UNESCO IICBA and the Embassy of Japan Signing Ceremony to Launch a 3rd Edition Project for Peacebuilding and the Prevention of Violent Extremism
On 5 March 2019, UNESCO IICBA and the Japanese Embassy in Ethiopia officially launched the "Peace and Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism in Africa through Teacher Development" project at a signing ceremony held in Africa Hall in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The agreement, for 500,000 USD for a one-year project concluding in 2020, was signed by H.E. Mr. Daisuke Matsunaga, Ambassador of Japan to Ethiopia, and Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of IICBA. H.E. Mr. Fumio Shimizu, Ambassador of Japan to the African Union (AU) and UNECA, and H.E. Mr. Aeneas Chapinga Chuma, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Ethiopia were also present.
The main objective of the project is peace and resilience building for youth through teacher development in order to instill peace values in the minds of students so as to prevent violent extremism in the regions. The project targets teachers in 17 countries in the Horn of Africa and Sahel region, namely Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and their cross-border areas. UNECA, AU Commission's Human Resources and Science and Technology Department and Peace and Security Department along with the UNICEF Liaison Office to the AU are strategic partners in the project.
At the signing ceremony, Mr. Chuma stressed the importance of peace in Africa and commended the continued efforts made by the Government of Japan and IICBA. Dr. Yokozeki thanked the Government of Japan, particularly the Embassy of Japan in Ethiopia, the ambassadors and their team for the efforts they made to support this project and IICBA in the third year. She explained that the project builds upon lessons learned from the “Teacher Training and Development for Peace Building’’ projects implemented in the Horn of Africa in 2017 and in the Sahel region in 2018, with the support of the Government of Japan. More than 6,500 teacher educators and teachers have been trained on transformative pedagogy for peacebuilding. This project will focus on sharing and scaling up good practices in the target countries.
Ambassador Matsunaga referred to the UNESCO constitution preamble, which states “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” He also talked about Japan’s experience with atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the disastrous effects on ordinary people in the war. He noted the paramount importance of working on teacher development towards peace and resilience.
To learn more about IICBA’s previous work in peacebuilding and the prevention of violent extremism through teacher development, check out some of the following past reports and resources: