Peace Education project in West Africa – reaching out to 15 ECOWAS countries

UNESCO Dakar is coordinating a project on Education on Peace for Development in West Africa. Launched in 2006, the project aims at promoting culture of peace, human rights, citizenship, democracy and regional integration as a means to instill the values ​​of peace in young West African minds.

The project covers all 15 countries of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) and is funded by the African Development Bank.

Expected results are:

  • Affirm citizenship by asserting critical thinking to build individual autonomy.
  • Participate with other citizens in the development process, implementation and evaluation of public policies on the basis of human rights.
  • Create a surge of citizen vigilance, empowering the individual who will own the operating mechanisms of ECOWAS institutions while playing an active role in the defense of human rights, democracy and peace.

The first phase of the project

The first phase of this project took place from 2006 to 2011. The focus was on ways to teach culture of peace, human rights, citizenship and democracy in the formal education systems, focusing in particular on six countries facing conflict or post-conflict situations (Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo).

Following a vast consultation process throughout West Africa, the first phase led to the publication of a Reference Manual of ECOWAS for education to the culture of peace, human rights, citizenship, democracy and regional integration.

The second phase of the project

Launched in 2012, the second phase aims to optimize and disseminate the ECOWAS Reference Manual as widely as possible. The project was extended to all 15 ECOWAS countries, thereby amplifying its scope and number of trainers trained. More than 35,000 copies of the Manual were distributed in English, French and Portuguese. It was also translated into nearly thirty local languages of almost all ECOWAS countries and published in more than 10,000 copies.

In 2012 and 2013, some 160 volunteers were deployed in four pilot countries (Liberia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone). Training workshops were also held in Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone during this period.

Eight online training modules have been produced to complement the Reference Manual. They are now available as part of an online self-study course, which is available in French, English and Portuguese. This online course is suitable and adjustable to individual training purposes in both formal and informal education, as well as different levels of teaching and learning. The course is also available on DVDs and USB keys. The Reference Manual has been translated into local languages ​​and these translations are available on the website of the online self-study course.

"The goal is to train a critical mass of trainers and curriculum planners who can use this training for their structures and integrate different themes in their education systems," said Pape Banga Guissé, former project coordinator at UNESCO Dakar.

The official title of the project is “Consolidation of ECOWAS policy for the Promotion of human rights’ education, citizenship and culture of peace, democracy and regional integration in the formal education system of the fifteen Member States and particularly in post-conflict countries".

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