National Capacity-building Workshop on the Prevention of Violence Extremism through Education in South Sudan

UNESCO South Sudan and the Ministry of General Education and Instruction of the Republic of South Sudan in partnership with UNESCO-IICBA and Hedayah organized a “National Follow-up Capacity-building Workshop on the Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education (PVE-E)” from 3 to 5 October 2018. The workshop was attended by 31 Education Ministry personnel, teacher educators from two teacher training colleges and secondary school teachers from five secondary schools in South Sudan. The goal of the workshop was to build the capacities of education stakeholders, namely policy makers, teacher educators and teachers, to develop and implement educational interventions and approaches that contribute, effectively and appropriately to the prevention of violent extremism through resilience building and the promotion of global citizenship in South Sudan. This program was conducted as a follow-up to a "Capacity-Building Workshop on the Prevention of Violence through Education in Sub-Saharan Africa" hosted by UNESCO HQ and UNESCO-IICBA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2017.

The workshop was officially opened by Mr. Michael Lopuke Lotyam, Undersecretary of the Ministry of General Education and Instruction of the Republic of South Sudan. In his remarks he sincerely appreciated the assistant of UNESCO, UNESCO-IICBA and Hedayah. He also stressed that this workshop would not have been possible without the support of the Government of Australia, especially the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia. In his opening remarks, he stated that

Peace is not something we touch or something which has color. However, we are able to feel it… the role of teachers and educationists in this regard is huge by modelling the society based on the values which are set as a multicultural nation… students in every interaction with every teacher learn the value of peace and being resilient to keep themselves from the driving sources of radicalization and violence extremism.

Ms. Eyerusalem Azmeraw, Project Officer and focal person on PVE-E in UNESCO-IICBA, explained that UNESCO’s work around PVE-E builds on its longstanding commitment to peace and human rights education, and more recently to global citizenship education (GCED). GCED aims to equip learners with knowledge but above all, psycho-socio-emotional skills that nurture respect for all, build a sense of belonging to a common humanity and help learners to become responsible and active global citizens for a peaceful, inclusive and sustainable world.

Through the sessions provided in the workshop, the participants actively discussed and improved their understanding of terminologies and concepts in PVE-E. They also identified priority areas of intervention, key implementation challenges and good practices to overcome obstacles. The participants also learned and practiced the pedagogical approaches that can help learners to resist the drivers of violent extremism, build resilience in society and nurture a culture of peace in and through education. For example, creating safe spaces for classroom dialogue about challenging topics, including violent extremism; enhancing social and emotional learning activities that lead to building more resilient students; and developing an understanding of digital, critical and media literacy skills. The workshop also encouraged the participants to create localized networks of teachers and educators to facilitate the continuous exchange of good practices and information in support of PVE-E goals.

For more information and resources on the prevention of violent extremism and GCED, refer to the following UNESCO documents:

-    A Teacher’s Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism
-    Preventing violent extremism through education: A guide for policy-makers
-    UNESCO Clearinghouse on Global Citizenship Education