The National Peace Council (NPC) has launched an initiative to enhance the capabilities of women to counter violent extremism and terrorism.
The violent extremism prevention project seeks to train and build the capacity of the new generation of women and youth activists to promote peace in their communities.
Launched in partnership with the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, the project is on the theme: “Preventing Violent Extremism: ‘The Gender Perspective and Women’s Role”.
Speaking at the launch last Wednesday (August 31), the Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev. Dr Ernest Adu Gyamfi, intimated that the project would strengthen, prevent, manage and help resolve conflicts in our country.
He said that would be achieved by engaging different stakeholders and equipping selected youth to serve as peace ambassadors to promote non-violent ways of addressing conflicts.
He added that though Ghana’s place in the sub-region as one of the few stable democracies was a good thing, “it must be jealously guarded to avoid any act that could derail the democratic gains we have collectively achieved over the last three decades.”
“Though Ghana continues to enjoy the position on the Global Peace Index as the most peaceful country in the sub-region, the fear of a spill-over from the insurgencies in Ghana’s neighbouring countries cannot be overemphasised. It is for this reason that the mandate of the NPC, as indicated at section 2 of Act 818 (2011), is significant as it is to facilitate and develop mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution and to build sustainable peace.” Rev. Dr Gyamfi stated.
A Political Counsellor at the Canadian High Commission in Ghana, Grace Lee, also said a lot could be achieved when communities were empowered with resources to support their ideas and creativity.
“I have spoken to some Ghanaian women in politics and in the government and I admire their tenacity. I must say that women are a strong force in society and I really appreciate the leadership role the women are taking. It will be inspiring to see what we can achieve together with the provision of the right tools,” she said.
Ms Lee also urged the youth not to take the project for granted, adding that what they did today had a direct effect on what the future would bring.
“It is through the idealism, innovation and energy of the youth that the future of generations to come is secure. The contribution of women and youth to peace and security is very valuable and this project will help build their capacity,” she said.
At the end of the project, 200 people (majority being women) are expected to be direct beneficiaries; 80 women and youth leaders of political parties would be trained on preventing extremism, 80 women, youth and community leaders will be involved in dialogue sessions and will adopt measures to prevent and counter violent extremism.
Additionally, youth from political parties and targeted communities would be sensitised to vigilantism and related offences acts. Forty volunteers will also be trained to be advocates of peace and prevention of violent extremism.