Working to Ensure Peace, Resilience and the Prevention of Violent Extremism in Africa

Arigatou International Geneva conducted a series of training workshops, thematic webinars, and training workshops for youth, in the framework of Peace, Resilience and Prevention of Violent Extremism for Higher Education. This is the fourth phase of a long-term collaboration with the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA).

Training of Trainers Workshop on Peace, Resilience and Prevention of Violent Extremism for Higher Education

Three onsite Training of Trainers workshops were carried out in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Senegal between October and December 2021, reaching 84 participants including higher education professors and representatives of Ministries of Education.

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The first workshop took place in Bishoftu, Ethiopia from 24 October to 2 November 2021, gathering participants from 24 universities across the country. It was organized by Arigatou International Geneva in partnership with UNESCO-IICBA and the Ministry of Higher Education of Ethiopia.

In her welcoming remarks, Dr. Eba Mijena, Director General of Higher Education, Ministry of Education of Ethiopia, highlighted the commitment of the Ministry of Education for peace education and invited participants to develop a strategy to include peace education as a stand-alone course module for all University students in Ethiopia.

The workshop was based on the Transformative Pedagogy for Peacebuilding Teacher Guide developed in previous stages of this project, and an adapted guide for Ethiopia. This instance helped participants reflect on their contexts and understand conflict and peace issues. Participants discussed how ethics education can contribute towards peacebuilding through a transformative pedagogy. They were trained on planning & designing Training of Trainers’ workshops to cascade the training in the country.

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The workshop in Djibouti took place from 14 – 18 November 2022 and was organized under a project called “Prevention of violent extremism and its resurgence amid the COVID-19 pandemic through education in Africa, aligned with the spirit of TICAD7 and NAPSA.”

Supported by the government of Japan, the workshop provided 26 university professors, college educators, and pedagogical inspectors with tools to integrate the notions of peacebuilding, resilience, and prevention of conflict through a transformative pedagogy.

Senegal 2021 IICBA Worshop 4

The training workshop held in Dakar, Senegal on 6-10 December 2022 gathered 35 participants from 10 Universities and experts from the Ministry of Higher Education, including representatives from UNESCO Central Africa, UNESCO Niger and UNESCO Burundi.

Organized in collaboration with the UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa and the Dakar National Commission, the workshop focused on understanding conflict, violence, identity, conflict resolution mechanisms and peace consolidation.

Throughout the sessions, participants discussed the role of education for peacebuilding and transformation and got acquainted with Arigatou International’s transformative pedagogy for peacebuilding. They learned how to create safe learning environments, and explored monitoring and evaluation processes, as well as tools to support students-led actions.

Following the training phase, country teams were supported by the Geneva office in leading their own training on transformative pedagogy for peace and resilience building at the country level.

Thematic Webinars to Support and Empower Learners

Two thematic webinars were organized together with UNESCO-IICBA to strengthen our interventions and deepen the discussions on Peace, Resilience and Prevention of Violent Extremism in Africa.

The first webinar was held on 20 October 2021, under the title “How to support the agency of the learners to be transformative actors.” Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director, UNESCO-IICBA delivered the opening remarks. The keynote speech came from Ms. Orit Ibrahim, Coordinator in Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department and Co-Convener of the Y4P program, African Union.

The panel of speakers included representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Uganda; Africa Union’s Youth 4 Peace Programme; GNRC Tanzania / Bongoyo Peace Club and Arigatou International Geneva.

The discussions highlighted the importance of youth and child participation, the role of educators in empowering young people and how structures such as Peace Clubs can create opportunities for young people to be transformative actors.

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The second webinar was held on 24 November 2021 on the topic of “How to address sensitive issues including hate speech in our classrooms”. It brought together educators to discuss and reflect on how sensitive topics including hate speech can be addressed in the classrooms and non-formal education activities.

The keynote remarks were given through a video message by Mr. Adama Dieng, Former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and Advisory Board member of The Higher Committee on Human Fraternity.

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Online Workshops for Youth Leaders on Transformative Pedagogy for Peacebuilding

”The world belongs to the youth. Today’s education system must emerge building on what has already been achieved to enable young people to live together and meet challenges with resilience and peaceful intentions.” Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of UNESCO IICBA.

Arigatou International Geneva, together with UNESCO-IICBA and the African Union through the Youth4Peace program, carried out two Training of Trainers workshops for young leaders on enhancing youth capacities in peacebuilding and prevention of violence.

The first workshop took place on 20-23 September 2021 and was attended by more than 30 participants from Gambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The second workshop was held on 04-07 October 2021, targeting participants from West Africa and North Africa.

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This was the first training based on the ”Youth Guide on Education for Peacebuilding and the Prevention of Violence”, which was developed in 2020 by Arigatou International and UNESCO-IICBA, under the “Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020 through Youth Education” project. The main focus was to strengthen the capacity of youth leaders in Africa to contribute to peacebuilding; empower young people for the prevention of violence; and promote a culture of peace, mutual understanding, and respect among peoples.

During the sessions, several topics were explored through virtual engagement, dialogue, and interactive group work. The participants analyzed their country-specific contexts and learned about developing context-responsive educational programs to promote dialogue, mutual understanding, and respect in their communities. The participants identified plans at their country levels on how to mobilize youth and cascade the training. In the second phase of the project, they designed proposals that contribute to challenging stereotypes and prejudices, promoting dialogue, and raising awareness about issues of peace.

Reflecting on her experience as a participant, Michelle from Zimbabwe noted that “…The aspect of bringing in a transformative pedagogy broadened my perspectives about peace education and peacebuilding. Talking about transformative pedagogy in practice made sure that this training was not only theoretical but implementable.”

Arigatou International has been partnering with UNESCO-IICBA on similar projects since 2017, providing technical expertise in adapting the Ethics Education Framework of Arigatou International to address peace and resilience building and the prevention of violence through a transformative pedagogy.

The training workshops were led by Dr. Eyerusalem Azmeraw, UNESCO- IICBA; Mr. Suchith Abeyewikreme, Arigatou International Geneva; Ms. Menna Mosbah, Youth4Peace Network.

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