The Diocesan Youth Council of Yendi of the Yendi Catholic Diocese, Muslim Youth of Gushegu and Catholic Relief Service (CRS) have organized peace games for 125 Christian and Muslim youth drawn from Yendi and Gushegu.
The games were aimed at fostering peaceful co-existence among different faith groups in the Yendi Diocese and to foster the existing peace held at Gushegu in the Northern Region.
It was also in connection with the International Youth Day Celebration 2021 used to educate the youth on how to keep their environment clean, planting trees, prevention of bush fires and to ensure of peace in the Dioceses in order to address poverty reduction.
Ms Anuru-Yeng Dorcas Akanlugwa Sahel Peace Initiative (SPI) Project officer who addressed them on peace initiative said SPI began when the CRS organized a meeting in Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou) in November 2019.
She said the meeting brought together Bishops, Priest and lay delegates of the Bishops’ conference from Burkina, Niger, Mali, where an increase in violence over the past several years had triggered a new level of desperation including the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ivory Coast and Ghana as the region’s porous borders posed a real risk of the violence spreading to neighbouring countries.
Ms Anuru-Yeng Dorcas said during the two-day meeting in West Africa, the Catholic Church leaders from the five West African countries came together in a first of its kind regional gathering,, where they committed to bringing peace to Sahel as the region was facing increasing violence and conflict leading to humanitarian crisis
She said as the Catholic Relief Services had well-established programmes in the most affected countries of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and in the potentially at risk costal countries of Ghana has three key strategic objectives, overall young people aged 15-35 in Northern Ghana had sustained ability to build cohesive peaceful communities.
She said youth increasingly contributed to the local economy (Vocational Skills Training targeting Yendi and Damongo Diocese), local community support systems strengthened and peaceful co-existence amongst tribal groups rising from resilient roots trainings, peace forum, youth membership which applications are still on-going including; peace games like ludo, cards, oware, draft, eating hanging apples, egg and spoon race.
She said SPI key partners included; Dioceses in the Northern Provence that is Yendi, Wa, Navrongo- Bolgatanga, Damongo and Tamale Archdiocese.
In his welcome address Reverend Father Abraham Wunbeyili Youth Chaplain for Catholic Diocese of Yendi called on Christian and Muslim youth to use the games to educate their communities on co-existence among both Christians and Muslims in order to foster the peace in the Diocese.
Father Wunbeyili urged them to pay attention to whatever education would be given to them on the International Youth Day Celebration 2021 as it was for both Christians and Muslims youth.
He said there was no discrimination in celebrating such occasions and the games peace programme was under the Youth Chaplain Office and Diocesan Youth Council.
Ms Angela Azimah Seidu CRS, Project Officer, Migration and Youth Development touching on the role of the youth in human and planetary health said there was the need for the youth to play roles to make Ghana great by adhering to the environmental cleanliness to abide by sustainable environment by year 2030 the population would increase by two billion according to 2030 agenda.
She said there was the need to plan on poverty reduction, good health inform decision on food health and by providing adequate food system.
She said the pollution, chemicals use on their farms affected their health and as youth they should educate their people on them.
Alhaji Abdul-Ganiwu Seidu, Muslim Clergy reminded them that despite their religious difference they should love one another as Mohammed (SAW) said ‘whoever does not love others will not go to heaven.’
He reminded them that Quran (God) sought peace and whoever seeks conflict and betrays others wrongly would not see heaven irrespective of their religions.
Pastor John Chrikab, Pastor of Assemblies of God Church said in Ephesians 2:11 it is stated that “therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh called the uncircumcision, which is made in the flesh by hand.
He said the Pastors, Fathers and the Imams should not use the Bible and Quran to preach to insult their fellow worshipers in the name of God as that did not foster peace but generated conflict.
He said the only way they could live togetherin peace was to avoid discrimination in faith and the challenges facing the youth was lack of love and respect.
Reverend Fr Benedictus Bau, SVD and Afa Abdul-Ganiyu prayed for the progress of the Youth and Ghana as a whole at the end of the peace games