The Regional Youth Forum on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) marked its second day with fifty-five (55) youth participants, practitioners and faith leaders from Uganda, Somalia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
In his remarks on stereotypes and how their negative use can fuel violence, Rev. Nyabera said that sometimes, people get into conflict because of where they stand; he challenged the participants to take a bold step by “understanding the place where someone else is standing”. In addition, Sh. Lethome led participants in identifying connectors and dividers, and how they can be used to influence positive change in society.
Nutra, a participant from Somalia highlighted the importance of getting rid of negative stereotypes and misunderstandings against ‘the other’, as these do not promote peace.
“Ignorance breeds fear!”, said the youth participants during their intra-faith and inter-faith group discussions.
They further deliberated on the challenges, opportunities and recommendations (both intra and interfaith) in addressing violent extremism. Most agreed that young people should be given equal opportunities, for example, to access education and jobs. The participants also expressed the need and importance of interfaith dialogue and respect for each other’s religion, in peace building.
Participants acknowledged the vital role and advantage that religious communities have in addressing violence. “Religious communities have a lot of resources that can be used to engage in active peace building”, said Gwen, a representative of the Norwegian Church Aid, Oslo.
“As people of different faiths, there are more factors that unite us, than those that divide us.” – Dakane
The regional youth forum serves as the beginning of a long-term process to equip youth as agents of peace. It is supported by Arigatou International’s Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) and End Child Poverty initiatives, in collaboration with the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and ICCO Cooperation.