In August, 2016, 72 Africa with funding from the International Republican Institute (with original funding from the National Endowment for Democracy), held a three-day interfaith peace summit in Tamale, Ghana. This summit brought together youth, women, community, and religious leaders from the three northern regions of Ghana. During this summit, regional groups discussed how they could “wage peace” in their communities in the buildup to Ghana’s national elections in December. The goals of the summit were to create a dialogue among the attendees to identify root causes and issues behind the increased tensions and violence in the area and to help the attendees work together to identify solutions to conflicts that are both peaceful and achievable.
At the Tamale summit, participants were introduced to the idea of waging peace — that peace is something that must be actively built and sustained. Participants also heard from an expert in Abrahamic religions about the commonalities of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths. They discussed the power of this message of commonality for creating bridges in their communities. Participants also worked in regional groups to identify the true root causes of conflict in their respective regions and to develop action plans for engaging collectively within their communities for the purpose of cultivating peaceful environments.
Since the summit, many of these action plans have been implemented as participants have been actively involved in organizing peace-promotion activities in their local communities.