Communities Affected by Conflict Pledge to Promote Peace
Port Moresby – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) continues to work with local authorities in Southern Highlands and Hela provinces to empower women and youth, establish the resilience of local communities at risk of displacement from human-induced and natural hazards and sustain peace in the areas.
With the financial support from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, IOM is empowering local communities, including women and youth from Mapata, Pira (Southern Highlands), Tenggo, Idawi, and Papeli (Hela), to nurture and implement community peace and development plans (CPDPs). As part of its interventions, IOM enhanced the peacebuilding knowledge and skills of 44 women, men, and youth from the target communities. Local authorities in Southern Highlands province were also equipped with the knowledge to sustain peace and promote community-driven development through training on inclusive peacebuilding and development planning.
Held from 17-21 October in Mt. Hagen town, the training brought together community members from Mapata and Pira, as well as officials from Kagua-Erave district and Aiya local level government in Southern Highlands province.
The training covered various topics, including the root causes and negative consequences of conflict, the participation of women and youth in peacebuilding and sustainable development, and risk reduction measures that could help contribute to building community resilience.
“We need more of this kind of training for our community members. The knowledge we received through this training will help reduce violence in the communities,” said Pastor Francis Benny, CPDP training participant. Pastor Benny noted that more people, especially youth, should be targeted with the training that helps promote peace.
Participants upskilled by IOM on peacebuilding and development will co-facilitate the 5-day community planning sessions with IOM and jointly draft the CPDPs. Also, they are expected to provide the capacity building training for members of their communities, including women and youth, on peacebuilding and development planning with knowledge they acquired from the training.
Two conflicted groups, including their leaders, known as ‘warlords,’ also participated in the training, agreeing to peacefully resolve their differences and work collectively towards the improvement of their community to sustain peace.
“We have been fighting, and we all know that this is not good. From now onwards, let us go back and work together. Caring for one another is what our culture promotes,” said Mary Wapi, a local community member.
“We do not want to fight anymore. You will remember that we committed ourselves to reconciliation at the time IOM visited our community,” noted a community leader and CPDP training participant, Robert Tawe. “We will work together and develop our plan. This is our commitment to promoting peace.”
Implemented under the “Preventing Climate-Induced Conflicts Through Empowered Women Leadership” project, the interventions by IOM include delivering training for inclusive community facilitation teams, co-facilitating with trained community members community-level planning sessions to draft the CPDPs, and implementing the drafted plans.
The Preventing Climate-Induced Conflicts Through Empowered Women Leadership project is part of the United Nations Highlands Joint Programme.