Transforming Education in Africa to Advance Peace and Resilience 

Since 2017, UNESCO IICBA has ignited an educational movement across 22 African countries mainstreaming a Transformative Pedagogy approach to promote peace, resilience building, and the prevention of violent extremism in the región.

Our innovative framework for ethics education has served as the foundation for these interventions, responding to the ethical challenges faced in the region, which is increasingly affected by conflict and fragility.

Through this collaboration, our educational framework has reached 10,000 teachers and education lecturers across the African continent. 

From remote villages to bustling urban centers, teachers have become ambassadors of change, nurturing future generations and dismantling the roots of violent extremism. 

“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.”

Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki

Former Director for UNESCO IICBA

The collaboration with UNESCO- IICBA over the past five years has been immensely enriching for Arigatou International, yielding far-reaching and empowering benefits for all stakeholders involved.  

Let’s highlight some of the remarkable accomplishments of this project: 

Transformative Pedagogy is an innovative pedagogical approach that empowers both teachers and learners. It encourages learners to be reflective and critical thinkers who can contribute meaningfully as members of local and global communities. The approach equips learners with the necessary competencies to become agents of peace and work to challenge and transform violence in their communities is imperative. It encourages learners to be reflective and critical thinkers who can contribute meaningfully as members of local and global communities.  

It also redefines the role of teachers. Teachers become facilitators with the disposition, knowledge, skills and commitment to support students to develop their full potential as peacebuilders. Recognizing how learners and youth are key actors in peace-building efforts, the empowerment of learners and young people has been the cornerstone of this approach.

This initiative has empowered teachers to become catalysts for change, equipping them with cognitive skills and a deep understanding of the contextual issues affecting learners, which is a key pillar of a transformative pedagogy. Equipped with specific analytical tools, educators can map the complex dynamics of violence and injustice, enabling them to develop targeted strategies for fostering peace and resilience. 

What sets this approach apart is its adaptability. Each country has integrated the key elements of the approach into their existing frameworks, contributing to strengthening the delivery of a transformative pedagogy in all settings.  

Several dedicated resources such as guides for teachers, online training and continuous technical support have deepened understanding and facilitated the implementation of this innovative approach. The result is a vibrant learning community of teachers across the African continent!

Let’s hear their voices: 

Mr. Mako Matsela

Mr. Mako Matsela

Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO

“I discovered people tend to regard structured violence as part of their life. It’s only after going through this kind of training that one is able to differentiate between types or forms of violence and also identify some cultural practices.”

Dr. Duduzile Mzindle

Dr. Duduzile Mzindle

The Durban University of Technology

“Peace clubs will go a long way towards alleviating the violence (in schools and universities), creating safe spaces for dialogues and intergenerational exchanges.” 

Dr. Raymond Fru

Dr. Raymond Fru

Sol Plaatje University

“This program has empowered me as a history teacher, thanks to the practical (and) analytical tools for understanding violence and its root causes that I have been using with the learners in class.”

In the period under review: 

3 Webinars on Lessons Learned 

120 participants joined three webinars to reflect on the lessons learned throughout these six years of learning. Speakers included representatives of Ministries of Education, UNESCO offices, the African Union – Youth 4 Peace Africa Program, the European Union Delegation to the African Union, and youth leaders. 

1 Capacity Building Workshop 

Held in Douala, Cameroon, the workshop reached 40 university lecturers and representatives from UNESCO offices coming from Burundi, Cameron, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad.

The workshop was organized by UNESCO – IICBA, the UNESCO Office in Yaoundé and Arigatou International – Geneva, and supported by the Government of Japan. 

1 Pan African Sharing Experience 

The event served as a platform for delving into the integration of transformative pedagogy within the education systems of these countries. By facilitating the active involvement of ministries of education and young people from across Africa, this event fostered intergenerational dialogue and facilitated the exchange of knowledge and insights.  Stories from teachers were collected to understand the value of the training they received, the diverse ways they have been implementing the program and the benefits for their work.  

A voice from our team: 

It has been truly incredible to discuss with the teachers trained across Africa about the ways they have adapted and implemented the program to respond to their context. The Transformative Pedagogy approach has equipped teachers in 22 countries in Africa with innovative skills and techniques to engage learners to become actors of peace, empowering them to think critically and take action.

Ms. Eleonora Mura

Head of Partnerships and Organizational Development, Arigatou International

Integrating Global Citizenship Education and Southern Africa Liberation History into the Curriculum

During this period, a new collaboration was established between UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) and Arigatou International – Geneva. The joint project aimed to integrate Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and Southern Africa Liberation History into the curriculum and teaching practices of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, and Tanzania. 

Two engaging workshops and a thought-provoking webinar were conducted, including 55 participants. The discussions focused on the intersections between peace, solidarity, conflict, violence, and citizenship-related issues like identity. The sessions aimed to foster social cohesion, equity, and a transformative pedagogical approach within educational settings across the Southern Africa region. Participants engaged in a meaningful dialogue, sharing strategies to effectively integrate transformative pedagogy within their respective countries and institutional contexts. 

This collaboration builds upon the partnership between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and UNESCO’s Regional Office for Southern Africa. This partnership is dedicated to promoting the integration of Southern African Liberation History (SALH) and GCED in teaching and learning, aligning with the 2021 Roadmap. 

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