A GNA Feature by Jesse Owusu Ampah
The Youth for Peace and Security Africa (YPSA) is presenting new hope in ending bloody and intractable conflicts in Ghana and Africa.
This is a time of rising threats of violent conflicts, destructive engagements of the youth in conflicts and elections, high cost of conflict managements, and the decline in effective peacebuilding efforts.
What is YPSA?
Founded by Abraham Korbla Klutsey, the YPSA was born out of a passionate concern for the damage violent and bloody conflicts have caused many innocent lives, women and children, and property on the African continent.
The Organisation was registered in Ghana in 2012 as a non-profit entity with a vision of a ‘Safe and developed Africa’ with the slogan ‘making Africa safer for better development.’
The mechanism used by YPSA, in its procedures, time, strategies and psychology, ensures that there is a minimal to zero financial cost of peacekeeping missions, no danger to the lives of peacemakers, and there is a prompt action to prevent injuries, loss of lives, and damage to property.
YPSA, with its operational objectives, engages the inhabitants of communities in a coordinated network, equips them with basic skills and responsibilities to prevent and resolve violent and bloody conflicts and crimes in their own communities.
Because the people live in the communities, it comes at no extra cost and danger acting as peacemakers.
They, therefore, maintain peace promptly, safely, effectively, and inexpensively. When people feel involved in the process, they stay involved for the long term.
Impact of YPSA
In 2013, the tension and violence in the century-old Alavanyo and Nkonya bloody conflict in the northern-Volta of Ghana was high again.
The fresh growing threats of violent clashes, arsons, injuries, kidnaps, and murder in the bush and the communities were affecting education, health service delivery, farming and trading.
YPSA responded to help the people to lay down the foundation for a lasting peace and also to prove the efficacy of its underlining operational mechanism in preventing and resolving violent conflicts.
The Organisation led a team from Accra, the capital of Ghana and the base of YPSA, to go camping in the conflict ravaged communities of Alavanyo and Nkonya for over a year, 2013 to 2015.
The project, which was self-funded by YPSA, engaged the chiefs and elders of the traditional areas, the youth groups and associations, the Volta Regional Coordinating Council, the Volta Regional Peace Council, the Police and the Military on peacekeeping mission, the Biakoye District Assembly, and the Hohoe Municipal Assembly.
While camping in the communities, the team investigated the roots and the driving factors in the violent conflict.
That helped the team to understand and segregate the varied interests, threats, concerns and fears of the people.
The team, then, initiated coordinated networks of the people in both towns. People, who in revenge were likely to go and attack a rival community, were part of this network in the peace process.
Internal reconciliation processes started to heal victims of the conflicts and with the active inclusion of the people, a roadmap was drawn for a lasting peace and development to end the conflicts.
The progressive successes returned hope of a lasting peace to the people. The details of the project were documented in a book authored by the founder Abraham Klutsey, entitled, “Peace Building at the Edge of Death,” listed on amazon.com.
The Biakoye District Assembly, in a recommendation letter dated July 1, 2014 highlighted the major progress and success made during the project.
The Council of State of Ghana in 2015 made findings into the project and concluded in it reports that YPSA had the capacity and the potential to make a useful contribution towards resolving the conflict.
In 2016, the leader of the team, Abraham Klutsey was presented with a Ghana Peace Award. In 2016 and 2018, he was invited by ECOWAS-GIABA to participate in efforts towards tackling terrorism and financial crimes in West-Africa.
These were held in the Republic of Benin and Senegal. The leader of the team was also invited in 2020 by the Small Arms and Lights Weapons Commission of Ghana to a forum on tackling proliferation of arms in Ghana.
In the 2020 General Election of Ghana, the Organisation launched the project “Stop the Violence before It Happens,” and recruited “Safety and Peace Ambassadors” throughout the country to prevent electoral violence in their communities.
Currently, this year, 2021, YPSA has initiated a project in the Alavanyo and Nkonya communities to expand, strengthen, and train the existing networks to make sure violence never returns even if issues remain unsolved.
YPSA, through its networks, now has members and volunteers in over 25 African countries. The Organisation has branches registered in Ethiopia and Nigeria.
It believes Africa can attain social stability and development if the vision and resources of the youth are harnessed to prevent and resolve violent and bloody conflicts.