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January 2016: The PBEA Post – Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy: Regional update

Renewed Push for Promoting Peace Through Education in Uganda

© UNICEF 2015
Pupils of Buhundu primary school in Bundibugyo, Uganda, read peace messages on the International Day of Peace, part of an awareness-raising campaign for teachers to utilize elements of the curriculum to promote peace in classrooms.

 
For too many children and adolescents in Uganda, corporal punishment, verbal abuse and sexual violence are a daily reality. This not only negates their right to be free from violence, but also undermines their right to an education, as many drop out and/or underperform as a consequence of abuse.

In light of this, Uganda’s PBEA Team with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sport (MoESTS) rolled out a day for teaching and learning about Peace in schools. All schools were encouraged to mark the day by engaging in peace-promoting activities with the theme ‘peaceful schools at the heart of peaceful communities’.

On board also was the National Curriculum Development Center, to develop a Teachers’ Guide for relevant activities for the day; and British NGO ‘Peace One Day’.

Events included peace-themed assemblies, debates, lessons, dances and dramas that addressed conflict drivers affecting school communities.

At Agwayugi Primary School, in Amuru, the school witnessed their Head Teacher, Oryem George, declare: “From this day onwards, no cane will enter any classroom in this school” and one P6 girl’s poem describing her experience of being caned at school. It was the first time she had shared her fears associated with corporal punishment to her peers and teachers.

UNICEF and MoESTS have consistently endeavored to eliminate all forms of violence in schools. A policy package was launched in August 2015 and the International Day of Peace presented an opportunity to renew commitments to promote children’s rights to a safe and peaceful learning environment.
 

Inequity in Education, Sector Governance & Conflict: Research Studies – South Sudan & Kenya

© UNICEF 2015
ESARO commissioned studies of the ‘Governance of Education’ in South Sudan and Kenya to see how it can help, or hinder, the promotion of sustainable peace. Here, children in a camp in South Sudan walk to class

 
ESARO commissioned the Universities of Sussex and Ulster to research the ‘Governance of Education’ and how it can help or hinder the promotion of sustainable peace and development by generating or reducing inequities. Inequities are well documented as underpinning violent conflicts, yet the way in which inequities in the educational sector contribute to conflicts are much less known.

Inequities can be reproduced via education structures and systems of funding, management, policy, planning practice, decision-making and implementation at national, sub-national, regional and global levels.

Of the two contrasting studies being completed: Kenya and South Sudan; each involves a combination of quantitative analysis of secondary data and policy documents and key stakeholder interviews.

Initial fieldwork in Kenya took place in early 2015 in Nairobi and in a range of counties at different proximities from the central government with varied socio-economic and cultural contexts. Key stakeholders interviews were conducted on ‘the governance of education’, equity, conflict and peacebuilding at sub-national, national and international levels with representatives from the education sector, community members, donors and international agencies. One issue emerging from the Kenyan study is the marked gap between policy and implementation, be it from a lack of resources, capacity, ownership, misinterpretation, laxity, political will or even too many policies (as claimed by some respondents).

Another is the impact the partial devolution of the Kenyan education system and simultaneous establishment of County governments has had on education, in terms of both equity and social cohesion.

In South Sudan data was collected at national and sub-national sites for a range of geographic, demographic and conflict contexts for a better understanding of inequality, conflict and peacebuilding.

The report is due for dissemination early this year.
 

A Good Match: Youth-led Community Conversations for Peace in Burundi

© UNICEF

 
Half-time during a football match is normally a time to rest and re-strategize, but in Bugabira it’s the start of a community discussion – a debate around issues affecting their communities, including conflict. It starts with a drama and is followed by a debate and dialogue about the themes addressed in the skit, including social conflict.

“It is the perfect time to have the conversation because you have the crowds gathered for the same cause, and you have everyone’s attention,” says Genevieve Niyonkuru, the club leader.

Bugabira is one of the communities affected by the ongoing insecurity and political instability in Burundi since April 2015, and these debates are providing a forum for peaceful dialogue among affected communities.

Organized and led by young people, the community dialogues are one of UNICEF’s C4D approaches for bringing entire communities together to address the social drivers of conflict. Although youngpeople are most affected by the conflict, they do not create the conditions that drive it.

Bringing these groups together for conflict prevention is critical in the development of problem-solving mechanisms.

When it is time to resume the match, the discussions are paused as the players return to the field, so that everyone can enjoy the last half of the match. The discussions continue immediately after the match where a majority of the spectators remain to listen and continue the dialogue, thus creating more opportunities for interaction and allowing the players to join the discussions.

The discussions are led by young people (mentors) trained in various topics including peaceful conflict resolution, leadership and nonviolent communication.

Each of the debates focusses on a theme deemed to be a recurrent problem in the community. The result? They help the community to appreciate the role that young people can play in community issues while providing an entry point for their engagement with both community members and the local authorities.
 

International Day of Peace: On September 21 voices from the region spoke loud & clear:

© UNICEF
Peace poem winner, Julieta Lino, from Wau, South Sudan, was invited to recite her poem in the capital, Juba, to an audience of Parliamentarians.

 
* ‘Peace Poem’ by Julieta Lino (20), Wau, South Sudan

When I look around I see sadness
When I look around I see worry
When I look around I see danger, anger, death

Oh, is this what life is all about?
No. Life is about love, peace, unity and laughter.

Oh Peace – where do you live?
How can I find you?
Can I touch you? See you? Feel and taste you?

Together you we work for peace, peacefully.
Wake up South Sudan.
Rise up South Sudan.
Work for Peace.

* Uganda’s PBEA Team worked with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sport to roll out a day for teaching and learning about Peace in schools. One nursery school caregiver at Lomogi Primary School said: “We are working with peace today. Promoting peace in the classes, that is, avoiding unnecessary fights and abusing each other. We learn to love one another and to stay in harmony.”

* Hanifa Kevin, of P6 Level at Agwayugi Primary School, Amuru District, Uganda

Hanifa wrote and performed a poem about the experience of being caned in school, and how it affects her experience of the school environment.

For a lot of children, getting a chance to express their fears associated with the prevalence of corporal punishment at school was a first. On this day, pupils and teachers came together to talk. Children were given the avenue to voice their experience and feelings.

Then the Head Teacher, Oryem George, seated at high table together with the rest of the teacher team looked at the children, looked at the teachers again and said “From this day onwards, no cane will enter any classroom in this school!”

Children cheered and clapped.

The impact of violence is far reaching. Often it alters and damages a child’s physical, mental and emotional development. Research also shows that violence against children contributes to significant economic losses, which can be as high as 2-8 per cent of GDP.

Hence, peacebuilding—as said on the International Day of Peace in the words of children—has great value, in principle as well as in practice.

 

 

 

 

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