SARA promotes peace and reconciliation in Liberia [18 Feb 2014]
Monrovia, Liberia: Deputy Education Minister Hawa Goll-Kotchi and UNICEF Representative Sheldon Yett jointly launched a new supplementary reader today at the Gray D. Allison public school in the presence of senior education officials, members of the Liberia Association of Writers, media partners, teachers and students.
The supplementary reader is an integrated edutainment package to be used in schools to promote a culture of tolerance, reconciliation and peace among children, teachers, parents and other members of their communities. The book, Sara and the Plum Tree Palaver, is a story of 12-year old Sara, who successfully solves a land dispute between her father and uncle through peaceful dialogue.
Speaking at the launch event, Mr. Yett said that the supplementary reader will not only improve reading and listening skills of students but also be an effective communication tool to stimulate discussion on conflict resolution.
“We hope that Sara will be a good role model and inspiration for young readers, especially girls. And that everyone will be inspired by Sara to promote a society that is peaceful and respects and protects the rights of every citizen,” Mr Yett, UNICEF Representative said.
Deputy Education Minister, Hawa Goll Kotchi said that the book would empower young learners to become peace builders in their communities and contribute to the national efforts of sustaining peace in the country.
“I learned a lot about peace building after I acted as Sara in the drama,” said 14-year old Sandra Sirleaf who together with her friends performed a skit based on the story book. “I will tell my family and friends to read the book and learn about making peace,” she added.
UNICEF and the Ministry of Education developed the reader in partnership with the Liberia Association of Writers and a group of Liberian artists and designers. The reader was finalized following a series of consultations with partner ministries, parents, teachers and children.
Sara and the Plum Tree Palaver emphasizes the importance of solving disputes through peaceful dialogue. The book was developed as part of a multi-country UNICEF programme supported by Government of the Netherlands to promote a culture of tolerance, reconciliation, social cohesion and peace.
UNICEF and the Ministry of Education have also developed a instructor’s guide to use the book as a communication tool to engage children, adolescents, parents and teachers in active and meaningful dialogues, debates and consultations to sustain peace in the country. The book will also contribute to awareness on girl’s emancipation, gender equality and child rights.
Background Information: The Sara series of supplementary readers is based on UNICEF’s Sara Communication Initiative which is an integrated education and entertainment (edutainment) package promoting child rights and gender issues in Africa. UNICEF has been using the adventures of Sara to promote child rights for the last 18 years.
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