The West Africa Network for Peace building, (WANEP), has called for stronger collaboration between civil society organisations (CSOs) and the academic community to generate research and knowledge in peace building practices.
Dr Chukwuemeka B. Eze, Executive Director, WANEP speaking at the opening of the African Peace building Network (APN)/Next Generation Workshop at Peduase in the Eastern Region on Monday said such collaboration would go a long way to inform the basis of enhancing advocacy, policies and frameworks to promote peace building in Africa.
He said the African Union (AU), the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and development partners to increase their support for CSOs and the knowledge community to enhance community peace building activities and generate the requisite knowledge to support such efforts.
"It is also imperative for the AU, RECs and States to intensify support for CSOs to continue to enhance the capacity and increase participation of women and youth in peace building in communities in Africa," Dr Eze stated
The five-day workshop is being organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education, University of Ghana in collaboration with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC)–United States.
It is being attended by more than 55 participants drawn from 10 African countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
The APN supports independent African research on conflict-affected countries and neighbouring regions of the continent, as well as the integration of African knowledge into global policy communities.
Speaking on the topic "Mediating Complex Community Conflicts in Africa: Connecting Research to Peace building", Dr Eze said the nature of global conflicts had changed and become more complex.
"Today's conflicts are predominantly internal, involving multiple actors and a myriad of political, social and economic interests."
He said there was the need to strengthen the African Union Mediation Support Unit (AU MSU) and the Mediation Facilitation Division (MFD) of ECOWAS and enhance the development of National Peace Infrastructures.
He said Infrastructures for Peace (I4P) strengthens structures and systems of peace building at the micro level; adding that, "it creates the possibility of enhancing macro platforms to address salient causes of conflict and violence that bedevils the polity".
He said traditional perspectives, understanding and solutions to conflict should be integrated into the mediation processes in Africa; stating that these traditional mechanisms should be strengthened to promote and sustain shared vision of society and a Culture of Peace.
He said there was the need for values of reconciliation, tolerance, trust and confidence building, mediation and dialogue as responses to conflict.
He said with an expected increase in the diversity of citizens within African nations, the promotion of social inclusion and cohesion was more important than ever.
He said peace building and conflict management strategies required long-term funding by governments, donors, CSOs and communities.
Mr Sam Okudzeto, a member of the Council of State said peace was an important ingredient for the survival of the African continent and for its progress.
Prof Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, Founding Dean, School of Distance and Continuing Education, University of Ghana, said the collaboration between the University with SSRC was part of their efforts to live up to the world class image that they had set themselves for.