Two East African countries, Kenya and Uganda, have experienced the pain of British colonization. The joy of independence was short, and there were a lot of victims in some many areas due to constant conflicts. Years later, the situation continues.

However, despite such circumstances, voices wishing for peace in Africa are coming from all over the world without exempting the African continent.

Kenya and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launched a peace campaign on June 18 ahead of the general elections to be held on August 9.

A Peacebuilding Case in Mindanao, the Philippines

“The campaign is aimed at promoting the responsibility of all stakeholders for peaceful elections,” said Mandisa Mashologu, an acting resident representative of the UNDP Kenya.

“We seek to increase inclusiveness and youth participation in the election process so that not one would be alienated,” she added.

A festival to raise awareness of Africa’s ongoing armed conflict took place in Uganda.

Africa Peace Zones said that “Africa holds the key to building a nonviolent continent,” organizing a weekend peace conference in Uganda to support the African Union’s mission. And that “Africa’s strongest characteristics, such as tolerance, kindness, resilience, and resolution, are the basis of negotiation, mediation and reconciliation.

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 17 goals for global members to achieve by 2030, of which SDG16 has a key goal of peace, justice, and inclusion.

Now that the global community is striving to promote a peaceful and inclusive society for sustainable development, provide judicial access for all, and establish an effective and inclusive system at all levels, we introduce the peace process achieved by a non-governmental organization in Mindanao, the Philippines.

This is what people around the world said when they saw the land of death, where more than 120,000 people died in the bloody conflict over 40 years.

Mindanao had the largest armed conflict in Southeast Asia, where Malaysian, Japanese, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and British governments supported the peace process to mediate the conflict between the government and the MILF, but all of them did not end the conflict, and many thought peace was impossible.

However, in January 2014, the HWPL, an NGO registered with the UN Economic and Social Council, visited Mindanao for reconciliation and cooperation at the civil society level for long-term peace.

In 2014, the HWPL signed a peace agreement between Mindanao’s local leaders and non-governmental organizations, calling for an end to the conflict and cooperation for peace.

Even after the civilian peace agreement, efforts for sustainable peace in Mindanao are continuing as a peace project based on cooperation between the government and non-governmental organizations to strengthen citizens’ sense of peace, including peace education and peace activities.

The solution drawn by the international community to Mindanao, one of the largest bloody conflict zones in Southeast Asia in the 21st century, was to have the world-state-region connected and have citizens participate in peace.

At the 8th anniversary of 1.24 HWPL Peace Day held on Jan. 24 this year, KGI CEO Danilo Mosin who experienced the brutality of the war while living in Mindanao, the Philippines as a child and witnessing the 40-year conflict between Catholics and Muslims, said “Eight years ago, Lee Man-hee, the representative of the HWPL, visited Mindanao to mediate the peace agreement, so today we can celebrate this amazing peace day with HWPL. Now, the meaning of ‘January 24th Peace Day’ is spreading not only in the Philippines but also in the hearts of everyone in the world.”

“I’ve been working with the mindset that peace (in the Philippines) will come,” he said adding, “As soon as I met the chairman Lee Man-hee and HWPL, we clicked.” Since 2017, I have been working with the HWPL to spread peace in Mindanao. “Last year, we built the HWPL’s third peace monument in the (Philippines) city where Christian, Muslim, and Native communities coexist,” he said.

“If it was notorious as a place of conflict before, it is now a place of peace for all ethnic groups,” he added.

Chairman Lee said in a congratulatory speech to mark the eighth anniversary, “I have transcended both borders and religions for the sake of global peace.”

“Nothing is greater than peace, nothing is more important than a legacy.January 24, 2014, I remember everything that day, God blessed us, what happened then was a happy and joyful peace work,” he said.

As in Mindanao’s case, HWPL is creating peace activities that link the cooperation of all citizens (government, schools, media, youth, women, religion, civil society, etc.), which is considered a new approach as part of efforts to establish peace as a culture and norm.

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

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