FAITH-BASED PEACEBUILDING INITIATIVE IN THE EAST REGION OF CAMEROON: BAHAI FAITH’S APPROACH.
NGAYAP KAMGANG LAMBERT CYRILLE
Department of Development Studies
Master of Science (Msc) in Sustainable Development (Peace, Conflict Resolution, and International Relations)
The recent spate of violent confrontations in the world and Cameroon, in particular, further deepens humanity’s alarming chaos and turmoil. This presents an ever complex challenge to resolving the problem of insecurity and national/international conflicts. For the East Region of Cameroon, the problem constitutes the heightened insecurity problems caused by the high influx of refugees fleeing the Boko Haram conflicts in the North Region and the political/sectarian conflicts in the Central African Republic (CAR). This thesis draws from the discourse of the role played by religion in fostering world peace and thus world order. The work has as main objective to investigate the faith-based peacebuilding initiatives led by the Baha’i Faith in the East Region of Cameroon. Therefore as specific objectives, the work attempted to evaluate to what extent the Baha’i Faith’s system has made an impact on community peacebuilding in the East Region of Cameroon. Hence the work investigated the socio, economic and political impact of the Baha’i Faith social action initiatives in peacebuilding. These objectives were investigated by accessing data in two principal ways. That is primary and secondary sources. Primary sources included interviews, focused group discussions and observation while secondary sources involved a wide range of literature review through in-depth library research. The results of this qualitative research are analyzed and presented through an in-depth analysis approach. One that analyzed the output from the interviewees and the focus group discussions and organized the information gathered in order of coherent essays. Essays which provided the necessary explanations and understanding of the results or findings. In this wise, it was found that a Baha’i-inspired educational program called Preparation for Social Action (PSA) delivered in combination with a parallel program called Ruhi Sequence of Courses (Institute Courses) are the two leading educational instruments used by the Baha’i Faith in the East Region of Cameroon. These are the instruments used to build capacity in locals to arise voluntarily in selfless service and to engage in numerous community peacebuilding initiatives in their various communities. Such results have been seen in an improved status of women, improved community health care, more significant and diverse agricultural yields, better educational standards and environmental protection and the promotion of national unity. Based on field experience, this research is inclined to say that faith-based organizations are clearly involved in peacebuilding solutions for social transformation of the society.
Index Words: Faith-based, Peacebuilding, East region, Baha’i Faith, Social Action Initiatives.