By Ndzi Divine Njamsi, Rotary Peace Fellow and Positive Peace Activator
I am a peacebuilding professional from Cameroon with over eight years of field experience working on youth capacity building in peacebuilding, governance, and democracy. Back in November 2022 when I was a student at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, as a Rotary Peace Fellow, our Program Officer shared an opportunity to get trained in Positive Peace – an in-person Positive Peace Activator Program for Rotary members, Peace Fellows, and other community peacebuilders in West and Central Africa. I was very excited about the program because it would be an opportunity for me to acquire more skills in peacebuilding for my community, so I applied.
I took an interest in Positive Peace and the Activator training due to problems affecting peace in Cameroon – bad governance, hate speech in online spaces, tribalism and inter-communal conflicts, violent extremism, and, above all, the ongoing Anglophone crisis (a socio-political crisis in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon) plaguing the regions of Cameroon since November 2016 with more than 3000 dead and more than 5000 refugees in Nigeria (according to UNHCR). The concept of Positive Peace is not well-known in the civil society space of Cameroon or in Central Africa in general. That is why there is an urgent and rising need for an innovative way of fostering peacebuilding through the Positive Peace training, with trainees partnering with local associations and organizations to do the peace-building work.
The Rotary Positive Peace Activator Training in Lagos
By mid-December 2022, I received an email that I’d been selected for the Rotary Positive Peace Activator training program in early April 2023. I joined 49 other trainees from 12 West & Central African countries in Lagos, Nigeria. I was privileged to be among the 49 trainees (Rotarians, Rotaractors, Rotary Peace Fellows, and other stakeholders) – selected out of more than 450 applicants. The focus of this 20-hour, three-day learning opportunity was to reassert Rotary’s mission, vision, and peacebuilding work, combined with the Institute for Economics & Peace’s (IEP) Positive Peace framework. Together, looking at how trainees can make use of and improve upon Rotary’s network and capacity to prioritize its areas of focus to address societal needs. All this, of course, was done in a bid to effectively contribute towards enhancing peace and good in West and Central Africa. I was very satisfied with the content of the training they offered and their commitment to service!
Through the Positive Peace Activator Training program, I did not just have the opportunity to better understand the details around the concept of Positive Peace. I also had the opportunity to learn more about the eight Pillars of Positive Peace:
I learned that the eight pillars can be incorporated into my work in Cameroon, providing me with a blueprint for effective peacebuilding activities.
I also learned about the other areas of Rotary International’s focus apart from Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention, and how they all connect to and contribute to Positive Peace. I retain that both Rotary and IEP are not only working in synergy for peacebuilding but also to promote sustainable development goals to make the world a safe haven.
At the end of the training, I made a commitment to foster Positive Peace within the Rotary world, in my country Cameroon, and in the Central African Region in general. In line with this, I have made contacts with some local organizations and the Yaounde International Business School (YIBS) where I began training sessions with students on Positive Peace. The goal is to incorporate this concept and practice into their training program. I am also connected with my YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) network and will offer training on Positive Peace within this network in the Central African region. I also want to work with you – Rotary members – in Cameroon and beyond. As a Positive Peace Activator, my 200+ fellow Activators and I are located across six regions globally and can work with you on peace projects, provide training, and support your peace initiatives. You can connect with us at email@example.com. And if you are interested in joining a future Activator training, please visit the website for the Positive Peace Activator program.