To contribute to peace and reconciliation among young people in the post-war region of Gety in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Province of the Anglican Church of Congo (Province de l'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo) is organising a regional youth training seminar.
The event, taking place 6 to 9 April in the city of Bunia, aims to encourage youth leaders to be “tools of peace” in their communities. The organisers plan to involve around 60 people from the Diocese of Boga and other Christian churches.
“We want peace-building to be part of our daily life, because people still have post war trauma. We need the young people to be wise,” explains the Revd Bisoke Balikenga, the provincial youth coordinator for the Anglican Church of Congo and one of the training organisers.
Reconciliation in DR Congo regions affected by intermittent civil war is an essential part of the Anglican Church’s work. “There are many different tribes. There is conflict among families, and many people are fighting for power, also in the church. Young people are the future of the church and the community needs to be reconciled,” says Mr Balikenga.
The idea of providing training and support to youth came as a response to political groups abusing young people from rural areas. Their object was to incite intolerance and violence towards their opponents. “Politicians give them [youth] some money, a weapon and some alcohol,” said Mr Balikenga, describing the tactics used by political groups to attract followers.
The organisers of the youth event in Bunia are determined to seek the best ways to empower youth leaders to use available resources and educate their peers, share spirituality and create awareness of political processes.
Youth capacity building is part of the Anglican Church’s long term youth work and similar seminars are being planned in other parts of DR Congo.