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Building a Culture of Peace – Learning to Live Together in Dominican Republic

The Global Network of Religions for Children, GNRC, Dominican Republic in collaboration with Arigatou International Geneva, organized a Basic Training Workshop on how to use the Learning to Live Together (LTLT) Programme.

The workshop took place in San Victor, Moca from 3 to 6 June 2015 and targeted 30 educators from faith-based organizations, working directly with children, that are committed to implement the LTLT systematically in their organizations.

Dominican Republic 1 smallAll participants and facilitators after the workshop in San Victor, Dominican Republic.

The sound development of a child strongly depends on safe and caring environment in the family, school and in the community. These are spaces where the child shall be involved in an atmosphere of happiness, love and encouragement to fully develop, emotionally, physically, cognitively and spiritually. Unfortunately, very often, these are spaces where children experience violence.

Recent data indicates that, in Dominican Republic, 39.5 per cent of adolescents experienced some form of violence from their peers. Corporal punishment continues to be a disciplinary practice commonly used and accepted by caregivers and child labor is still a reality. In schools, manifestations of physical and psychological violence are common and normalized.

Children are growing in a culture of violence that needs to be addressed and transformed. Faith based communities and local organizations working with children play a key role responding with initiatives that contribute to break this cycle of violence and to build a culture of peace.

This workshop aimed to create spaces for participants to explore, discuss, and reflect about violence affecting children in the family, school, community, and as individuals while being introduced to the key concepts, methodologies, learning process and educational approach of the LTLT Programme.

Participants developed facilitation skills and learned how to concretely design and implement a LTLT Programme customized to their organizations to empower children to make ethical decisions, nurture their spirituality, strengthen their identity and critical thinking, self-esteem and self-concept, through meaningful interactions with other children, fostering the individual and collective responsibilities to create a culture of peace.

Dominican Republic 2 smallParticipants during the workshop in San Victor, Dominican Republic.

Throughout the workshop a Community of Practice was created and out of the 15 organizations participating, at least 12 working with formal and non-formal education, affirmed the commitment to implement the LTLT Programme with children aged eight to 18 for a period between six to nine months, from August 2015 onwards.

The first physical meeting of the Community of Practice took place in Santo Domingo on 17 July. Ms. Vera Leal participated by Skype to provide technical support on the customization of the implementation to the organizations that are committed to implement the LTLT Programme in a systematic and sustainable way.

Ms. Carmen Julia Gómez, Monitoring and Evaluation coordinator for Dominican Republic, facilitated the meeting together with Ms. Eric Gomez, GNRC coordinator for Dominican Republic.

The basic training workshop was facilitated by Ms. Mónica Bernal an official trainer on the LTLT Programme, Ms. Eric Gomez, GNRC coordinator in Dominican Republic, Mr. José Raúl Vargas y Ms. Josefina Barceló from GNRC Dominican Republic, and Ms. Vera Leal, Ethics Education Program Officer for Arigatou International Geneva and official trainer on the LTLT Programme.

Our sincere appreciation goes to Catholic Relief Services in Dominican Republic for mobilizing all efforts to organize the workshop, and to the GNRC Committee in Dominican Republic for their constant support and commitment to make it happen.

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