Community conflict prevention in Burkina Faso: Customary authorities build their capacities

Published on 14/01/2022 | La rédaction

Burkina Faso

The National Observatory for the Prevention and Management of Community Conflicts (ONAPREGECC) is organizing a training session on the prevention and resolution of community conflicts for customary and religious leaders on January 13 and 14, 2022 in Koudougou. This activity benefits from the financial and technical support of the Union fraternelle des croyants (UFC-Dori), through its "Pro_DIVE" project. The opening ceremony was chaired on Thursday by the representative of the Governor of the Centre-West region, Daouda Traoré.

Burkina Faso, once considered a country of peace and social cohesion, has for some years been confronted with community conflicts related to customary chieftaincy, politics, religion, and especially the exploitation of natural resources. These communal conflicts are undermining the way people live together and are nullifying development efforts. In light of these disastrous consequences, the government created the National Observatory for the Prevention and Management of Community Conflicts (ONAPREGECC) in 2015.

Aware of the preponderant role of religious and customary leaders in the preservation of social values of peace, harmony and living together, ONAPREGECC deemed it necessary to strengthen their capacities in view of the security situation which tends to amplify community tensions.

This 48-hour session, which began on Thursday, January 13, 2022, is expected to equip these customary and religious leaders on the mechanism for dealing with community conflicts and to increase their involvement in peace building. They came from the Central-East, Central Plateau, Sahel, North and Central-West regions.

The representatives of ONAPREGECC from each region concerned were associated with this meeting of giving and receiving. At the opening ceremony, the Secretary General of the Centre-West region, Daouda Traoré, expressed the thanks of the Governor toAt the opening ceremony, the Secretary General of the Centre-West Region, Daouda Traoré, expressed her thanks to ONAPREGECC for this initiative and invited the participants to take an active part in the work in order to better understand their role and especially to strengthen their capacities in the prevention and management of community conflicts. "Today, these are approaches that require a lot of tact. It is not easy for everyone to negotiate when it comes to community conflicts," said Mr. Traoré.

He took the opportunity to present the types of community conflicts present in the Central West Region. He cited, among others, conflicts between farmers and herders, and religious conflicts. Another aspect no less important, such as political conflicts, was noted. The management of these conflicts, the SG said, is generally ensured by the regional and provincial observatories of conflict management, especially in villages and sectors.

Speaking about the modules that will be taught to participants during this training, the permanent secretary of ONAPREGECC, Korotimi Kaboré, said that "it is a question of that "it will be essentially a matter of presenting the mechanism of ONAPREGECC to the different participants; to come back to the different factors thatIt will also look at the different techniques for analyzing community conflicts, because when we talk about conflicts, we often need a certain number of techniques that allow us to understand these community conflicts and to be able to proceed with the best resolutions. These modules will be led by SP/ONAPREGECC executives.

The participants welcomed this initiative, which according to Naaba Sigri, "comes at the right time because from time to time, our living together is deteriorating. We need to have the necessary tools to bring back peace at the level of groups, ethnic groups, politics and to reinforce social cohesion.

These tools require knowledge. We must therefore master what we have to do". He also gave this testimony to give a more concrete idea of what could be the role of a customary authority in the management of a community conflict: "every day, before the colonial period, it is our job to judge, to forgive, to seek to mediate communally or individually so that people live in peace".

The present training session benefits from the financial and technical support of the Union fraternelle des croyants (UFC-Dori), through its project "Pro_DIVE". The main objective of this project, according to the coordinator of the UFC-Dori, Ramdé François, is to promote peace and living together in Burkina Faso. It is strongly implemented in two regions of Burkina but not exclusively. These are the regions of the Sahel and the North.


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