Learning to Live Together workshops as means of creating a peaceful society: the Maldives experience
This time Stories from the Field brings the voice of Democray House, an NGO from Maldives that started using the Learning to Live Together (LTLT) approach from 2012, after becoming familiar with the Manual during a workshop in Coimbatore.
Since then they organized their first Pilot LTLT Workshop in May 2012, followed by other 3 workshops for a total of 127 participants trained; 4 young facilitators from Maldives have been trained in LTLT workshops from January 2012 till May 2013 as well.
These kinds of initiatives are extremely important in context of political divide and where youth civic engagement and participation are difficult because of the community's negative perception of young people. Most of half of the Maldivian population is under the age of 25; LTLT workshops are a mean of raising awareness among youth, empowering them to play an important role in creating a peaceful and conscious society.
The main objectives of LTLT initiatives were:
- To create a dialogue among Maldivian youth concerning social problems in the country and difficulties they have been facing following the political unrest, and see how they affected them;
- To advance tolerance, the importance of respecting each other and learning how to live together despite individual differences in order to create an harmonious community;
- To promote the importance of ethics, morals and social values to strengthen the social fabric of society.
These meeting have proved to be useful, as stated by Aishath Lene Haaly, LTLT Pilot Workshop Participant:
"[...] I feel that the best part about this workshop was that we actually did learn how to live together. The group of people who went there was literally living together; even though it was for a few days, and we learned how to function as a group. [...] It opened up our minds and enabled us to see the greater good and gave us hope that our society will succeed in getting rid of the constant chaos going on and create a peaceful environment."
The LTLT initiatives of Democracy House in 2012 and 2013 have been supported by UNDP Maldives.
For the time to come, the NGO's goal is to train at least one trainer/facilitator from each of the 20 atolls of Maldives to and conduct LTLT workshops in different parts of the country.