The National Peace Council (NPC) has launched a project that aims to enhance the capacity of 200 women and youth in the Bono and Greater Accra regions to prevent and counter violent extremism and terrorism in the country.
The six-month project named “Preventing Violent Extremism: The Gender Perspective and Women’s Role”, would be undertaken in seven communities, in collaboration with the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).
The beneficiaries would be drawn from Ashaiman, Madina, Mamobi, Newtown, Nima, Odododiodoo, and Techiman where there is a history of electoral violence, high population density and cosmopolitan nature, and gangsterism, streetism, vigilantism and landguard.
Additionally, the suburbs were chosen because of the high penetration of economic activities in the areas due to the presence of populated market centres that make them vulnerable.
At the launch held yesterday in Accra, the NPC Board Chairman, Reverend Dr Ernest Adu Gyamfi, said the project would train a new generation of women and peace activists to actively promote peace and help prevent and counter violent extremism in their communities.
He said the 2022 Global Peace Index had confirmed the threat of violent extremism and terrorism in West Africa, and though Ghana was enjoying the accolades as the most peaceful in the sub region, the possibilities of insurgencies in neighbouring countries overflowing, should not be discounted.
“Ghana’s place in the sub region as one of the few stable democracies must be jealously guarded to avoid any act that will derail the democratic gains we have collectively achieved over the last three decades,” he said.
Rev. Gyamfi said the project was in line with the mandate of the council to maintain peace in the country by engaging different stakeholders, especially the women, youth who often bore the brunt of the negative impact of the conflicts.
Beyond the project, he said the council would continue to build a stronger and inclusive society which considers the youth as critical players in the peacebuilding efforts.
The Political Counsellor of the Canadian High Commissioner, Grace Lee, said the project was one of the five, sponsored by Canada in Ghana as part of its contribution to peace building and socioeconomic development.
Describing Ghanaian women as a strong force in the society and recognising the important role they played together with the youth, she said it was important that they were not left behind in the fight against terrorism.
“I commend the youth because it’s really through your idealism, your innovation and energy that can inspire the future generations, for your country. So really, the women and their contribution to peace and security is very valuable”, he said.
In a presentation, the Deputy Director of the Conflict Management and Resolution of the NPC, Frank Bodza, said beneficiaries of the project including community and political leaders and persons living with disabilities, would be trained on the vigilantism and related offences Act and other preventive techniques.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR