Ethics Education for Children - March 2014 Newletter

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Ethics Education for Children

Enhancing children's innate ability to make positive contributions

Issue Nº 3 - March 2014  
Dear friends,

Welcome to the March edition of the Arigatou International - Ethics Education Newsletter.

This year Arigatou International Geneva embarks in several exciting projects to continue disseminating, resourcing and developing its ethics education initiative.  After the Interfaith Council meeting held in December 2013 clear recommendations were provided to the Secretariat to strengthen the training area on the Learning to Live Together Programme, work more purposely with formal education, mainstream the use of ethics education into other areas and thematic issues, and develop additional resources.

During 2014 we will be launching an e-learning platform for facilitators of the Learning to Live Together that aims to connect facilitators from all over the world, share experiences and good practices and deepen the knowledge on ethics education, contributing to the improvement of our training programs.  This year we are also starting a new initiative to strengthen family systems through ethics education and pilot projects will be initiated in several locations.  A Monitoring and Evaluation process is being put in place to understand better the impact of our training programs and ultimately their impact on children and youth.  Stories from the field will be filling up our web pages and newsletter showcasing the great work that trainers, facilitators, children and youth are doing to promote learning to live together around the world.

This year when we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, the Ethics Education Initiative of Arigatou International wants to make a contribution not only to the improvement of quality education for children and the creation of safer and more inclusive environments for them to grow and develop but also to raise awareness about the need and importance of nurturing values that support intercultural and interfaith learning, dialogue and collaboration. 

The news and stories presented in this issue, ranging from international capacity building meetings, training workshops, testimonies from the field and voices of youth, are an invitation for you to continue working with us, be inspired and to get in touch with us to develop new partnerships and collaborations. 

In peace,

Maria Lucia Uribe
Director Arigatou International - Geneva
Inside this issue
By Dr. Heidi Hadsell, Member of the Interfaith Council

Why is Ethics Education important for promoting interfaith learning and dialogue?

Ethics education promotes interfaith learning and dialogue in many direct and indirect ways. Perhaps most importantly, because the content of ethics has  so much to do with individual or group understanding of  responsibilities to and relationships with other people, ethics education encourages  our children and youth to think about these relationships at a time in their lives when they are open to and curious about other people, and eager to work out how to relate to them.

Ethics education begins in the family. From an early age children informally learn their basic values, and this learning helps teach children who they are and what the values are  that are central to their families and traditions and cultures.  Grounded in the family, the world of the child expands from the family   and broadens in concentric circles as the child grows in understanding and  experiences.
Voices of Youth
What Youth are saying about ethis and the issues that affect them

In October 2013, an online discussion forum was launched on the Ethics Education for Children website. The forum welcomed the voices of young people from all around the world that had participated in Learning to Live Together programs in the past.

Nicolas Meslaoui from Belgium, Bissan Salman from Israel and Ornella Barros from Colombia were the three youth from the GNRC who were invited to write a thought-provoking article about ethics and the issues they are involved in either at the academic or working level.  The three of them invited the readers to become more proactive in their communities.   

The open platform gave the opportunity to the youth not only to express their points of view, but also to engage in a constructive and dynamic dialogue through the replies of other youth. These enriching interactions and the power of these discussions about ethics can be reflected on the following metaphor of a tree.

Continue reading...

Stories from the Field
Testimony from a Young Indian Leader

For this issue, “Stories From the Field” features a testimony of a youth who participated in the 2006 Ethics Education Workshop in Coimbatore, India and since them in several activities related to ethics education organized by the Gandhian organization, Shanti Ashram.

Karthikeyan Anand, is nowadays a medical student and social volunteer in Shanti Ahsram. We asked him to share with us his journey since he first got involved in the Learning to Live Together programme and how he thinks it has helped shape who he is now.
In focus
An International Capacity Building Workshop titled "Weaving Stories of Change" on the Learning to Live Together Programme held in Ponte de Lima, Portugal

A capacity building workshop for trainers of the Learning to Live Together Programme was held in Ponte de Lima, Portugal from 4 – 9 March 2014.

20 participants including international trainers, members of the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children and Arigatou International Geneva staff were brought together to discuss and reflect on the educational framework of the Learning to Live Together Programme and to deepen the understanding of its key concepts and approaches.  The meeting also provided a space for the participants to share stories of success and challenges faced in their training programs and recommendations to improve the work we do with facilitators.

GNRC Training Workshop on the Learning to Live Together Programme held in Bosnia & Herzegovina

An International Basic Training Workshop on the Learning to Live Together was organized in Sarajevo – Bosnia & Herzegovina on the 20 - 23 February by Mosaik Association - GNRC Bosnia & Herzegovina with the support of GNRC Europe and the Arigatou International - Ethics Education for Children office in Geneva.

25 participants came together from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Spain and Portugal from different cultural, religious (Muslims, Christians) and professional (teachers, psychologists, social workers, volunteers who work with children - GNRC members) backgrounds. The objectives of the workshop were twofold: 1) To develop competencies in the participants to use the Learning to Live Together programme and 2) To strengthen the GNRC network in Europe, empowering people who are working for children’s wellbeing in different GNRC activities.

GNRC Ethics Education Training Workshop in Ayagualo, El Salvador

From 19-23 January 2014, a Learning to Live Together Workshop was held in Ayagualo (El Salvador) with participants from the GNRC El Salvador committee composed of representatives of different Christian Churches, Muslims, Indigenous People and secular organizations. El Salvador is one of the locations where the Learning To Live Together programme was tested during its development.

During the workshop, participants had the opportunity to experience firsthand the methodologies and pedagogical tools for designing educational processes using the manual. They were also introduced to the concept of “Community of Practice” and El Salvador is set out to be a pilot location for the implementation of the monitoring and evaluation process of the Learning to Live Together programme.

First GNRC Regional Basic Training Workshop for Facilitators on the Learning to Live Together Programme held in Africa

A Basic Training Workshop for Facilitators on the use of the Learning to Live Together manual was held in Nairobi, Kenya from 13 - 15 January in collaboration with the GNRC. More than 40 participants from different parts of the continent and different faiths, working with children and youth, were part of the workshop.

The workshop aimed at training GNRC national focal points and their representatives who directly work with children and young people on the approach, methodology and resources of the Learning To Live Together Ethics Education programme to strengthen their work with children and young people in inter-religious and inter-cultural contexts in their communities.


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  Did you know?

Did you know that the Ethics Education Initiative of Arigatou International is developing an e-learning platform to support the work of facilitators in all regions? The platform will provide support to all those involved in the implementation of the Learning to Live Together programme as part of an initiative to encourage both local and global collaboration and support among facilitators using the programme. It will be an intuitive online space where discussion, exchange, collaboration and learning about Learning to Live Together can build community and continuity among facilitators. It will stimulate a deeper understanding of the key concepts and educational approach of Learning to Live Together and provide outlets for creativity and innovation concerning its implementation.

Ms Valerie De Pauw is in charge of bringing the project to fruition and a first pilot is expected to be launched in June2014.
We will share more information in the next newsletter.
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  Strengthening Family Systems through Ethics Education

Arigatou International Geneva is initiating the development of a complementary resource to the Learning to Live Together Programme aimed to families and to strengthen positive parenting.  This initiative responds to the need to support the development of safe environments for the children and youth who go through the Learning to Live Together programs.  

The Strengthening Family Systems initiative will be based on the Arigatou International ethics educational framework and will provide a platform to contribute to tackling some of family issues that affect children's sound and healthy development.  

Pilot projects will be initiated in several locations around the world during the next months and it is expected that in 2015 a module will be developed and widely implemented based on the inputs and insights gained from these projects.  

During 2014 we will showcase several of these initiatives as a contribution to the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family, which will offer an opportunity to refocus on the role of families in development, share good practices in family policy making and review challenges faced by families and recommendations.  

Stay tuned and do not hesitate to contact Ms Vera Leal, Program Officer of Arigatou International Geneva, if you are interested to collaborate with us on this important initiative.  

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  GNRC Community of Practice on the Learning to Live Together Programme

A GNRC Community of Practice on the Learning to Live Together Programme was launched in El Salvador in January 2014 during the Ethics Education workshop.  The newly formed Community of Practice has already met twice after the training Workshop to follow up on the commitments made and their implementation plans. The GNRC member institutions are committed to a 10 month implementation of the programme and to a systematic monitoring and evaluation process.

30 participants from several geographical focal groups in El Salvador that will be implementing the Learning to Live Together Programe were present in the meeting to share their plans and provide feedback to each other. A common calendar of activities has been established, activities have been initiated in several places and training days are under planning. 

The committment of the GNRC institutions to develop this community of practice and ensure the implementation of their plans is surely an example for other countries and a model of interfaith and ecumenical collaboration to deal with violence that affect children and youth. 

Some of the testimonies from the participants:

"We are very enthusiastic.  We have already initiated our work and have changed some of the names of our activities to adapt properly to our own context, the first impressions of the youth have been very positive". Hortensia del Villar, Nun from Ángel de la Guarda (Popotlán).

"We are in a school break at the moment but we are redesigning our plans to be able to take off as soon as possible" Professor Raúl from Izalco.

"I initiated with the four values with 10 leaders from other Catholic churches and they want more, my plan is to form other facilitators as multipliers" Salvador Magaña from Pastoral Juvenil Arquidiocesana.

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  Facilitators implementing the Learning to Live Together Programme

“The Learning to Live Together was really a great tool. The experience of the basic training was great and inspiring. I have used the programme in two different occasions since I returned from the Training in Nairobi in January.
I must say, that the Learning to Live Together has being a great tool for me and an interesting one in carrying out my programs and activities. I have used the manual with the Young Catholic Students’ Sustainable Environment and Peace Building program and during the meeting of the National Executive Committtee of all the major Catholic Youth groups in Nigeria.”

Richard Apeh from Nigeria, Participant of the GNRC Basic Training Workshop in Kenya
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  Arigatou International Geneva welcomes Mr. Suchith Abeyewickreme

The Arigatou International Geneva office welcomes Mr. Suchith Abeyewickreme, the newly appointed Ethics Education Program Coordinator for the Asia region. Mr. Abeyewickreme will be in charge  of the promotion, dissemination, training and general implementation of the ethics education programme in the region.

Click here to read his complete profile
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