We are in the midst of a global violence epidemic. Violence pervades societies, threatening human rights, national security, the environment and the quality of global progress. Violent responses to conflict are not inevitable; with concerted commitment and holistic approaches to revising the status quo, they are preventable. By committing to important initiatives like truth commissions and war crimes trials, the global community has demonstrated an increased interest in addressing violence with retrospective approaches. It is time to prioritize prevention, so that in addition to reckoning with the past, we give children the skills to create a more peaceful future.
Effective prevention mechanisms must tackle the roots of entrenched societal problems, and youth education is lauded as one that holds promise. However, gaps in current peace education initiatives abound:
· Existing programs are limited in their global reach.
· Peace curricula are offered primarily in high schools and universities.
· Most programs focus on historical content and lack skill-building.
· Programs often fail to generate local ownership by imposing curricula developed outside the region.
Increased access to primary education helps break the traps of poverty, hunger, marginalization, and conflict plaguing so many communities worldwide. But the basic skills and knowledge of standard education do not go far enough, particularly in environments characterized by chronic instability and war. We bring the power of education to a higher standard. With our curriculum, developed in collaboration with local communities, children are primed to counteract the de-humanizing effects of discrimination, armed conflict and ethnic polarization. They learn to communicate effectively in the face of disagreement and diversity, and cultivate a commitment to peaceful rather than violent solutions to difficult problems. Without a major global shift in curricula for children in their most impressionable years of development, we cannot hope to foster peaceful mindsets and interrupt cycles of violence.
By providing the skills for prevention rather than just reaction, IPEP supports the next generation to shape a more peaceful and prosperous future for their communities.
IPEP currently builds peace education into primary school curricula and after-school activities in northern Uganda, an area which has experienced decades of violence. A dedicated team of local teachers, under the leadership of IPEP Local Expert, Romanson Mathew Komakec, work with students on how to deal with the effects of armed conflict, counter discrimination, and communicate effectively in the face of disagreement.
Drawing on the latest expertise in conflict resolution and communication used by Insight Partners and Insight Collaborative, together with content developed by Facing History, IPEP works with leaders, state officials, parents and teachers to tailor materials to each local context. This gives local people ownership over the program and ensures children, and others in their communities, can apply the teaching to their day-to-day lives.
Other Insight Collaborative projects
The Radio Project by Peter Richardson
Interactive Radio for Justice (IRfJ) encouraged dialogue between communities targeted by investigations of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the national and international authorities who were responsible for bringing justice to these populations.
Working mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), IRfJ used interactive local-language radio programming to trigger discussions about the purpose and impact of justice across communities who had suffered human rights abuses.
The project was led by Wamda Hall and supported by the MacArthur Foundation and Humanity United.
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