The Global Network of Religious for Children (GNRC Africa) conducted a one-day peace building workshop in Hargeisa, Somaliland in partnership with The Somaliland Association for Youth Salvation SAYS at the Imperial Hotel, Hargeisa on 15th March 2008.
Thirty young people (15 boys and 15 girls) aged between 13 to 18 years were invited from five elementary schools namely Fadumo-Bihi, Ali Jama, Alifdoon, Ma’alin Daud and Shiek Ali Osman elementary schools in the districts around Hargeisa.
The objectives of the workshop were to provide peace building training sessions to young people ;to urge young people to participate in the process of peace building at all levels; to remind them about the most common types of conflict and the various methodologies of resolution and to give these young participants the desire to become role models in the area of peace building. The training methodology was a mixture of brainstorming, lecturing, group work, and role playing. The output of the training was- thirty young people in the elementary schools trained on some concepts of conflict resolution and peace building who returned to their respective schools with skills as peace makers. They also agreed to form peace clubs in their respective schools.
The executive director of SAYS Mr. Mohamed Askar introduced SAYS and its role in the development of youth in Somaliland and encouraged the young participants to actively mobilize and improve their communities through peace building. GNRC was also introduced to the participants and It was noted that the primary concern of GNRC Africa was to help foster a culture of peace especially among children and the youth Prof. Ahmed Saban facilitated the workshop. Major sessions covered in the workshop included the definition of peace; factors that undermine peace; understanding conflict; relationship between interests and behavior; the conflict cycle; possible responses to situations of conflict; beliefs, perceptions and social values. The young participants digested these sessions respectively and committed themselves to sharing this message with their peers and integrate these important lessons into their lives.
Somali proverbs relating to the peace building were also used in the workshop e.g. “Waddad arimiya, waayeel taliya iyo wiil aqbala” meaning- if the people take the advice from each other, they will keep the peace together. “Hadii laba maroodi is dilaan dooguunbaa dhamaada” meaning- if people fight with each other, the environment is destroyed. A famous Somali artists and poet named Ahmed Suleiman Bide also visited the workshop and reminded the young participants on the importance of peace.
The workshop enhanced the interaction among and between youths from different regions in Hargeisa, Somaliland and created awareness in their role in peace-building.