When Katharina Schilling showed us the two compilations, resource book and methods book, she had painstakingly put together on the basis of her work experience and the challenges of working with many young people in Sierra Leone and Cameroon, we felt these tools should be made available to a larger public in Africa and beyond. An additional bonus is that the beautiful illustrations have been developed by her colleague Julius Nzang, a young Cameroonian journalist who participated in the facilitation of youth workshops.
In our work with Civil Peace Service Networks in several African countries, we have come to realise that working with youth on and in conflict is one of the most important tasks for building a better future. Katharina’s colleagues and superiors in SLADEA (Sierra Leone Adult Education Association) and PCC (Presbyterian Church in Cameroon), as well as the many young people in the training sessions, have over the years supported and made this work possible and we can now all benefit from their insight and experience.
These books address peace issues and conflict transformation at the individual, group and community levels. Many of us work in situations of violent or latent conflict that throw whole regions or countries into war or warlike situations. The lines between the two levels of conflict are often blurred, for instance, as far as questions of identity, loyalty and trust are concerned. We believe that these books can help young people and their trainers better understand their own situation and learn to tolerate differences in approach, people, ethnic loyalties, religion and even values, as long as there is dialogue and interaction towards common goals. Analysing the context you live in, the conflicts in and around you, the interests and power plays helps you to become a stakeholder and not a victim in your own life.
By the series editors: Christiane Kayser and Flaubert Djateng