ACCORD’s Marisha Ramdeen, Coordinator of Programmes, joined the Great Lakes Forum on Peace and Security as a Panel Discussant. The Forum which took place in Nairobi from 11-13 April 2022, in Kenya, was organised by the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa (FECCLAHA) on “Consolidating the Role of the Church in the Regional Stabilisation Agenda”.
FECCLAHA brought together church leaders and strategic actors to discuss, context-based issues that still afflict the region; actors in the realm of peace, security, governance and development; as well as the gaps and challenges that are needed for creative sustainable peace actions. The Forum’s key note address on “ICGLR and Peace and Security in the Great Lakes Region: The place and the role of the Church: challenges and opportunity”, was delivered by His Excellency, Ambassador João Samuel CAHOLO, the Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). His Excellency reiterated the role that faith based organisations play in conflict prevention.
Emphasis was placed on the prevalence of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the region as Dr Martha Mutisi presented a comprehensive overview of the context within which SGBV takes place in the Great Lakes region. Dr Mutisi, also shared information on key frameworks that guide the prevention and actions against SGBV.
The Forum’s break-out sessions allowed the participants to focus on the key priority issues affecting peace and security in the Great Lakes region as possible areas for advocacy amongst church leaders. These sessions also endorsed practical action points that the churches could take to address SGBV and other peace and security threats affecting the region.
Entry points for church leaders to contribute to peace and security in the Great Lakes Region, included closer collaborations with the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms; strengthening the skills of the church leaders in mediation and conflict prevention; and consciously working closely with women’s groups. These recommendations will further strengthen the churches efforts and involvement in peace and security within the region.
ACCORD will continue to engage with FECCLAHA and other religious based organisations to provide the much needed support to strengthen their capacities at the local and national level for conflict prevention.