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Online Training on Transformative Pedagogy for Peacebuilding in Southern African Countries

Arigatou International Geneva, together with the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), held an online workshop of six sessions from 1 to 11 December 2020 on 'Transformative Pedagogy for Peacebuilding.' The workshop aimed at 34 participants from Ministries of Education, Universities, UNESCO National Commissions and UNESCO in Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The training was a part of our ongoing collaboration with UNESCO IICBA for the project on Building Peace, Resilience and Prevention of Violence through Education in Africa, supported by the Government of Japan. The project builds on previous phases and lessons learned from the "Teacher Training and Development for Peace Building'' projects implemented in the Horn of Africa in 2017, in the Sahel region in 2018, and Higher Education in 2019.

The main focus of the training was to build the capacity of the participants and receive feedback on the draft Guide for Teachers on Peace and Prevention of Violence in Southern African Countries (Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe). Some of the key topics of the workshops were Transformative Pedagogy for Peacebuilding, Ethics as a Lens for Transformation and Learner Led Action.

Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director for UNESCO IICBA, remarked “Through our teacher education programs, we as trainers and leaders first must transform ourselves and then inspire our teachers to transform themselves. It is only through our embodied example that we can transform our learners by using transformative pedagogy in classrooms and schools.”

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The participants from the four Southern African countries discussed their specific country contexts and the root causes of violence in their countries including issues of racism and xenophobia. They shared their experience on Global Citizenship Education and Peace and Prevention of Violence related curriculum content, identified the competencies teachers require to deliver Education for Peacebuilding and shared good practices in the area of education and youth mobilization. At the end of the two-week workshop, the participants created an action plan for cascading peace education in their schools and universities.

Reflecting on their experience a participant from Zimbabwe said “as teacher educator myself I have learned that it is not just about teaching students or learners to pass the examination, but when you are a teacher educator you are also teaching your learners lessons for life.”

A participant from Zambia noted “the issue of peace is much more needed now than ever before, looking at the circumstances that are going on in our country. It is also good to note that as a teacher educator, the role that we can play in influencing peace in our community, in our society, has taken center stage in this workshop.”

“We all have a responsibility towards peace in our own small little corners,” concluded a participant from South Africa.

Arigatou International Geneva has been partnering with UNESCO IICBA on similar projects since 2017, providing technical expertise in adapting its Ethics Education Framework to address peace and resilience building and the prevention of violence through transformative pedagogy. The Guide for Teachers in Southern Africa will be finalized in January 2021.

We thank UNESCO IICBA for inviting us to work together on this project, and the Government of Japan for making this possible.

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