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Photo credit:Grow Malawi

Collective and inclusive dialogue platforms are crucial in the prevention and reduction of violence and conflict in societies. As Malawi prepares for the 2019 Tripartite Elections, such dialogue platforms are key in ensuring sustained peace, democracy and good governance. While involvement in politics is a critical issue, too often, young people around the world have been affected by intra or inter-party clashes.

The National Peace Architecture Secretariat under the Office of the President and Cabinet - in partnership with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) -saw a great need to introduce the National Youth Peace Forum (NYPF), to among other issues - transform youths from various backgrounds and regions to play a positive role of catalyst of peace building in the country.

Therefore, to ensure that these youths have adequate knowledge and skills to enable them to embark on these peace-building campaigns, a workshop was organised from 3rd to 5th July 2018, by the implementing partners at Victoria Hotel in the commercial city of Blantyre.

The goal was to ensure that the NYPF Executive Committee and the members from the regions were empowered and provided with the necessary skills to start their activities as peace-builders and negotiators in the country.

Providing the crucial knowledge to the youth during the workshop were mentors from the National Peace Architecture (NPA) Secretariat, UNDP representatives, National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM), and a representation from the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Development.

Their presentations were on Conflict Analysis and Management, Early Conflict Warnings and Responses, the Importance of Advocacy and Volunteerism and the Legal and Policy Frameworks of the country.

"During the workshop, we learnt that the country might be deemed peaceful, but that peace can vanish within day.  Therefore, as youths, we ought to value and always work to ensure the sustainability of the peaceful environment we have now. I was not aware that as a young person, I had a role to play in contributing to peace," said one of the youths who attended the workshop.

During the workshop, the youth came up with their plan of activities for the year that is expected to guide them to reach all parts of the country with their messages.

Meanwhile, Malawians are being urged to join hands with the NYPF as it embarks on its journey of sustaining peace in the country.

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