By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
Religious leaders around the world have a responsibility of nurturing community peace building, reconciliation and integral human development at all levels of society. Part of their responsibility is to facilitate inter-religious dialogue and unity among communities torn by political, economic, cultural and environmental conflicts.
To this effect, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany in conjunction with the Culture Counts Foundation brought together religious leaders from different backgrounds to a media training workshop held at Paretz Village in Berlin from 28 September to 03 October 2019. The workshop that was meant to equip religious leaders to interact with the media to communicate issues to do with peace also challenged them to take their work to another level by developing clear messages for their audiences and to have proactive relationships with journalists in promoting peace at all levels of society.
The facilitator at the workshop, Michael Gleich told participants that they are not foes but friends with the media and should see each other as partners in an effort to bring about lasting peace. He said the media should use their power to promote peace and not to spew hate speech, fuel anger and conflict among cultures.
Religious leaders who were drawn from nine countries including Cameron, Kenya, Nigeria, Liberia, Mauritius, South Africa, Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe were taught to write their stories and share them through different media platforms including social media as a way of encouraging dialogue and achieving peace. Zimbabwe was represented by Br. Alfonce Kugwa from the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Takunda Mandondo from Zimbabwe Council of Churches. The workshop also emphasized on the need to write short and clear press releases, pitching, organizing press conferences, video production and holding interviews.