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Africa's Centre for Prevention of Mass Atrocities: Never Again

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Michael Opondo

THE STORY:

This is the story of Africa, where nearly half of the continent’s 53 countries are home to an active conflict or a recently ended one; Add together the casualties in just the dozen countries, and you have a death toll of tens of thousands of civilians each year. Our powers of empathy, our ability to reach into each others' hearts cannot penetrate the blank stares of those who murder innocents with abstract, serene satisfaction but it is that courage that Africa most desperately needs. The truth of the situation is that the humanitarian crises in the African civil conflicts do not occur by chance, and do not as a by-product of a chaotic environment. It is directed and meticulously carried out, and early action both in terms of strong diplomacy and citizenry engagement can have strong impact in their prevention (Humanitarian crises and mass atrocities). The case example are the two latest conflicts in Burundi and in South Sudan, which have a chance of recurring again if no proactive actions are taken. The Jill Cannon Associates hereby plans to establish a Centre for the Prevention of Mass Atrocities (CPMA) to be headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. This is planned to involve students, graduate and undergraduate levels, in the development and management of major research and capacity building programs focused on: -Strategic management and analysis of and for societies facing conflict and post-conflict reconstruction issues; -Integrating and expanding horizontal networking capacities, positively, amongst the citizen population; -Using environmental/contextual scanning to innovate on neglected frontiers. The core of the ACPMA will be the Training of Trainers (ToT) approach involving the training of individuals and teams to implement psycho-social conflict and post-conflict interventions in Africa This approach is effective as it initiates a ‘cascade of training’ in which master-trainers teach knowledge intervention techniques, activities and/or skills to trainees, who become trainers, and then teach this knowledge to others. The cascade forms as each trained group has its capacity raised to the point where it can inform another group, who can inform the next group. Objectives: 1) Promote and reinforce shared national values; to create space for free and open debate; and to listen to and support mainstream voices; 2) Break down existing segregation in communication amongst the structures within the national societies for an all-inclusive wider engagement; 3) Develop a toolkit to provide a resource for advice and guidance for vulnerable citizens. This is to ensure a sustainable structure post the capacity building training itself; 4) Ensure the citizens are aware of their roles and responsibilities in preventing further politically motivated civil strife/conflicts. Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions. This has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose . We seek the unity of hope, affection and higher purpose. For $1 (The price of a Candy bar), you'll have helped this cause forward. Thank you.

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