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  • Clement Ngosong, Open Dreams Pre-Scholar

A connected Commonwealth – Commonwealth Week 2019

“Youth and Women’s Role in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, PCVE” was the theme of the workshop organized by Local Youth Corner alongside the Ministry of External Relations, MINREX and The British High Commission, Yaoundé. This event which took place on February 25th, 2019 brought together over 150 youth leaders to a single conference hall to discuss the most pressing issue in our country; Violent Extremism.

Violent extremism refers to the beliefs and actions of people who support or use ideologically motivated violence to achieve radical ideological, religious or political views. Violent extremist views can be exhibited along a range of issues, including politics, religion and gender relations. “It is not enough to counter violent extremism…. we need to prevent it” - UNESCO

For the first part of the event, the panel of speakers, which cut across major domains in PCVE gave us an in-depth analysis of what Violent Extremism is all about and how Women, Children and the Youth are not just key targets but sometimes actors in Violent Extremism. After the talks, Participants could clearly bring out “push factors” of Violent Extremism. “Summarily, the push factors all narrow down to Identity challenge”, says Achaleke Christian Leke, one of the presenters.

This exciting round of presentations rounded off with a question and answer session which clarified many doubts during the presentation. It then moved to a more engaging session during which the participants were grouped and each given a specific task. The task which I worked on was outlining points which traditional rulers can effectively carry out in order to contribute in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism. Other groups worked on how International Bodies, Civil Society Organizations, the Government and other organizations can collaborate in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.

The five points we produced were added to points from other groups and a policy statement read out by Achaleke Christian in the presence of His Excellency, Mbayu Félix, Minister Delegate at the Ministry of External Relations in charge of Relations with the Commonwealth, and Madam Sharon Ganney, Deputy High Commissioner at the British high commission. His Excellency, Mbayu Félix applauded our early engagement into policy making and assured us that our statements will not remain statements.

The four hour event then ended with the award of certificates to all participants. This was also a short moment for people to connect and network with others in accord with the theme, “A connected Commonwealth”.

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