Peaceis more than just the absence of war, these were words spoken by Florence Mpaayei, the Executive Director of the Nairobi Peace Institute (NPI) while facilitating an encounter of children, youths and Religious Leaders in Zanzibar recently.
The four day Workshop was organized by the Global Network of Religions for Africa (GNRC-Africa) and brought together over 70 participants including 14 Religious Leaders from Pemba, Unguja and Dar es Salaam to share wisdom.
Elaborating, Mpaayei said, ìPeace means people having enough food, adequate health services, education, transportation facilities and a conducive atmosphere to reach their goals. If people donít have these things, there is unrestî.
Sharing with the participants on post election violence that is going on in neighboring Kenya, she advised her government not to forget regions that are considered less strategic in development. She added that youth can be the most important asset in promoting peace and government should not ignore them. She commended GNRCís efforts of teaching the youth the importance of dialogue and concern for the welfare of others. She reminded the youth that leadership goes with responsibility.
Speaking during the opening of the Workshop, the Catholic Bishop of Zanzibar Bishop Augustine Ndeliyakyama Shao said justice is the foundation of peace and the youth must be made aware of that.
He added that the focus of every region must be to foster justice, peace and unity of its citizens where the good principle should be: ìDo not do unto others what you do not want them to do to you!
Bishop Shao saw this encounter as an important platform for religious leaders to meet with the youth. Other Religious Leaders who attended the meeting were representatives from the Christian Council of Tanzania, CCT; The Tanzania Episcopal Council, TEC; National Muslim Council, BAKWATA, BíHai Faith, and from the Norwegian Church Aid.
The workshop saw a web of open, honest and committed personal relationships between leading religious leaders and young people and children being woven ; to encourage shared reflection on the spiritual, ethical, and practical values order to offer wisdom and guidance for citizenship in our society; to build a shared platform to strengthen different religions working together for the common good of our country in partnership and with others; and to develop channels of communication to help the different religions together to respond to youth and unemployment, an issue which test their relationships.
Other issues which were dealt with at the workshop included Conflict Resolution, Religion, Media and Politics, Child Labour and Economic Justice
On the last day of their stay in Zanzibar, all workshop participants were invited to the inauguration of the GNRC Zanzibar office. The Zanzibar Minister for Children, Youth, Women and Labour graced this occasion