Last month, our friends in Obo, Central African Republic (CAR) celebrated International Day of the African Child with a day full of special events. In support of locally-led efforts to foster peace and prevent violence in the region, our Invisible Children team in Obo worked alongside community leaders and other international organizations to help coordinate many of the festivities.

The day began with a peace march through town. Hundreds came out to participate in the march, carrying signs with messages promoting peace and the protection of children in the community.

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Following the march, leaders and parents from Obo and surrounding communities spoke to the crowd on issues of peace and the safety of local children and, along with the whole community, made commitments to peace, the protection of children and their rights, and supporting education.

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For many, the highlight of the festivities were the dances, skits, and songs prepared and performed by local children who participate in Child Friendly Spaces – a program through which Invisible Children and other organizations help to provide a safe space for children in Obo to play together and learn about peace. This was an opportunity for the children of Obo to speak about their rights and urge the community to continue working together to prevent violence and provide safe spaces for children to learn and grow in peace.

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The day came to an end with a shared meal and gifts that were distributed to children in the community.

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As violent conflict continues to spread in the areas of eastern CAR surrounding Obo, community-led events like this are important ways to help foster peace and unity. When communities come together as one to reaffirm their commitment to peace and safety for all, and when they are equipped with the tools to make it happen, lasting peace is possible.

Your support makes events like the Obo Children’s Day celebration, as well Invisible Children’s community resilience program like  Community Peace Committees, trauma healing workshops, and child-friendly spaces, possible. Together, these programs and initiatives are helping to bring whole communities together to work toward a safer, brighter future for all.