Teaching peace in schools

UNICEF’s work in schools strengthens resilience, social cohesion and human security in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mado Mwenga
Des élèves dans une salle de classe
UNICEF DRC Mwenga
13 November 2020

When the militia started spreading fear in the Kasaï region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), several hundred primary and secondary schools were destroyed or attacked. In Cimbayi in East Kasaï province, the primary school Katanda Kabindi was burnt down and everything went up in smoke. The residents fled to neighbouring villages to.take refuge.

“I dreamt of returning to my village but I asked myself how we would continue our studies”, remembered Mado, aged 12, who stayed at her sister’s in a neighbouring village for over two months.

Mado souriante
UNICEF DRC Mwenga

Once the situation had calmed down, Mado and other residents returned to the village. With the support of the USAID and FCDO, UNICEF urgently built classrooms to allow the students to resume their schooling. “We do theatre and we educate people about cultivating an atmosphere of good neighbourliness”, explains the young adolescent who is a member of the Peace Committee at her school. “Peace is love, understanding but overall cohabitation”, she says.

UNICEF and its partners promote education on peace and establish Peace Committees in schools affected by the violence. Through theatrical performances, songs and poems, students contribute to conflict prevention and mitigation between classmates and also within their communities.

 

Anto avec son cartable sur l'épaule
UNICEF DRC Mwenga

Antho, aged 14, is herself also a member of the Peace club at Katanda Kabindi primary school. “We put on theatre plays every Saturday and we show that schools must be protected from attacks”, explains Antho who reiterates at each performance why peace is so important.

As committee members, students learn life skills and play a key role in the dissemination of the culture of peace within their school and community. “School is a right for all of us”, concludes Antho who dreams of becoming a child-care worker when she is older in order to further help the children of her province.

Children and adolescents play an important role within their communities. UNICEF establishes clubs in schools affected by conflict in order to increase awareness in students and members of the community of social cohesion and the peaceful resolution of differences.