In Cameroon, Divina and her organization Children for Peace are fighting against violence. Via her workshops she wants to prevent children from being recruited for armed extremist groups. Click here to find out more about these groups and Divina’s project.
What did Divina do?
Divina organized two workshops in mosques, to make children aware of the risks and consequences of joining the violent groups.
Both workshops focused on different themes regarding violence. The first workshop was about the children’s right to education, and why education is especially important to their fight against violence. During the second workshop, the focus was on the children’s rights to safety, and preventing children to join (or being forced to join) extremist groups.
All participants were boys and girls between 9 and 20 years old.
How did it go?
Both workshops went well. The workshops were given with the help of t-shirts that were handed out to all the participants. The t-shirt had a cartoon printed on it that illustrated a terrorist handing a weapon to a child. He is telling the child he will be a hero if he uses it, on which the child answers that you are not a hero when you kill people.
The children indicated that they disapprove violence, and that they want to share this message with their community. They understand the negative consequences that come with joining an extremist group, or becoming a child soldier.
How did Divina make an impact?
As a result of the workshops the children understand what extremism is, and how they can help as peacebuilders. They developed more self-confidence, and can therefore share their message to their family and community. In this way, peace keeps coming a bit closer.
What was the hardest?
The budget was higher than they had planned. The printed T-shirts turned out to be much more expensive than they had anticipated. Next to that, it turned out that a lot of participants did not speak French, meaning they had to hire a translator. This was an expense they had not accounted for.
Extremist violence and involving children is still a big issue. Many children have already given up their fight, so it is very important to give them hope again. Divina is far from finished with her fight, and will continue to take action.