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The 2018 Civil Peace Service (CPS) partners network meeting of the Mano River annual forum with the theme ‘’Networking and Collaboration for National Social Cohesion’’ brought together partners from Sierra Leone, Berlin and Liberia the host country in November, 2018.

As these two countries in the Mano River Union (Sierra Leone and Liberia) had a peaceful political transition of power, it was important for the CPS partners to have an in-depth look into how networking and collaboration can have a positive effect on National Social Cohesion. This was done by having a country context analysis using the fishbowl approach – looking at the social, cultural, political and economic situation of these two countries which included: Lessons learnt, similarities, differences and common share values in maintaining peace within the Mano River region.

Issues that may serve as threat to peace in the region like: drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, rape, corruption, strict NGO policy, heightened expectations from citizens, divide and rule based on regions, increase in youth’s violence, gender and sexual based violence were highlighted as these two countries shared common borders and are similar in nature.

This forum also gave participants more knowledge on how to develop principles of Networking, knowing Outcome Impact Orientation (OIO) which Is a new phenomenon in the implementation of projects looking at the demand for evidence of effectiveness, and also some challenges in how to make CPS contributions visible to peace, good governance and culture of violence.

Working with young people surviving in difficult circumstances – challenges, opportunities and lessons from the field were part of the presentations made by the YMCA representatives from both countries to the forum.

The concept of ‘Do No Harm’ practice in the operational areas of partnering organizations was also discussed as a tool of maintaining peace in our communities.

Head of the Berlin team Claudia Frank talked about the roles and responsibilities of the CPS National Coordinators of both countries and assured the network partners of BftW’s support to peace work, as development can only strived in an atmosphere of sustainable peace and national cohesion.

Executive Secretary of SLADEA Bamike Williams presented over 40 copies of “On the Move” DVDs to the National Adult Education of Liberia on behalf of his organization.

Next year 2019 CPS annual network meeting will be held in Sierra Leone.

Submitted by:

Leonard J. Bundeh
Interim Chairman (Freetown Branch)

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