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Young volunteers from across Newham met an international peacebuilder at an event run by a voluntary organisation in the borough.

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The youngsters from Truce 20/20, a project run by Conflict and Change, met Leo Wamwanduka, from Zimbabwe. He is a grassroots activist in the country which is expecting to hold elections next year as tensions rise with fears of violence.

Leo is the director of Envision, a Zimbabwean peace organisation that is working with the country’s village communities to help mobilise women’s groups, interfaith groups and other community groups take control of the future of their communities.

He shared his experiences of conflict and its resolution with young people who face tensions every day in the streets and schools of Newham.

Francesca, 16, said: “What I’m taking away is an insight to a completely different way of life than what I’m currently living… because I hear about conflict all the time on the news but when you actually hear somebody to talk about it who’s been there it’s somehow more real. I admire Leo because he does peacebuilding despite the fact that it puts him in danger”.

Leo said: “I feel really inspired to see young people in a seemingly privileged environment, compared to the environment that I come from, that are doing a lot of amazing work and with lots of plans to do even more exciting things for their community.”

Conflict and Change is based in Streatfield Avenue, East Ham and has worked for more than 25 years bringing people together.

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