‘World Peace…’ What does it really mean? It is a cliché often stigmatized with beauty pageants. I believe peace starts from the home, and more specifically- within ourselves.To many of us Ghana is the cradle of Democracy in Africa and a rather peaceful and stable country, but if we scratch below the surface we will realize that this is not always the case. Here in Accra we hear of the blood feuds in northern Ghana and think of them as something of no concern to us. We hear of the senseless deaths of young people and we just file the information in the back of our mind as if it was news from a far away land, unrelated to our reality, but they indeed are our reality.The victims of these so called incidents are sons and brothers of Ghanaian women. Like us they are people who idolize Nkrumah and cheer the Black Stars. What is happening in that far away land could very easily be happening here, in the middle of Accra. In order to maintain the stability, in order to keep considering Ghana the cradle of African democracy, we must aim to minimize these conflicts before they spread further.This is where Miss ECOWAS Ghana plays an active role. We need to be more dedicated to peace building and development, particularly with the youth. We need to work more to empower young women so they can stand for themselves. We need to work more towards creating awareness against the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
We need to emphasize the importance of education. Whatever a young person’s aspirations- be it a doctor or footballer- without education the future is limited. It is only through education that we can eradicate ignorance and direct young people away from violence.
The youth are the next generation to build Africa. They are the ones who should learn from the mistakes of elders yet pass on their wisdom, generate fresh ideas and have the energy and motivation to make changes. So much can be done in Ghana to help venerable youths have an equal opportunity. For instance companies could introduce apprentice schemes giving young people more options to work and learn.
Young people should be urged to play active roles in community life by becoming familiar with their local Assembly person or even stand for assembly to voice their concerns. We must be taught to understand each other’s differences; differences which make us unique, however no less the same as Africans. They should not be the cause of conflicts; rather we must listen to each other and at least, ‘agree to disagree’.
I strongly believe in the values advocated by the Miss ECOWAS Ghana pageant. We must establish peace within ourselves, our homes and communities. Development is a process. It will not happen overnight, but if we start today we can all expect a better future.