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Violent conflicts in Africa generally do not garner the level of international concern, sustained outcry, and appropriate intervention needed to promptly end the violence. Even at times when the international community sends significant peacekeeping troops like in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they are ill equipped or their mandate so restrained that they cannot positively address or resolve matters. Decisions taken in the United States or Switzerland for example, no matter how good the intentions, can be abstract and not in touch with the actual problems or not applicable in specific cases unless the people affected are involved in the peace building process.
There is a need to include African people, scholars, and communities in the peace building process because they live and understand the underlying and true causes of the conflicts and from them can rise the effective way of dealing with them. These observations strengthen the drive for people in Africa to generate their own approaches and responses to conflicts. It also makes advocacy by Africans for Africans even more crucial to locally reduce individual deaths, painful atrocities and infrastructure destruction as well as to bring sustained attention and adequate support to communities in need.
Communities worldwide are demanding greater involvement in governments’ decisions that affect their lives, Africa is no exception. COPA creates spaces for people affected by conflict, with peace builders and policy makers to dialogue on policies in the areas of their niche. COPA’s advocacy centers on monitoring violent conflicts and swiftly engaging in dialogue with communities, parliaments and governmental institutions. COPA’s advocacy strategy is collaborative and rests on the premise that people affected by conflicts need to be supported to address directly those with the power to change their conditions. Thereby, COPA harnesses grassroots voices through its partners to bring conflict issues to the national, regional or international agenda. In cases where direct talks with conflicting or warring parties are unadvisable or dangerous, COPA supports strategic advocacy to regional bodies or international institutions and to the media to bring awareness of the issues.