21.05.2012 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Finalizing a draft manual on peace education in West Africa

Schoolchildren in Sierra Leone © UNESCO/ J. Caro Gardiner

A draft reference manual on how to teach culture of peace, human rights, citizenship, democracy and regional integration in formal education is expected to be finalized this week.

Experts from West African countries, ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States), UNESCO and development agencies will meet in Lomé, Togo from 21-25 May 2012 to discuss the draft manual to be used by trainers of trainers.

The manual is one of the pillars in the Project on "Peace and Development" in the  15 ECOWAS  countries . The project particularly focuses on six countries affected by crises or post-conflict countries, namely  Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo. 

The project is funded by the African Development Bank and coordinated by UNESCO Dakar.

The first phrase of the project ran from 2006 to 2011 and including fact finding missions to the six countries as well as sharing of experiences, and the draft outline of the manual. 

A second phrase was launched in 2012 to finalize and disseminate the manual (in paper copies and online) and to train trainers of trainers.

Desperate need for peace education

 "The manual is part of ECOWAS's efforts to focus on prevention and conflict resolution as a prerequisite for any development," says Pape Banga Guissé, who is coordinating the project at UNESCO Dakar. "The recent developments in the region underscore the desperate need for more peace and human rights education," he adds.

The meeting this week will bring together the same six countries as well as Benin, Ghana, Mali and The Gambia.

"After this meeting we will have a technical validation workshop in July 2012 and finally the manual is expected to be endorsed during a ministerial conference in October 2012," explains Guissé.

Training of volunteers 

From 7-12 May, ECOWAS, UN Volunteers and UNESCO organized a training workshop in Liberia for some 20 young volunteers specialized in various fields from West-Africa. They received training on several modules related to human rights, citizenship, culture of peace and democracy.

The volunteers will now be deployed in Liberia. Others will be recruited and trained to be deployed in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone to engage in peace education programmes.

This training is also part of the peace project. The objective is to train some 160 volunteers to be deployed in the four pilot countries. See also ECOWAS press release (in French only).

 




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