Between 18 and 19 August 2014, 25 members of the Civil Military Operations Group of the Philippines Army took part in a workshop about peace education in the framework of the the Culture of Peace Formation organized by our partner Teach Peace Build Peace Movement. Ms Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, President of the Movement, shares: “It is necessary to work with members of the military on issues of peace so they can reach out to children affected by conflicts. The Learning to Live Together Approach, content and methodologies was used extensively to achieve the goals of the program”.
Culture of Peace Formation Program of the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement is part of its Teach Peace Build Peace Academy Component wherein the organization conducts trainings on how different sectors of society can teach about Peace to children in their communities. This is one of their ways to encourage others to teach about peace through participative, creative and innovative ways. Their message to every sector is that we can all be peace educators in order to help build a Culture of Peace in our society. Teaching about Peace includes giving our children the knowledge about the values of Peace (Cognitive), why give importance to Peace (Affective) and what the children can do to contribute to building peace in response to the conflicts in their schools or communities (Social Action).
The first session organized during the Culture of Peace Formation Program was the Peace Exercise, during which the participants were shown five of the thematic kiosks of the Learning to Live Together Manual. The kiosks were Appreciating Diversity, Putting Myself in another’s Shoes, Peace Begins with Me, Building Bridges of Trust and Working Together to Transform the World. The participants reflected bout the various kiosks and the facets of peace. They were encouraged to consider the value of peace and what peace meant to them. Then they were asked to choose the kiosk which they believed was most important to peace. This helped them develop their own ideas about peace building. They explained their ideas through creative methods including dancing and music, which will be helpful for them to work with children. The Learning to Live Together’s storytelling and role-playing activities were used as part of this activity. The soldiers were shown how they could use role-playing and story-telling while working ethics education with children.
The final part of the workshop encouraged the participants to apply the concepts they had learnedduring the workshop. They went to the Maharlika Elementary School which has been chosen for the Learning to Live Together program implementation. The soldiers worked with the children and tried to help them reflect on some of the ideas that they had learned at the workshop.
The workshop contributed to the army men become soldiers of peace. They will now be able to better use what they have learned through Learning to Live Together activities and apply them to their jobs. This will help them reach out to children in war torn areas and hopefully change the world for the better.
Special thanks to Teach Peace Peace Build Movement for their work on bringing the Ethics Education Program to different sectors of society and reaching out to the military forces to create a culture of peace in the Philippines.