UNESCO-IICBA Training of Teacher Trainers: Peace-Loving Teachers for Peace-Loving Youth

‘It is crucially important to invest in youth as youth makes up a large percentage of the total population in the Horn of Africa and surrounding countries. The young people will be primary bearers of mid-to-long term peace-building in the region.’ With these words, His Excellency Mr. Kameda, Japanese Ambassador to Uganda welcomed 29 trainees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda to UNESCO-IICBA’s Training of Teacher Trainers (ToT) workshop in Entebbe, Uganda. Held from 4-8 September 2017, the ToT is a key part of IICBA’s Teacher Training and Development for Peace-building in the Horn of Africa and Surrounding Countries project, supported by the Japanese government. Co-organized by the UNESCO Kampala Office, the objective of the week-long workshop was to strengthen the capacity of trainers who will then cascade the trainings in their respective countries.

Participants with His Excellency Kameda, Dr. Jane Egau of Uganda MoES and Mr. Juvane of IICBA, ©IICBA

Ambassador Kameda, who was impressed by the punctuality of proceedings, was joined by Dr. Jane Egau, Commissioner of Teacher Instruction, Education and Training of Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports. She encouraged participants to ‘help teachers understand their importance in this process of building peace.  A peace loving teacher will produce a peace loving citizen.’ Dr. Egau also noted the positioning of the project in contributing to the international development agenda stating, ‘the project and its associated activities are aligned with Goal 4 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Africa Union’s ‘The Africa We Want’ Agenda 2063 and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 2016-2025).’ As a member of the Ministry of Education of the ToTs hosting country, Dr. Egau also recognized ‘IICBA for the tremendous support that the institution has given to the region and especially to teacher education.’

Participants deep in dialogue during ToTs, ©IICBA

The training sessions were interactive, dynamic and engaging, facilitated by Mr. Suchith Abeyewickreme, and Ms. Eleonora Mura of Arigatou International, Dr. Yonas of Addis Ababa University, Ms. Mary Kangeth of Kenya National Commission and Mr. Charles Mwaniki of Kenya MoE, Dr. Martha K. Ferede and Ms. Eyerusalem Azmeraw of IICBA. Participants took part in activities that explored the root causes of conflict and debated their nature. As participants noted, not all conflict is negative. ‘Some conflicts lead to positive change,’ said one. ‘Conflicts make people aware that something is wrong,’ remarked another. ‘When something is wrong, that leads to critical thinking and development.’ Participants also examined approaches to developing the competences of peace-builders. The role of ethics, collaboration, and decision-making in the peace-building process were discussed in-depth.

How does one educate for peace-building? As participants discovered, this is largely dependent upon the cultivation of skills through transformative pedagogy. This approach allows learners to examine their own knowledge and values, consider other perspectives, and be empathetic. Arigatou International shared how peace-building must be approached in a holistic manner that involves in-school, out-of-school, and community activities. Adults also must practice these behaviors, serving as role models for youth, and including youth in the decision-making processes.

Demonstrating Kenyan Dance at Cultural Evening, ©IICBA

These ideas were reinforced by a visit from Ms. Anne Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa who also challenged participants to engage with their government and ministry officials to further support the project and, more importantly, to integrate it in policy and make it sustainable. She stressed, “No matter what your role is, it is an important one. Never underestimate what you can contribute.”

Participants with Ms. Anne Therese Ndong-Jatta, ©IICBA

Finally, how can teachers know that learning has taken place? Participants worked together to brainstorm ways in which learning could be assessed, monitored and evaluated. Some gave examples such as keeping portfolios, problem-solving activities, impact stories and community projects.

Overall, participants found the session on transformative pedagogies with ‘ethical aspects in peace-building’ to be highly relevant. Some of their main lessons were: peacebuilding as relationship building, the collaborative whole school approach, and the importance of critical thinking in conflict resolution.

One participant noted that this particular workshop was unique due to it is interactive and dynamic teaching methods and emphasis on competencies.  

On the final day of trainings, country groups presented their training and cascading plans. For instance, South Sudan shared a plan to train 30 trainers at its first in-country ToTs from 3 universities (to reach higher secondary teachers), 5 Teacher Training institute, and 1 College of Education and 1 County Education Centers (to reach lower secondary teachers). Training will take place for 5 days from October 9-13 in Juba with coordination by focal persons at the MoE and engagement of the South Sudan UNESCO office. The South Sudan training team plans to cascade the trainings to 1,300 pre-service secondary school teachers. Monitoring and evaluation will be conducted by trainers, ministry staff and include site visits, observations, and focus group discussions.This preliminary plan will be shared with the South Sudan’s MoE and finalized by 18 September 2017.

During the closing ceremony, participants were awarded with certificates of completion, presented by Ms. Annet Kajura of the Uganda Ministry of Education and Sports, Dr. Victoria Kisaakye, Programme Coordinator of the UNESCO Kampala Office, and Ms. Marina Patrier, Programme Specialist for Education of the UNESCO Regional  Office for East Africa.  

Closing ceremony with Ms. Patrier and Dr. Kisaakye, ©IICBA

Based on the strong foundation of the ToTs in Entebbe, participants/trainers will implement their in-country trainings and cascade it in the coming months in order to reach 8,000 pre and in-service secondary school teachers across the six countries. IICBA will provide continued technical support, conduct monitoring and evaluation, develop advocacy activities and participate in policy dialogues.

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