Community Program to prevent and end mass atrocities

For the past several years, GAPW and LUKMEF have undertaken joint programming on a variety of issues germane to the prevention of armed violence and mass atrocities in Cameroon and elsewhere in Central Africa. Currently we continue to create consultations linking offices in New York and Limbe/Douala and branching out to new civil society constituencies, including women farmers, whose empowerment and skills development can help eliminate prospects for mass atrocity violence in a region that faces a myriad of security challenges. To this effect, LUKMEF and GAPW with $10,000 financial support from THE NEXUS FUND is focusing on three key project areas for collaboration in 2014:

- A project to Prevent gender-based violence in rural communities of Central Africa areas by eliminating the economic vulnerability of women agricultural workers by increasing their access to markets and other resources beginning with Cameroon
- A project to help ensure equal access to justice for women and cultural minorities in Cameroon making good use of the administrative justice system to fight corruption and administrative bottlenecks that often block access to justice and can fuel violence
- A project to facilitate more regular, security-focused discussion between military officials in Cameroon and culturally diverse civil society leaders

-Promote community participation in governance issues that increases their voices and eliminate inpuntive actions of elected officials

As the security situation continues to pose significant challenges in Cameroon and several of its neighbours - specifically Nigeria and Central African Republic - it is critically important for programs based in this region to foster more government-civil society dialogue, more access to justice, more government -sponsored protective measures in rural areas, and more attentiveness to the integration of skills and voices from communities across the region. All of these tasks are contributions to societies better able to resist any potential descent into mass violence. This project is conceived as a partnership between the board, staff and program partners of Global Action to Prevent War and Armed Conflict (GAPW) and the board, staff and program partners of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation (LUKMEF) in Limbe, Cameroon. This exchange would build upon and deepen prior work linking our two offices and help to establish a more permanent relationship.

This is an exchange of one year's duration. We will continue the working partnership past the end of the year as more opportunities for collaborative work directed towards the prevention of mass conflict present themselves. Strengthening civil society, promoting fairness in economic policy and access to justice, removing impunity for violations of rights, fostering security-related discussions among diverse stakeholders - these are some of the preventive mechanisms for ensuring that societies can withstand security challenges which are currently pervasive within the region with Cameroon not excluded.

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