The Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Bamenda commemorated the Day of the African Child in Mbessa on the 6th June 2012 instead of the 16th of June, in order to meet and celebrate with the children and their teachers in school before they go on vacationand also to mark the end of a monitoring and evaluation exercise from which lessons learnt will be replicated in other communities and at a higher level. It took the form of a Peace Competition on the theme, ‘Children Agents of Peace’. We decided to work on this theme for obvious reasons; Mbessa is one of the several communities in the North West Region in a post-conflict situation, transiting to a stable community.
Our contribution to this transition in Mbessa is children-centered through a pilot project we carefully designed to meet the needs of the Primary and Secondary School children with their teachers as mentors, - the Peace Education Program. The program was aimed at enabling pupils and students to acquire positive skills and attitudes for the promotion of peace and non-violent transformation of conflicts in the environment and the country at large. It was not an additional subject in the school curriculum but an effort to mainstream peace building in their lessons.
The event was focused on pupils of Primary Schools in Mbessa with whom we have been working for the current academic year. It comprised of Arts and Drawing competition, singing, sketches/role plays and other interesting exercises drawn from 4 Articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Articles 2 (Non-discrimination), 13 (Freedom of expression), 18 (Parental responsibilities) and 28 (Right to education). In response to this, the children were awarded prizes to boost them up and were treated to a common meal with all the invitees/participants.