Peace-building training for religious, civic leaders

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday July 9th, 2013

 MORE than 35 religious and civil society leaders from Pacific islands countries, including Papua New Guinea, attended a training course in peace-building.

Representing non-governmental and faith-based organisations, the Pacific Peace-building Training Intensive (PPTI) course was for the fourth consecutive year at the Pacific Theological College (PTC) in Suva, Fiji.

Participants came from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea (including Bougainville), West Papua, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Nauru, Kiribati, Samoa and American Samoa.

The initiative was a collaborative endeavour of God’s Pacific People (GPP), the Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding (PCP) and the United Nations Development Programme’s Strengthening Capacities for Peace and Development in the Pacific (CPAD) project. 

The training initiative focused on three key components: conflict analysis, trauma healing and conflict resolution skills. Part of the training, this year, also focused on translating and contextualising key concepts and skills to the Pacific region. 

CPAD programme specialist Janet Murdock said the project was a great example of sustainable peace-building. 

“In the first year, UNDP provided financial and technical support for this initiative. But now, it has become a yearly programme exclusively of GPP and PCP,” she said.

“This year’s programme included – for the first time – a training of trainers workshop for seven participants from Fiji, PNG (including Bougainville) and the Solomon Islands. By adding the trainers’ training component, qualified trainers will now be able to design workshops in their countries and communities.” 

Sr Lorraine Garasu, the coordinator of the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation in Bougainville, was one of seven participants who attended this programme. 

“I am already facilitating training in Bougainville but what I found most interesting is learning new skills and tools for facilitating peace building modules. During the workshop, we developed modules around peace building, conflict analysis and resolution, and trauma healing – this is very important for my work in Bougainville,” she said.