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IOM Supports CAR Peace Campaign In Bangui

The traditional dance group Wandara contributes to Bangui peace-building efforts.

Since 15 July IOM has been supporting local artists in the Central African Republic (CAR) to kick off a campaign called “Peace Comes from You”. The campaign was rolled out in the conflict-affected 5th District of the capital Bangui and is part of IOM’s European Union-funded Community Stabilization Programme’s social cohesion activities.

On the first day of the event, an estimated 600 people gathered next to the Sai-Voir Bridge to enjoy a cultural show, including an acting troupe, Assoungba Systeme, a traditional dance group, Wandara Ti Sirriri, and musicians Envoye Especial.

The event, which was widely promoted through a mobilization campaign by the artists, brought together community members and local leaders.

“The objective of these campaigns is to allow conflict-affected people to meet in a neutral setting and create positive memories of positive interaction. It is important to build on rewarding collective experiences in order to have a lasting impact on stability in CAR,” says IOM CAR Chief of Mission Torsten Haschenz.

The traditional dance group Wandara Ti Sirriri performed a dance incorporating traditional dance elements from all regions of the Central African Republic. The dance moves from various regions were met with cheering from the audience.

The MC of the event asked the crowd, “Peace comes from where?” and audience members resoundingly responded, “From Me!”      

The message of unity was further developed in the activity’s main act – a skit performed by the popular Central African actor Dr. Mandjeke and Assoungba Systeme.  The sketch centered around two characters who learn that solidarity and mutual understanding are the foundations of a peaceful community. The play used humor to illustrate to the audience how simple actions by an individual, such as sharing, can lead to peaceful coexistence.

The campaign will continue through this week and will reach all districts of the capital.  

IOM’s Community Stabilization Programme in CAR supports social cohesion activities to promote dialogue, peace and durable solutions among mixed communities. Other social cohesion activities supported by IOM have included community theatre, radio shows and football games. This project has reached over 151,000 people in Bangui to date.

In addition to social cohesion activities, the programme has supported the rehabilitation of 21 infrastructure projects, including the rehabilitation of schools, medical facilities, social centers and other public infrastructure. Over 16,000 people, 46 per cent of them women, have participated in cash for work activities, including cleaning canals, roads and schools.

For further information, please contact Anne Schaefer at IOM CAR, Tel: +23672187635, Email: aschaefer@iom.int