Mamu Paasewe is chairwoman for the Grand Cape Mount County District Platform for Dialogue (DPD), in Liberia. DPDs are community-based networks, comprised of trusted and respected community members, trained to identify areas of conflict and encourage discussion.
I wanted to become a peacebuilder because if you have peace in your community you feel relaxed, you feel released.
I work with women in the community, to help them become part of the peacebuilding process. It is important for women to be part of the DPDs because they have been victimised for so many years, and now we need women to be part of everything in our community.
During the Ebola crisis, there was conflict in our communities. We went into the communities and told them, ‘this is your brother, this is your sisters we need to live as one people.’ At the end of the day, after speaking with communities, we had peace. The impact was so great. Now our communities eat together, we live together, there is no problem. We live happily.
To be successful in peacebuilding is to be respectful and transparent in your community. Let people respect you as a leader. Work along with people who will understand you, and show them how they too could be a peacebuilder.
If you build peace up, tears will be far from your community. You will not need guns, because you will protect one another.
In Liberia, we are happy today because we protect our peace. And we will continue protecting the peace so that other people can live freely. I hope that Liberia can be an example for other countries – if Liberia can be at peace today then so can others.
Source: Conciliation Resources
Photo: Ingrid Guyon/Conciliation Resources