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Children and Youth March Forward with Peace Building in Africa

As the GNRC's Peace Education Programme in Tanzania Comes of Age

Now entering its third year, the Education for Peace Pilot Programme promises to be a success story of its kind in Tanzania. By the end of September 2005, about 40 Peace Clubs bringing together more than 500 children and youth in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, had been formed. These Peace Clubs have helped to create important avenues and spaces in which children and youth discuss peace and conflict issues. The children and youth come from diverse backgrounds, including from the two main faith traditions in Tanzania – Islam and Christianity. In Zanzibar, the scene of a bloody post-election violence in 2000 that claimed many lives, children and youth have established 15 Peace Clubs while in Dar es Salaam, there are about 25 Peace Clubs, all actively participating in peace building.

During the International Day of Peace on 21st September, GNRC Children and Youth Peace Clubs in Dar es Salaam were invited by UNICEF to attend a launch of a book drawn by children called “Voices of Peace”. More Peace Clubs were later invited to attend the exhibition at Alliance Française. Husna Abdul of Vunja Ukimya Peace Club attended the World Youth Congress in Scotland in June where she attended training on media and networked with other young journalists. She came back to Dar es Salaam with valuable experience in the media which she shared with the other  Peace Club members. Husna now anchors a weekly children and youth call-in radio programme called ‘Vunja Ukimya’ named after the ‘Vunja Ukimya’ Peace Club, on Radio Uhuru FM.

In July 2005, over fifty representatives from the Peace Clubs in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar converged in Zanzibar for a four-day Peace Camp. The Peace Camp took place in the Zanzibar famous UNESCO’s declared world heritage site – The Stone Town, during the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF). During the Peace Camp, the GNRC children and youth were joined by other children in the Island to participate in a 'March for Peace' which started and ended at the PeaceMuseum in the historical StoneTown. They were received by the Zanzibar Regional Commissioner Mr. Abdalla Mwinyi. The Peace Camp theme was ‘Peace Starts With Me'. Proposals on how peace will be strengthened in Tanzania and Africa at large were discussed by the youth and children. The Peace Club leaders were introduced to children's rights and responsibilities, ethics and peace building among other issues.