Prosper works for Conciliation Resources’ partner organisation, Association pour l’Action Humanitaire en Centrafrique (AAHC). He works with young people, including those associated with armed groups, to strengthen youth participation in peacebuilding. As a result of his work with AAHC, over 600 young people have learnt important skills such as how to run community dialogue sessions, mediate between opposing parties and advocate for support from local and prefectural authorities.
My role is very varied. I am in charge of staff, finance, activity monitoring and planning, as well as managing the direction of the organisation.
Alongside Conciliation Resources, we have been working with young people living in areas heavily affected by displacement and insecurity in Bossangoa. We’ve trained young people in peacebuilding skills including how to identify and analyse conflicts in their community, develop action plans for addressing these conflicts, and how to put the action plans into practice in their everyday life.
A typical day looks like…
I live 1km from the office and I either walk or I hire a motorbike to make the journey. Once in the office, I check in with my staff and any urgent tasks. In my office there is no internet, so I have to go to partner organisation offices nearby to connect and get an update to plan my day.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been working with the young people to adapt their conflict analysis and action plans to factor in new challenges arising from a potential outbreak in their communities. I have organised meetings with health officials to map likely areas of COVID-19 hotspots and have created new conflict mapping resources.
I often represent AAHC at the prefectoral and regional level, and have meetings with local officials. Improving the relationships between local authorities and young people is vital for ensuring long lasting peace.
Why I do what I do
In my family I already worked as a peacebuilder. I solved conflicts between my family and friends. I was known as a social counsellor, so working in peacebuilding comes naturally to me because of my strengths. My work helps to fulfil my desire of reconciling people.
Why young people in particular? I started by working with young people in my Church. Working with kids, you need to have a particular character and attitude. In the Central African Republic, many of today’s young people have grown up knowing only conflict but they have not been invited to take part in building peace.
One thing I wish I’d known when I started out
To work for peace, you need to change your attitude and be in peace with yourself and your neighbours before preaching peace to others. Tolerance was not in my diet before but I now know that I have to be the change I want to see in others.
If there was an extra hour in the day…
I would use extra time to improve myself either through reading and learning, or more exercise. My free time is currently limited and I use it to read the Bible.
In five years’ time I hope...
I will still be working as a peace ambassador in CAR!
I believe people living in Bossangoa will have changed their mentality – including young people, who will not be interested in engaging with armed groups. Currently, many people choose to associate with armed groups because of ignorance. In five years’ time they will be at peace.
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The Central African Republic (CAR) has had a long and turbulent history of violent conflict and political instability. Since the most recent crisis erupted in 2013 huge efforts have been made to pull the country back from the brink of armed conflict.