African Renaissance Network
IMPLEMENTATION AGENCY : AFRICAN RENAISSANCE NETWORK (ARN)
DURATION OF THE PROJECT : 3 years (2000 - 2003)
Phases of the programme : Three
· Preparatory phase (October 2001 - October 2002)
· Peace caravan (November 2002 - March 2003)
· Sub-regional conference (May 2003 - August 2003)
PEACE CARAVAN ROUTE : Benin Republic, Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana (West Africa).
BENEFICIARIES: About a thousand youth will be involved in this program at the grass root with about 40 participants chosen for the Caravan programme. This will generate a multiplier effect with over a million youth benefiting through the activities of the National and regional Inter-religious and cultural Youth Networks that will be set up. This will equally benefit the larger community through the participation of leaders with feed back to the communities.
EVALUATION : This will be done during the preparatory phase of the programme to ensure it’s focus. Evaluations will also be carried out at the end of each phase and the overall programme to ensure that the objectives are achieved. Another evaluation will be targeted at assuring the success of the implementation process.
At the religious level, the coexistence of Christianity, Islam and African traditional religious has demonstrated Africaness in diversity . These diversities have influenced social trends, political affiliations and even public relations. For example, opportunities in public places are often based on tribal, cultural and religious affiliations other than merit.
This diversity has been exploited by selfish political elite to cause conflicts and civil wars in Africa by manipulating one ethnic, religious and cultural group against another.
Stereotyping widens the gap between different cultures, faith and ethnic differences. It also increases suspicion, and tensions while undermining mutual trust. In Africa, it has also continued to destroy the political will for dialogue and mutual understanding among people within countries and beyond regions.
This has contributed to sustaining a culture of violence that has become an image of Africa in the international community and media. This has been an obstacle to the transition to democracy, peace and development. Democracy which is political dialogue, requires cultural and ethnic dialogue. The social cohesion of society depends on the acceptance of common social and political codes of conduct which are in the African context, derived from social and spiritual values. In this sense, the identification of common religious teachings and the acceptance of human rights become moral standards for coexistence in diversity.
In the absence of principles of coexistence, democracy is neither sustainable nor possible to ensure.
Sporadic efforts have been made by governments and NGOs to help societies move towards democratic forms of organisation and management but these issues most often do not involve the youth who become victims and uninformed actors in conflicts.
Though several factors are implicated in the socio-political and economic underdevelopment of Africa, the absence of sustained intercultural, inter-ethnic and faith dialogue can explain to a large extent, the low level of peace, democracy and development in Africa.
To build democratic societies and ensure a peace culture, economic and political development requires, co-ordinated dialogue at all levels of the society. This is the core of this project, based on an approach which mobilises and involves the youth who are the present and future of Africa.
3.0 General and Long Term Objectives
3.1 Specific and Short term objectives.
4.0 Expected and Short Term outcome.
FOCAL AREAS : Mali, Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana).
This is a trip that is expected to take participants on a dialogue journey from Nigeria to Mali through Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’ivoire and Burkina-Faso.
This trip, will last for 3 weeks with several stop overs in the different countries.
Five people will be chosen by the different communities for this trip. These will include, men and women of different faith, and cultures and civilisation. This will be based on the established principles between the communities and the co-ordinating committee.
PREPARATION FOR THE PEACE and DIALOGUE CARAVAN
ITINERARY OF THE PEACE AND DIALOGUE CARAVAN.
We are in contact with the Ministry of Regional integration who are expected to inform Economic Community of West African States about the Youth Peace Caravan.
Appendix to the Peace and dialogue Caravan programme.
Night Stop Overs.
During night stop overs, story telling on the culture, history and faith of the people is foreseen and delegates enabled to interact with the communities to learn and appreciate the different cultures. Arrangements will be made where possible, to visit as well, Mosques, Churches, and Shrines of African traditional religion and other monuments that will add value to the project
-Short Stop Overs. These will be used to pay courtesy calls to Religious and Traditional rulers as well as political leaders.
Stop overs in the different towns where people will be received by traditional rulers, dance groups as well as religious leaders. Papers will be presented on the culture of the different groups and sharing entertained.
- Four nights are foreseen in different parts of Nigeria during which, participants will stay in homes to help them learn about other peoples culture and or faith. The traditional Story Telling of Africans will be employed by elders in the different homes.
One night is foreseen in these communities and the different faith will be explored.
Welcome and courtesy calls will also be made to the different Traditional rulers, Political leaders, and Leaders of different faiths.
Togo and Burkina Faso. These will each have the same pattern and the same process as in Benin Republic will be repeated.
Note. All the participants on the Bus ride would converge at one point of commencement and begin the Caravan from there. This is to enable participants have access to the same information and exposure.
The exchange in Mali is expected to last for one week. People will be given an exposure in the rich inter-cultural and religious experience of the Malian people for 2 days. This will be followed by a retreat at a quiet place to encourage and learn of the Inter-dependence in nature. This will be through sports, community living.
After the Mali visit, there will be an evaluation. This will be based on
the content and feeling on the outcome of the meeting. A poster competition to encourage co-existence will also be launched and produced for all the countries. We will explore the possibility of using the language of the communities involved.
This cost will be transferred to the 3rd phase of the programme.
Participants return to their homes and make arrangements to share with their different communities on their experiences during the peace journey and a practical model of sustaining harmonious co-existence and dialogue between communities. (March, 2003)
THIRD PHASE (May-August 2003)
SUB-REGIONAL TRAINING PROGRAMME on “Dialogue of Cultures and Religions as a Tool to Building Sustainable, Democracy, Peace and Regional Integration in Africa. (West Africa. )
The conference will last for 4 days and will be aimed at providing a space for people to share their experiences and to learn of possible new ways and tools of dialogue in an increasingly complex society. They will also be helped to design ways of conflict transformation through dialogue among the youth.
Other Objectives will include:
and Inter-religious Dialogue at the ARN Conference
We are still consulting with experts on how best they want the training to happen.
PLAN OF ACTION FOR PHASE THREE
Participants will be from the different communities in Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic and Nigeria. Also joining in will be participants from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, Ghana, and Côte d’ivoire.
At Each Phase of the programme, reports will be provided as well as an evaluation.
As follow-up to this programme. It is expected that organisations participating in the programme will integrate Inter-religious and cultural dialogue into their programmes. This will be evaluated two years after the completion of the pilot phase for West Africa.
We have human resource to manage this programme. Specifically, we have sociologist, Youth Workers, and young people who have been trained in “The Role of Youth movements in Building a Culture of Peace.
We are also in touch with competent people and associations that have competence in managing Ethnic, Cultural and Religious Diversities at different levels of the society.
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