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It was all pomp and colour last Friday at the Thika Youth Peace and Leadership Forum held at the International Professional Counsellors Centre on Friday. Youth and women from all corners of Thika came together to share ideas on how they could work out ways to influence peaceful co-existence amongst themselves and the larger community especially when it came to leadership.

Organised by Madam Susan Gitau, the Director IPCC in preparation of the Peace One Day Forum on the 21st September 2015, the occasion was dedicated to seeking solutions to conflicts at home, in the society, the country and the world. The participants were taken through the taken through the reasons why people conflict, the causes of conflicts as well as the negative outcomes that result from people not living in peace.

Various persons of repute had been invited to facilitate the session. We had among them reknown scholars, counsellors, inspirational speakers as well as political leaders to help prepare the youth for leadership positions in all life spheres.

Mr. Edwin Gitau, a certified Addiction Counsellor and author of  the book 'Surviving an Addiction' kicked off the session by giving a life account of addiction to alcohol and his lucky journey to recovery. In his presentation, he was able to relate violence to alcoholism and drug abuse. He appealed to the society to learn how to embrace 'fire prevention not fighting' approach to the fight against alcohol, drug and substance abuse if at all the society wanted to win the fight.

Edwin lamented that this nation and more so the youth were being crippled by alcohol and drug abuse, a factor that was key to insecurity.

Senior Supretendant of Police Gitahi Kanyeki, helped the participants to understand the life of the police officers in order to help them learn to co-exist with these officers. He asked them to form forums local police that they would use to help the society and the police to work in harmony, easing the tension between the two. In this way, they would be leading in the fight against insecurity thus creating a peaceful environment for everyone. 

He added that youth leaders had a big part to play in the security of the country since they played the biggest role when it came to violence. He pleaded with them to be in the forefront in saying no to corruption because it was a major ingredient that fueled violence. 

Other speakers who put the participants through the effects of drugs and its impact on society included Dr. Thuku, a career pharmacist and an Addiction Cousellor as well as Mr Alex Maina, the C.E.O. Vijana Against HIV/AIDS And Drug Abuse (VAADA).

Mr. Maina gave a brief history of the Peace One Day Forum (UK) as he read the message from its founder Mr. Jeremy. And to mark this year's fete, his organization offered to sponsor one victim of alcoholism for a free in-patient rehab programme.

On his part, GBS TV Director, Pastor Yohan Kim, through his representative Pastor Barnabas  Ohako, helped the participants in identifying their right mindset  so as to overcome the challenges life presented to them. He showed them how having the right mindset would help them succeed in life.

County Member of Parliament Hon. Anne Nyokabi wrapped up the session by preparing the  youth to the challenging life of leadership. She narrated her journey to to the top and challenged them to take the bull by the horns since leadership would never be presented to them on a silver plate.

The youth were then put to a leadership competition were the best of them would now be put under a leadership mentorship programme. The climax was the cutting and sharing of the peace cake where the participants promised to be the change they wanted in life and lead by example.

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