By Nelson Manneh
On Thursday February 20th 2020, the Organization for Peace and Humanitarian Assistance (OPHA) in partnership with the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), held a seminar on youth and peace at American Corner on Kairaba Avenue.
The theme for the seminar was, “Promoting Peace work in The Gambia”. It was meant to educate young people on the importance of peacemaking among individuals and institutions.
James F. Mendy, founder and president of OPHA, said the Organization came into being after a long and consistent peace work in the country. Mendy said members of the organization have worked hard in previous years to ensure that there is peace in the country.
“Our activities of fighting for peace are largely followed and it is much appreciated by many both at home and abroad. The feedback we have gathered is evident that OPHA is making impact because these peace activities have yielded positive results,” he said; that the visit by the IPYG, is a consecration that should be embraced by Government, relevant authorities, institutions and Gambians, especially youth.
Mr. Mendy disclosed their programs of activities that lie ahead; that the importance of peace work in the country especially by the youth should not have limitations.
Mendy said Gambia youth must value and nurture peace in order to achieve what ‘‘we want’’ as a country; that our differences in perceptions and ideologies is natural and that this should not stop us thinking constructively of peaceful ways to discuss these differences in order to reach beneficial outcomes and common ground. He urged the youth not to allow to be used by anybody for any negative purposes.
Luke Jatta, the Public Relations Officer of OPHA, said the Organization constitutes members who have been working generously to ensure that peace is the order of the day in the country.
Mr. Bolar, who is a senior lecturer on peace and conflict resolution and who also served as guest speaker for the occasion, gave a comprehensive lecture on peace and conflict resolution. This greatly attracted the attention of participants.
Mr. Bolar pointed out the need for peace and the dangers of having catalysts of violent conflicts in our midst; that people should strive for sustainable peace that lasts instead of living in fragile peace situations; that this can harbor catalysts of possible violent conflicts. He however pointed out that not all conflicts are destructive because there are conflicts that can bring about constructive development as well.