UNFPA holds stakeholder inception meeting on peacebuilding project in Bongo

By Gilbert Azeem Tiroog

May 24, GNA – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has held a stakeholder inception meeting on a peacebuilding project aimed at promoting social cohesion in Bongo in the Upper East Region.

Dubbed “Peace Building Fund (PBF)”, the two-year project is in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with coordination support from the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Office.

It is aimed at preventing and addressing the root causes of localized and spillover conflicts and vulnerabilities to violent extremism in Northern Ghana, particularly in the Upper East, Upper West, and North East Regions.

The project also focused on empowering local governance institutions, actors, and customary governance structures to ensure inclusive governance and enable functional spaces for dialogue and mediation for conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

The project is benefitting three communities in the Bongo District namely Feo, Soe, and Namoo.

Madam Selina Owusu, the National Gender Analyst, UNFPA, speaking at the inception meeting on the theme “Enhancing social cohesion and social contract through the empowerment of women and youth in the three Regions of the North”, believed the project would contribute significantly to strengthen social cohesion in beneficiary communities and beyond.

Madam Owusu noted that because of tensions over unresolved chieftaincy and land disputes, coupled with the country’s porous borders exposing border communities to the Sahel crisis the people, especially the youth, were vulnerable to violent extremists.

That, she highlighted, made it crucial for the people to be sensitized to build a social bond among them to guard themselves against radicalization.

Madam Owusu who doubled as the Focal Person for the project underscored that ensuring peaceful coexistence and harmonious environment among the varied people in the communities would advance development and help alleviate the vulnerable groups, including women and children from poverty and suffering.

“The development of every community is hinged on peace, and that is what this project is seeking to achieve: to foster inclusive dialogue and promote peace for sustainable development by enhancing the agency of the youth and women to contribute to local governance,” she added.

She, therefore called on relevant stakeholders such as the Regional Coordinating Council, traditional authorities, youth group leaders, and community members, to play critical roles to strengthen the prevailing peace and prevent spillover of activities of violent extremists.

Alhaji Ibrahim Habila, District Coordinating Director, Bongo District Assembly, reiterated that, as a key stakeholder, the Assembly would ensure the implementation of the project to enhance peace for development.

Naba Azaare Anye-Naba, Chief of Feo community, thanked the UNFPA and its partners for working to foster peace in the communities, adding that “a peaceful environment would help attract investors to enhance development.”