Monrovia-A two day dialogue forum & training, aimed at combating violent extremism, was held over last weekend at the A’ La Lagoon Resort in Congo Town, Monrovia.The training & dialogue forum, sponsored by GIZ and African Union/CIDO’s iDove project in collaboration with Daughters of Bomi (DOBI) in Liberia brought together participants from Montserrado, Bomi and Margibi Counties respectively.
The Interfaith Dialogue on Violent Extremism (iDove) is an initiative of the African Union, Citizens and Diaspora Directorate (CIDO), Institute of Peace and Security (IPSS)-Africa and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).
The rationale behind this project is to establish a counter movement which emphasizes peaceful and educational messages; touch upon contentious religious matters; provide space for dialogue; identify, compare and contrast the root causes emanating from the different countries, regions or continents i.e. developmental & sociopolitical issues in both Africa and Europe.
In addition, this approach will as well require security and developmental stakeholders to put into consideration local and international faith based organizations/institutions as key drivers of peace building, sustainable development and reconciliation.
According to the Co-Founder of DOBI, Rexandria Benson-Nyantee, the project is a direct result of a training of trainers she attended alongside leaders from Europe and Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this year.
Speaking at the official opening of the training / dialogue forum, the Executive Director of Young Peace Builders, Sierra-Leone, Herbert B. Bangura, called on the participants to unite around humanity. “Let’s protect the future as young people,” he said. “Don’t allow religion to be used to incite hate.”
Also speaking at the opening was Executive Director for the Organization of Women and Children, Mmonbeydo Harrell who admonished participants be open minded when tackling violent extremism.
Violent extremism is becoming a problem in many places on the continent. A year or two ago, armed men attacked a resort in the Ivory Coast, killing scores of westerners and Ivoirians alike, raising eyebrows that Liberia, one of the few western hotspot countries in the sub-region could become next – a situation which Mrs. Nyantee dreads.
It can be recalled that the British Embassy issued a travel alert for its citizens in Liberia, causing a further panic amongst many Liberians and westerners alike.
Also present providing technical support was Chris Haarbeck, a co-trainer from GIZ.