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WPDI hailed for its conflict resolution program in schools as a new cohort gets certified in northern Uganda

In early August, 79 primary school students in northern Uganda’s Gulu district successfully completed WPDI’s conflict resolution education (CRE) training program. The 44 girls and 35 boys – all of which are now certified – span across two schools and are now amongst almost 250 graduates whom have successfully completed this course in Gulu in partnership with Education Above All Foundation.

The CRE program began at the beginning of the school year and completed in mid-July. In that timeframe, educators – over a combined 56 hours of teaching – covered topics including peace and conflict resolution, communications techniques, problem solving, identifying underlying community needs and empathy, among many others. With the course’s completion came tremendously notable change. As one matron noted, “we have witnessed tremendous behavioral changes in the pupils. The Deputy Head Teacher from Gulu Public School testified that, since the first term of the 2018 school year, we have not registered a single case of fighting in the school. We are very proud of WPDI’s program.”

The CRE program is indeed a special one. It actually started as an initiative by young WPDI peacemakers from Mexico, who had decided to teach peace and conflict resolution to teenagers, using the very curriculum we had taught to them. It was a brilliant idea and the success was so immediate that we decided to incorporate it in all countries where we work. Teaching conflict resolution in primary and secondary schools is directly in line with the belief of our CEO/Founder, Forest Whitaker, that people must be sensitized to peace at the earliest age. An important aspect of the program is also that it both prepares pupils and students for their future responsibilities and transforms their attitudes right in the schools. In this light, the constant feedback we receive from teachers and school administrators is the improvement of daily life in the school thanks to the reduction of tensions among students.

Those are the main reasons why, once again, the CRE program has been highly acclaimed in Gulu. Gulu Town Primary School students formed their own “peace club” and school administrators have fully embraced the trainings. They have even called for more schools to be involved in the program and have also suggested that teachers receive CRE trainings as well, so that they can better compliment and assist their students.

In the coming school year, we are looking forward to training our next cohort of 84 primary school students, which includes 46 girls and 38 boys. In so doing, we hope to continue laying down a foundation for the building of peace and prosperity in northern Uganda.

In Uganda, our CRE program is implemented as well in 3 secondary schools in Gulu as well as 2 secondary and 2 primary schools at the Kiryandongo Refugee settlement with thousands of students already trained.