(Based on data from 80 national organizations from Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Tchad, Togo and Uganda, as well as regional organizations including the Organisation Panafricaine des Femmes and the Federation of African Women’s Peace Networks, which have member organizations in many states).

PROGRESS: When looking at the entire continent of Africa, some accounts tend to be negative. For example, “Long-drawn wars, the type we had in Rwanda/Burundi in the last decade of the last decade of the last century were not commonplace in the first half of this decade. But the Darfour crisis, sporadic wars like skirmishes in West Africa and increasing displacement of people due to socio-political problems in many African countries nearly tend to suggest that many African societies are pushing more towards violence than they are towards a culture of peace. Obstacles include existence of violence-inducing situations which are mainly socio-economic... oil in Nigeria's Niger-Delta, diamond in Liberia/Sierra Leone, land in Rwanda/Burundi; and in various communal clashes that have broken out in Nigeria.” Other views are more positive. For example, “In Africa, in country after country, advances result from the peoples’ demands for a model of democracy founded on a State of rights, the efforts of promotion, of economic, cultural and social integration, both sub-regional and regional, the engagement of new authorities materialized by NEPAD (New Partnership for the Development of Africa) of which the fundamental principle is good governance.”

When looking at local situations where organizations are active, except for two accounts from Somalia and the Niger Delta, the accounts are mostly positive. A Nigerian organization writes, “There has been tremendous progress towards a culture of peace in my state especially this year that is mid of the decade. The indicators to measure this progress are, 1. People returning to their homes after fleeing due to incidents of gun battles that occurred in those domains. 2. Economic activities resuming. 3. The youths that were at each others throat, publicly embracing each other and swearing an oath that the hostilities would not return. 4. The state government diverting their attention to developmental activities and utilizing funds to pursue developmental activities.”

An organization from Ghana writes, “We have been successful bringing about peace between three rural and tropical villages in Ghana. They have also been educated on the importance of tolerance ... The communities now meet together to discuss development issues which was non existent previously as there were conflict and litigation.”

From the Democratic Republic of the Congo: “Despite the armed violence and other forms of violence that afflicted our country, R.D.Congo, we can see ... the actions of civil society in

the search for a lasting peace and culture of non-violence. Our work was difficult for the period ranging between 1998-2004 during which we passed from intimidation to dialogue, from violence to mediation between the various parties in conflict... ”

And from Burundi: “A remarkable progress has been recorded in the culture of peace and non-violence in Burundi. …our new-look concept ‘mine clearance of the spirit’ … has and continues to allow, through appropriate actions, the uprooting of any sort of division and hatred, mutual acceptance and progressive reconciliation. With the campaigns undertaken since the end of 2004 on this concept of mine clearance of the spirits, more than 500 Burundian organizations and personalities adhered to the campaign against land mines ‘in the spirit’ of people, as well as anti-personnel land mines.”

Youth are taking the lead: “In the schools, one notes the creation of clubs for peace and clubs for human rights.” More than half of the organizations reporting are specifically run by youth and dedicated to youth. A typical example by a youth organization: “Peace building and conflict resolution activities were conducted among the youth at the grass root levels through participatory methodology.” And a special case: “We were able to reach more than 100,000 people with a message of peace by use of a camel caravan ...”

Leadership is also taken by the women’s organizations, at the international level, as mentioned at the top of this page, as well as national and local levels.

OBSTACLES: The chief obstacles mentioned by almost everyone are lack of funding and technical support, including means of transport and Internet facilities. Another issue is “poor level of collaboration or networks among NGOs.”

The media is often mentioned as an obstacle: “Media were unwilling to support the campaign and those that did demanded money from the campaigners to cover the event;” and it promotes violence: “the proliferation of video games and local cinema halls diffusing violent films all day long.” One organization has dealt with this directly: “We have engaged one person (a journalist) in each of the press houses in order to train them. Once trained, the journalists often write articles in their press about non-violence and the environment - and we do the same for those responsible for television broadcasts.”

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