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WPDI takes its peacebuilding mission a step further as it trains its peacemakers to teach conflict resolution in schools

29 June 2017

Mobilizing the unique potential of youth to promote peace among their peers, WDPI delivered on 22-24 June an advanced training on Conflict Resolution Education (CRE) to the group of young peacemakers we support in the 9 counties of the Eastern Equatoria area of South Sudan. The objective is to constitute a pool of trainers who will go into primary and secondary schools to teach pupils and students values, attitudes and behaviors conducive to dialogue and non-violence.

Teaching CRE in schools is one of the paths our CEO/Founder, UNESCO Special Envoy Forest Whitaker conceived to attain the objectives of WPDI in South Sudan, namely to disseminate a culture of peace. His assumption is that primary and secondary school students are at a critical age when their value systems are still being shaped. School can be a very effective enabling environment, notably if the tutors themselves are young people that students can easily relate to.

Following an assessment and consultations with the Ministry of Education, WDPI has  initiated a series of advanced trainings intended to teach our 18 peacemakers from Eastern Equatoria on how to promote peace and dialogue among school-aged students. In this respect, the CRE training takes our curriculum a step further. Our peacemakers had already been trained to train local youth in peacebuilding and mediation and later trained, from January 2016 to April 2017, some 156 local youth, with whom they now conduct educational and economic activities.

In the words of Prof. Brian Williams, our peacebuilding specialist, who teaches at University of Cape Town, "There is a great need for high impact training of Peace Educators to facilitate Conflict Resolution Education at primary and secondary schools. The first round of Peace Educator training of Facilitators included inter alia the psychology of education, teaching and learning methodologies, presentation skills, etc."

As they will step into schools, our peacemakers are about to change the scale of their impact as peace educators. With the hundreds and eventually thousands of children and adolescents whom we expect to reach in the coming years, we are confident that we can succeed in raising a critical mass of young peace catalysts, who are going to take responsibility for the dissemination of a culture of peace in their communities, including among their family and friends circles.

This first training marks the beginning of a new program that will gradually be mainstreamed in all the countries where WPDI develops peacebuilding programs.