Simtekpe Koboyo Maza-Abalo Fawi , Togo
Simtekpe founded MCJ Togo in 2012 as a youth empowerment initiative. After attending the One Young World Summit 2018 The Hague and learning more about different approaches to peacebuilding, Simtekpe re-focussed his efforts to be more centred on preventing and countering violent extremism.
One such project that came out of this experience is the Preventing Extremism project that works with children in schools. MCJ Togo trains students in preventing and countering violent extremism, reaching 9,000 young people across six schools. Working in the town of Blitta in central Togo, MCJ Togo started a campaign to educate young people about the value of peace and conflict resolution in the run up to the Togo Legislative Elections in December 2018. Elections in Togo are often met with civil unrest and violence, with more than 1,000 people being killed in the 2005 elections when the incumbent president took power. The December 2018 elections triggered similar opposition protest, with reports of live rounds being used on protestors by government forces. MCJ Togo works with young people to explain the importance of civic participation and how to make your voice heard without participating in violence. Students are taught about the use of propaganda, the merits of non-violence and effective techniques to prevent the spread of violent extremism. These young people were then able to understand the protests in the run up to the election from different perspectives, using their skills to discourage the use of violence amongst their peers