(This article first appeared in AMECEA Online News. Reprinted here with the permission).
By Pamela Adinda
Civic and Religious organizations are best placed to identify when conflicts intensify, and can support the resolution of conflicts, the founder of Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR) Rev. Father Patrick Devine, SMA has said.
According to Fr. Devine, in African conflict environments people are killed, maimed and displaced. “Gospel values such as peace, truth, justice and mercy cannot take deep root; people cannot live normal lives or experience true peace,” he said.
Fr. Devine founded SCCRR in 2009 so as to transform the causes of conflict in Africa, particularly in East Africa. The center focuses on training community leaders in conflict transformation so that they can be able to mediate conflict in their own areas.
“Too often development work is destroyed by the eruption of violent conflict, which severs relationships within communities, and destroys social infrastructure (religious institutions, schools, hospitals, clinics) that has developed over many years, and robs generations of a better future,” he said that “We will be forever rebuilding them if we do not address the root causes.”
They are also conducting research into the causes of local conflict in order to fully understand what causes and drives conflicts.
The center also works to influence government policies at local and national level because “Government is primarily responsible for promoting peace and government policy may be a contributing factor to the conflict,” he said.