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