The Director, Arigatou International — End Child Poverty, Fred Nyabera, Arigatou International’s Advisory Group member, Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome, and four other religious leaders from the Regional Peace Programme (RPP) participated at the 3rd Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) High Level Retreat on Mediation. This meeting was hosted by IGAD, in partnership with ACCORD, from 12-14 September 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Retreat’s theme focused on ‘Enhancing Dialogue and Reconciliation for Conflict Prevention and Transformation’. Some of the key highlighted points that were raised included: the need for in depth conflict analysis to ensure that conflicts are well understood and therefore better managed; the need for political will and citizens participation to foster national and regional dialogue; the documentation and utilisation of good practices on dialogue and reconciliation; developing a curriculum on reconciliation and dialogue; the importance of overcoming the past and trauma healing as crucial in the prevention of future conflicts; and, the crucial role played by women, youth and religious actors in the peace and mediation processes in the region.
Speaking during the retreat Mr. Nyabera emphasised on some of the good works that religious actors have undertaken while inspired by the religious texts that put prominence on sacredness of life. He then focused his presentation on the comparative advantages of Faith Actors towards mediation and reconciliation, including the spiritual assets and tools that are unique to the faith community.
“Both political will and active citizens engagement are key to national dialogue and reconciliation – religious peace actors can use their influence, mobilizing capacity and spiritual tools towards this end”, he said.
The religious actors in the retreat made various interventions on the role of religious communities and interfaith dialogue in healing and reconciliation as an enabler for preventing and resolving conflict as well as in transforming societies. They reflected on lessons from processes that religious leaders and faith communities have engaged in; and going forward how religious communities can play a more effective role in reconciliation in the IGAD region.
The discussions during the Retreat also contributed towards developing a reconciliation framework and a dialogue index for the IGAD region – that will guide member states in their reconciliation initiatives.
Over 40 seasoned mediators from different regions in the continent attended the retreat. They included representatives from the 12 IGAD countries, Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), East Africa Community (EAC), former and current members of African Union (AU) Panel of the Wise, ambassadors, youth and religious actors-under the Regional Peace Programme (RPP umbrella).
Arigatou International — End Child Poverty remains committed to engaging in and supporting peace efforts and initiatives that transform conflicts that exacerbate child poverty and violence against children.