Cooperation with the African Development Bank and ECOWAS on Peace and Development

Civil wars, conflicts and other forms of violence have long shattered peoples in Western Africa, causing social and economic instability. In order to escape this crisis and contribute to social development, it is essential to defend and protect human rights as well as to promote justice, peace and tolerance. These are the principles underpinning the action of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as outlined in its Strategic Vision for 2020, entitled “Towards a democratic and prosperous community”.

The African Development Bank (ADB), one of the major technical and financial partners in Western Africa, accompanies the ECOWAS efforts through the Support to ECOWAS for Peace and Development Project (PADEP).

The recent developments in the region underlined the desperate need for more peace and human rights education as well as focus on prevention and conflict resolution as a prerequisite for any development. UNESCO, whose mandate is to build peace in minds of men and women, has been entrusted by the ADB and ECOWAS with the task to integrate the education for culture of peace in the formal education system in the countries in crisis and post-crisis region.

The first phase of the project funded by the African Development Bank and coordinated by UNESCO Office in Dakar ran from 2006 to 2011 and included fact finding missions to the six countries as well as sharing of experiences. One of the pillars of the Project was a manual on how to teach culture of peace, human rights, citizenship, democracy and regional integration in formal education. The project particularly focused on six countries affected by crises or post-conflict countries, namely Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo. 

A second phase, based on the achievements of the first project, launched in 2012, aimed to finalize and disseminate the manual and to train trainers of trainers to engage in peace education programmes in the 15 ECOWAS countries. The training includes several modules related to human rights, citizenship, culture of peace and democracy and its objective is to train some 160 volunteers specialized in various fields from West-Africa to be deployed in the four pilot countries, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.

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