities.
An epic launch of the Creative Skills for Peace project started in the facilities of Douala, Kumba, Bamenda and Buea. Our dynamic team of youth vocational and entrepreneurial trainers, commenced the 7 month long transformation capacity and skill building training. The enthusiasm and energy witnessed demonstrated by the young trainees greatly inspired the trainers to believe in the possibility of transforming these young violent offenders. One of the trainees shared that ” sir we thank God for this day because finally I know I have an opportunity to become a better person and impact my community ”

In the Bepanda Correctional Facility, Douala situated in the littoral region of Cameroon, the training kicked off on the 20th of February 2018 with 30 young people identified as trainees to be trained in three distinctive skills of electrical engineering, African fashionable beads production and soap and detergent production ( 10 trainees per skill), The training will help enhance their independent capacities as young entrepreneurs and also serve as an alternative from perpetrating acts of violence.

Young people in the Bepanda Correctional facility excited in their practical class in Soap and detergent production

photo of trainees showcasing beads they have produced Trainees for the electrical engineering workshop showcasing their skills

On the 6th of March 2018, The Bamenda Principal Prison in the North West region also saw an effective launch of this project. With a total of 48 trainees, this skill building exercise makes us optimistic about the fact that we are moving towards an effective rehabilitation and reintegration. Inmates are being trained in Traditional Cameroonian fashion designing (specifically in ‘Atogho’ a colourful traditional outfit from the North West region), Green house farming (using small land space for high yielding produce), ICT and African bead making. In the words of the superintendent of the facility ‘‘I believe that these four skills will prepare my young inmates to be useful in their communities and be peace loving citizens’’



trainers and trainnees setting up the green house farm

Similarly, the Creative Skills for Peace Project was launched in the Kumba principal prison with a full participant list of 45 trainees eager to change their mentality by learning new skills to promote their psycho-social healing and economic empowerment. Inmates are being trained in traditional Cameroonian nut bead making, poultry farming, modern day tailoring and ICT.After two weeks of the training one of the trainees in this facility said “… when I came to prison I thought it was over for me , but now learning how to make these beads I feel alive and I have hopes of becoming a better person”



trainer and trainees working on the traditional Cameroon nuts bead making

The Buea Central Prison saw the launch of the project alongside the other facilities with a full list of 45 trainees who are undergoing training in infographic designing, music ( DJ and Orchestra ), paper bag production and fashion designing and tailoring. The training will build the skill set of each trainee in a chosen field and help them to be independent, fully rehabilitated and ready for reinsertion into society.

As a complement of the creative skills for peace project we launched the sports for peace tournament which has as main focus to promote social cohesion and love among the inmates . This tournament will run for a period of two months and it included football, handball and table tennis. One of the inmates shared that ” this football tournament has made me to play alongside with some people I did not like , it is keeping us busy , it is making me happy , I am no longer an idle prisoner ”

ً

The Creative Skills for Peace project is core in our mission of rehabilitating and reintegrating youths with a history of violence into their communities. Building on the potential of young people to easily assimilate new skills and their desire to bring change, this project has the capacity of developing a fine generation of young entrepreneurs, start-ups, peace-builders and law abiding citizens from prisons. With the vision to prevent and counter violent extremism through preventing youth radicalization and recidivism, the Creative Skills for Peace project is a game changer.

This project is funded by GHR Foundation supported by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education Ministry of Justice, United Network for Young Peace-builders(UNOY), Global Centre on Cooperative Security and The Duke of Edinburgh International Awards.

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Localising the “Youth Positive Pracatice Memoire on Rehabilitation and Reintegration” in the South West Region.

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Localising the “Youth Positive Pracatice Memoire on Rehabilitation and Reintegration” in the South West Region.

In January 2016, the National Rehabilitation and Reintegration Network was createdby Local Youth Youth Corner Cameroon to bring together practitioners and civil society actors in the domain of rehabilitation and reintegration of persons with a history of violence. http://www.loyocameroon.org/rehabilitating-reintegrating-violent-offenders-and-violent-extremist-fighters-in-cameroon-yes-we-can-with-youth-civil-society/ This Network connects youth civil society actors and practitioners who have had an extensive experience working in prison facilities and correctional centres from all the ten regions of the country. With a membership of about 25 persons at the start, the network now seeks to enlarge its numbers by seeking to meet other youth who work in this space but were not present during the Yaounde Workshop in 2016. The aim is to ensure the harmonisation and share out the best practices in the work of these practitioners irrespective of geographical location towards building a more peaceful society.

The National Rehabilitation and Reintegration Network in the South West Region.

It is in the quest to accomplish  this aim that the LoYOC team made up of the National Coordinator Achaleke Christian Leke, Tangang Andrew-Secretary General and Tatianna Nkofo- Deputy Communications and Advocacy Officer  carried out a sensitisation and advocacy campaign in the South West Region from the 14th to the 16th January 2018. The target persons were traditional, religious and administrative authorities to advocate for them to give more attention to questions on rehabilitation and reintegration of persons serving or

Achaleke Christian reaching out to the community in R-R through the Eyole Program on CBS Radio.

who have served a prison term. Added to these was the need to address the general public towards sensitising them for a greater tolerance in receiving rehabilitated persons with a history of conviction. This sensitisation began with a radio slot on The Eyole program on CBS Radio. The message passed across was to encourage the community to be more receptive when they encounter persons with a history of conviction seeking to reintegrate the society. As it is, the reintegration process is usually made difficult due to the lack of receptiveness from the community as well as people’s tendency to attach tags and stereotypes to ex-convicts.

 

Presenting the YPPM to Mr Asaah-Ngu, Superintendent of the Kumba Principal prison.

Next was a visit to Mr. Asaah-Ngu Walter, superintendent of the Buea Principal Prison. This was an advocacy meeting to plead for a greater emphasis to be laid on the rehabilitation processes of detenees within the prison facility he manages. On the other hand, a copy of the “Youth Positive Practice Memoire on Rhebailitation and Reintegration” (YPPM) was handed to him to introduce the various models used by youth around the country and how successful they have been towards enabling a more efficient reintegration of former convicts into the society. Considering the fact that the church has been most consistent in carrying out such activities within prison facilities, a visit was paid to the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon Synode Office under the guidance of Ntui Oben. They were received by  Rev. Mokoko and Mr. Wolf Ram, both staff of the peace service of the PCC. At the close of the encounter, ground works were set for signing of a partnership convention between the two institutions for a greater impact in the domain of rehabilitation and reintegration in the South West Region.

Presenting the YPPM to Mr Njie Fidelis-Director of Borstal Institute.

A courtesy visit was paid to the Director of the Borstal Institute, Mr Fidelis Njie in abid to strengthen the long existing ties between the two organisations. As a time long practitioner in the rehabilitation and reintegration of violent offenders, Mr. Fidelis was glad to receive a copy of the YPPM which also contains a Borstal Institute Model destined to inspire the rest of the world. It is good to note that Local Youth Corner’s first steps in the domain of Rehabilitation and Reintegration began with the Creative Skills for Peace pilot project at the Borstal Institute. It is from this pilot phase that one of the youth in this correctional facility was trained in paper bag confection, a skill he later took as a personal trade. His paper bags were used to carry participants’ kits during the R-R workshop in January 2016.

Working session with the R-R Network in the South West Region.

Last but definitely not the least was the meeting with the members of the National Rehabilitation and Reintegration Network. The strengthening of the Network in all ten regions has been effected to ensure a harmonised approach to work in prisons and correctional facilities around the country. The members of the network present were Noela Lyonga of the Noela Lyonga Foundation, Ntui Oben of Action for Change, Chamango Blaise of Human is Right, Ngale David of ICENECDEV and Forzeh Felix. The objectives of the network were revisited and updates were given on each organisation’s progress so far. It was also important to bring out instances where members of the network collaborated in projects. As it is, Local Youth Corner seeks to encourage youth solidarity and mutual support towards building a peaceful society.

New objectives were set as the members reiterated their desire to push the network forward. With such a network in place, there is great hope to change the face of ex-convict reintegration in the society. With the participation of all stakeholders, the cooperation of the public and the passion in our youth, this will definitely be made possible.

 

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Localising the Youth Positive Practice Memoire in Rehabilitation and Reintegration in the West Region of Cameroon.

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Presenting the Youth Positive Practice on Rehabilitation and Reintegration to the 1st Deputy to the SDO of the Noun Division.

The publication of the ” Youth Positive Practice Memoire on Rehabilitation and Reintegration” came in as LOYOC’s tool to sensitise a greater public on the stakes behind a proper rehabilitation of persons serving a prison term. This not only concerns prison staff but also other leaders of the community be they administrative, traditional or religious.  Again, it came as a means to inspire other activists to use successful models in their own space. It is to reach out to all these actors that the LOYOC team carried out a sensitisation campaign in the West Region of Cameroon in both Foumban and Bafoussam. Of course in the process, there was an opportunity to meet more youth activists in the space and get them to join the National Rehabilitation and Reintegration Network as well as share with them all a copy of the publication as a toolkit in their work.

Melissa Juisi, Programmes Officer at Loyoc on a radio outreach at the Noun Community Radio Station.

Experience has proven that a proper rehabilitation leads to a successful reintegration into the society. It is to spurr a more tolerant attitude and reaction towards persons with a history of violence that various actors were encouraged to include this message of tolerance in their speech and address to the community whenever the opportunity for mass communications showed up. To support this move, radio programs were also covered to ensure a wider out reach for this message of peace and towards the well being of the community.

The team, made up of Melissa Juisi Simo- Programmes officer, Mambou Happy Kelly- Communications and Advocacy Officer, Aichatou Chouwait  and Mohammed Zedan our contact persons in Foumban began this sensitisation with a media outreach through the Noun Community Radio Station which was a means to reach out to the 9 sub-divisions which make up the Division. The set of visits in Foumban started with a visit paid to the Senior Divisional Office of the Noun Division, where Mr. Nyo’o Serge Lavy, the  first assistant to the SDO received the team to discuss on the need for the public administration to give m0re value to the rehabilitation of persons in the process of serving prison term. This initiative was received with a lot of enthusiasm and the SDO assured us of his utmost support in activity LOYOC would like to carry out in the Noun.

 

The LOYOC team presenting the Youth Positive Practice Memoire to the Imam of Ndjindare Community.

The next meeting was with Sheikh Youssouf Ben Ali, the Imam of the Njindare Community in the town of Foumban. After sharing on the need for the community to be more tolerant towards ex-convicts as well as ensure that they actually feel welcomed back into the society to ease their reintegration, the Imam shared a great part of his work as spiritual leader which goes in the same light. According to the Imam, Religions in themselves are not a source division, however, human beings and their selfish interests tend to use these religions to divide than to unite. On this note he assured that he will insist on the aspect of spirituality to make sure the community he is in charge of develops a greater tolerance towards persons with a history of violence or crime. This gave more hope towards anticipating how other personalities would receive this message.

The LOYOC team presenting the Youth Positive practice to Manshut Nwefon at the Foumbsn Palace.

Thereafter, a visit was made to the Foumban Palace to meet with one of the King’s closest collaborators in the person of Manshut Nwefon (loosely translated as Minister), the Palace notable in charge of Land-tenure, accompanied by his two assistants. The message was delivered to these custodians of culture and tradition in order to carry this message to the community which holds its traditional authorities in very high esteem. Following the meeting with these traditional authorities, the next step involved meeting with administrative personnel.

Presenting the YPPM to Mr. Nji Chouwait, the Divisional Delegate for Youth Affairs and Civic Education of the Noun Division.

We were ushered to the Office of the Divisional Delegate for Youth and  Civic Education, Mr. Nji Chouwait, for our last meeting in Foumban. He appreciated the new dynamism of youth. According to him, youths are so innovative and full of energy that this needs to be positively exploited for nation building. He further appreciated LOYOC’s multi-faceted approach to peace building and mentioned how useful it would be for the Noun. Again, he reiterated the support we will receive from the public administration in general and his delegation in particular in this domain.

LOYOC slots on ”Tout sur tout” live program on CRTV Radio, Bafoussam to discuss rehabilitation and reintegration.

The next step was to reach the headquarters of the West Region to make thismessage heard. Hence, we had a Radio Slot on CRTV Bafoussam’s “Tout sur tout” hosted by Christelle Kemogne. The grounds were established as to why LOYOC has chosen R-R as a tool for peacebuilding and the interactions with the public on this live program gave way for a deeper insight on Loyoc’s upcoming projects in the field. This led to the presentation of the Creative Skills for Peace Project to be lunched in a few days. The project which entails the building of skills and aptitudes of violent offenders in prison facilities will be Loyoc’s first full involvement in Rehabilitation and Reintegration in prison facilities.  This same message was therefore carried down to Radio Batcham where a radio program hosted by Alphonse Tebissi gave another platform to pass this message in Bafoussam and make a call for more youth to join the National Rehabilitation and Reintegration Network.

It is in the light of strengthening this Network that Indrick Wami, a member of the Network, joined the Loyoc team from Bagante, to meet the Regional Delagate of the Ministry of Family and Women  Empowerment, Mr. Mzuafo Jean Claude, Inspector for Social Affair. Taking into consideration the fact that every successful societal change starts from the family unit, meeting such an authority was an additional asset for LOYOC’s successful activities in the West Region. The Delegate made known to us his intention to fully support LOYOC’s activities in the West Region towards building a successful society and ensure societal wellbeing.

Loyoc Team presenting the YPPM to Mr. Mzuafo, Regional Delegate for Family and Women’s Empowerment.

Local Youth Corner has therefore broken new grounds in the West Region towards ensuring the successful implementation of its activities on the entire National Territory for a more peaceful Cameroon.

 

 

 

 

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Little Strides to a bigger picture: The Local Youth Corner team on an evaluation field trip of the advancement of preparation for the Creative Skills for Peace Project in the South West Region.

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The LOYOC Team at the poultry construction site within the Kumba Principal Prison.

            The repression and arrest of violent offenders has been the usual measure taken to keep social deviants in check. However, not much is done to prepare their reintegration into the society after they have served their prison term. It is with the aim of covering up for this gap that  the Loyoc Team is working towards the implementation of the Creative Skills for Peace Project on the entire national territory. The project which is still at its early stages, required of the team to carry out a two days’ field visit to the South West Region for an evaluation on the advancements of  preparations to launch the  project in the upcoming days. With a team made up of the National Coordinator Achaleke Christian Leke, Tangang Andrew-Secretary General and Tatianna Nkofo- Deputy Communications and Advocacy Officer a visit went down to the South West Region towns of Buea and Kumba to visit both facilities and evaluate their advancements.

This led to a set of meetings with the administrative personnel of the Buea and Kumba Central and Principal Prisons respectively. This began with the visit to Mr. Ewane Alain, Chief of Service of Discipline, socio-cultural and training activities.  As it is, the Buea Central Prison’s inmates will be receiving training in Infographics, music, paper bag confection and clothes making.

A cross-section view of the poultry.

The next stop was at the Kumba Principal Prison which will have its inmates trained in poultry farming, beads jewelry confection, clothes making and ICT. One of the successes registered in the preparations was the successful building of a poultry site within the confines of the prison. This poultry with a capacity of over 75 chicks was confirmed to have been put up in respect to the norms and requirements of the activity by the skill’s trainer Mr. Reagan Tabot, who accompanied the team. It is on this note that the team was received by the Superintendent of the Kumba Principal Prison Mr. Asaah Ngu who expressed his enthusiasm to have had his prison facility selected for this project. A few directives were shared before both parted ways.

The Secretary General checking on the nature of the soil within the poultry.

To close down the set of meetings with administrative personnel, the team met with the First assistant Senior Divisional Officer for Meme Division. He expressed his enthusiasm for the project and even offered to buy some of the chicken to be supplied from the prison.  He also provided useful information to help in the project implementation phase to ensure its success. The last but one stop was the visit at St Francis College Kumba for a meeting with the Bishop of Meme Division. In the process, it was established that the Catholic Church has been doing an amazing work in prison facilities through the Justice and Peace Commission. Despite the tight schedule, the Loyoc team was able to meet all key persons and objectives to ensure that the Creative Skills for Peace Project kick starts with no difficulty.

 

 

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Establishing New Partnerships to Build Peace through Sports.

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Mr Achaleke handing in Project Documents to CCGA Presient Mrs Amba Rose Kwende

Mr Achaleke handing in Project Documents to CCGA Presient Mrs Amba Rose Kwende

   For a couple of years now, sports has been identified as a great tool in peacebuilding aimed at inculcating a team spirit in youth as well as redirecting their energy towards a more constructive endeavor. It is in this perspective that Local Youth Corner included a Football tournament into its Creative Skills for Peace Project to be lunched in the upcoming months.

      It is in the scope of making this component more efficient that the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education, the Cameroon Commonwealth Games Association (CCGA) and the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sports (CABOS) have decided to extend a hand of partnership to Local Youth Corner to capitaliseonthe role of sports as an instrument to promote social coercion, peace and development.

The LOYOC Team with CCGA/CABOS and MINSEP Representatives.

The LOYOC Team with CCGA/CABOS and MINSEP Representatives.

Hence, a series of audiences were granted to the Local Youth Corner delegation by these three institutions on Tuesday, January 9th 2018. This delegation was made up of the National Coordinator Mr. Achaleke Christian, Ms. Melissa Juisi Simo-Programs Officer and Ms.  Tatianna Nkofo-Deputy Communications and Advocacy Officer. On the other hand, the Ministry of Sports was represented by Mr. Macias Nwana-Sports Inspector General while CABOS and CCGA were represented by Mme Amba Rose Kwende, president of the Cameroon Commonwealth Games Association.

The Co

The Co

        The meeting in itself came prior to a courtesy visit paid by the LOYOC team to the CABOS and CCGA new offices found at the Omnisport Neighbourhood in a bid to discover the working space and headquarters of this institutions. The cohort then moved to the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education to engage the conversation on the support of these institutions in the Creative Skills for Peace Project. Following the customary courtesies, the National Coordinator presented the Creative Skills for Peace Project and more specifically the Football Tournament which will be run within each prison and correctional facility. In a perspective of rehabilitating young people who have been involved in violence, the CSP Project stands as an alternative solution to violence and to give hope to young people using economic empowerment, personality development and psycho-social support through peer educator skills development. Concurrently, its sports component emerges as a means to build social cohesion and redirect youth energy through extra-curricular activities.

The LOYOC Team guided through a tour of the CCGA and CABOS office site.

The LOYOC Team guided through a tour of the CCGA and CABOS office site.

   This presentation provoked an enthusiasm from both the Ministry and CCGA/CABOS whose representatives both expressed their desire to get involved in the CSP project at a higher level. Discussions were concluded with Mr. Achaleke handing in Project documents to Mme Kwende towards the establishment of a long lasting partnership. It can therefore be confirmed that the Creative Skills for Peace Sports Tournament will witness a makeover and upgrade. Local Youth Corner, once more, is taking the challenge to transform the lives of young people within 8 prisons and correctional facilities in 6 regions of the country towards building a peaceful society.

 

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HUMAN RIGHTS, CITIZENSHIP AND PARTICIPATION (LOCAL AWARENESS RAISING)

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The Group Photograph with the Human Rights Training.

The Group Photograph with the Human Rights Training.

Youths in action! Like it is commonly said, the youth are the backbone of every country. It is in that spirit that about 30 youths between the ages of 20 to 35 met at the EISERVI conference hall in Yaounde on the 27th of November 2017. Each of them present came with a strong interest in human rights and a hope to make their country a better place.

      The workshop was organised by Local Youth Corner Cameroon (LOYOC), the Community Centre for Integrated Development(CCID), Above and  Beyond, Cameroon Human Rights  Fellowship (CHRF)  and co funded by the Erasmus Programme of the European Union.

The first session of the program was led by Mr. Valerie Viban. His section covered several areas of human rights, introduction to human rights, determinants of human rights culture, stereotypes and culture, the next step towards a human rights society. (Let me add here that I was one of these participants and some feedback will be based on my point of view). This module was taught in a very interesting manner. Everyone felt included in the teaching and learning process and no response was considered a wrong answer. Participants went from playing a ball game at the start, to identifying violations of basic rights from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Next, sitting on the carpeted floor playing a game of cards, was a session which served as a means to understand how nobody actually tells us about our rights but we are expected to know them.

Identifying human Rights violations through images.

Identifying human Rights violations through images.

Playing Card Games

Playing Card Games

      This training was designed to be everything except a regular classroom style session. Hence, the next learning style was with the use of a human rights tree. We each had to write down determinants of human rights to stick to the roots, the way forward on the stem and the leaves for the outcome. This continued with a video projection which presented human behavior in the light of people’s incapacity to empathise towards the needs of others because they are always so focused on themselves. This ended the first session and there was a lunch break with prayers led by Musa, a participant of the Muslim faith, a change in the typical way of doing things and quite a sign of the open-mindedness of participants.

Human Rights Tree

Human Rights Tree

The next speaker Mr. Achaleke Christian, LOYOC National Coordinator came up to talk about peace building youth approach and countering violent terrorism. Being an expert in the domain of peace and governance participants had the note books. This session was done via role play. The story was set in Bakassi a dispute between the Mengi and Bafo people.

Achaleke Christian

Achaleke Christian

           A fight on market ownership one party accusing the other of mismanagement and the other claiming they had rights over the market because they built it. The role of the government, the media and the NGO in the conflict were shared among participants. The lessons learned included the fact that in peace talks one party must be ready to compromise. Unfortunately, our villagers refused to and the dispute continued. Like it is said in law ‘anyone coming to equity must come with clean hands’. The NGO that came in to help resolve the dispute had a record of leaving projects unfinished or siding with one party. This breached the trust the people had in them. The government made a decision based on superficial facts. Lastly, the media reported on news which sometimes they weren’t sure of. The leadership lesson learnt here was that you can’t always please everyone as a leader. So leaders are expected to emulate humility, tolerance, hard work and fight stereotypes.

A cross-section of the hall

A cross-section of the hall

Participants carrying out the role play.

Participants carrying out the role play. 

Participants in their group activities.

Participants in their group activities.

This training, aimed at enhancing a practical knowledge of human rights for participants achieved its expected end based on participants’ feedback. The road to peace is paved with the respect of human rights and this is the message Local Youth Corner passed across.

Article by:

Tatianna Lechindem Katume Nkofo

Participant at the Human Rights Worskop.

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