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Peace, Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism in Africa: Working with Higher Education Specialists in Africa to Scale up the Reach

Arigatou International facilitated two online workshops for Higher Education on Peace and Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism. This was the last of a series of three workshops that make up the “Peace and Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism in Africa through Teacher Development” project, led by the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), and supported by the Government of Japan.

These online sessions replaced the on-site workshop originally scheduled to take place in March 2020 in Rabat, which was canceled due to disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first online workshop, which was conducted in English, was composed of a set of six sessions distributed from 25 May to 05 June 2020. It reached 18 educators from Libya and Egypt, together with representatives of UNESCO Offices in the region.

The second workshop engaged 29 French-speaking educators from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. The six sessions of this workshop took place between 8 and 19 June 2020.

"We did not learn about transformative pedagogy. We truly experienced what transformative pedagogy is," stated one of the participants.

During the sessions, Ms. Eleonora Mura and Mr. Suchith Abeyewickreme from Arigatou International, co-facilitated the workshop with the support of Ms. Rana Abdul Latif, Office of UNESCO Arab States in Beirut and International Trainer of the Learning to Live Together Programme, as well local facilitators  Ms. Nora Tairi from the Ministry of Education of Algeria and Mr. Mohamed Abderrahamene from the Ministry of Education of Mauritania. Two regional experts on these topics also supported the implementation and facilitation of the workshop: Prof. Amr Abdallah from UPEACE and Prof. Boubacar Niane from the University of Dakar. The team of facilitators introduced Transformative Pedagogy as a tool for promoting peacebuilding, resilience and the prevention of violent extremism.

Representatives of Higher Education and the Ministries of Education explored how fostering ethical reflections and using transformative pedagogy and can help protect, support and empower learners.

Through interactive activities and dialogue sessions, participants discussed how ethics can help individuals to be resilient to violence and violent extremism by helping them understand and deal with the complex causes of violent extremism. They also looked at ways to take knowledge into action and learned how ethical reflections can lead to collective actions that can transform our societies through learner-led projects and meaningful community engagements.

"I entered this zoom meeting with the Algerian nationality and I am leaving with the African one," said one participant as the workshops came to an end.

The one-year project aims to instill peace, build resilience and prevent violent extremism through education with an emphasis on teacher development. It builds upon lessons learned from the “Teacher Training and Development for Peace Building’’ projects implemented in the Horn of Africa in 2017 and the Sahel region in 2018.

 

IICBA workshop Zoom Picture

The project focuses on sharing and scaling up best practices in the target countries and strengthening teacher capacity building at Universities related to peacebuilding and prevention of violent extremism. It targets teachers in 19 countries in Africa, namely: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, and their cross-border areas.

Arigatou International has been partnering with UNESCO IICBA since 2017, providing technical expertise and adapting the Ethics Education Framework of Arigatou International to address peace and resilience building and the prevention of violent extremism through a transformative pedagogy. 

As part of the collaboration, Arigatou International Geneva is also partnering with UNESCO IICBA to develop an e-learning course for educators based on these resources.

We thank UNESCO-IICBA for making us part of this project and trusting in the value of our educational approach, as well as the Government of Japan for making this project possible. We also thank the participants for their commitment and enthusiasm.

 

IICBA workshop Picture 2