IICBA Organizes an Experience Sharing Workshop on Preventing Violent Extremism through Teacher Development and Youth Empowerment for African Countries

On the 29-30 April 2019, the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) organized an experience sharing workshop for the "Youth Empowerment for Peace and Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) in African Countries through Teacher Development" project, supported by the Government of Japan, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. One country focal point from each of the 16 African countries in the project participated in the workshop. In addition were representatives from One African Child, Arigatou International, Addis Ababa University’s Institute for Peace and Security Studies, UNDP Regional Office in Ethiopia and UNESCO Headquarters and multiple Offices, namely the Multisectoral Regional Office in Dakar, Regional Office for Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, Cluster Office in Rabat, Multisectoral Regional Office in Abuja, and Country Offices in Juba and Uganda, in addition to several IICBA staff.

The workshop was opened by H.E. Mr. Daisuke Matsunaga, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Ethiopia, who reiterated the Government of Japan’s support to peacebuilding efforts in Africa. After the opening, countries presented on their experiences, progress and lessons learned from the “Teacher Training and Development for Peace Building’’ projects, supported by the Government of Japan and implemented in the Horn of Africa in 2017 and in the Sahel region in 2018, which this 2019 project phase builds upon; This project focuses on sharing and scaling up good practices in the target countries. In addition, Mr. Marco Pasqualini from UNESCO Headquarters presented on building learners’ resilience to violent extremism through Global Citizenship Education and Mr. Suchith Abeyewickreme from Arigatou International discussed interreligious and intercultural ethics education for youth empowerment for PVE and Arigatou International’s experience.

The second day started with a panel discussion on the role of education, social media and youth in PVE. It was moderated by Mr. Pasqualini and included the following panelists– Mr. Tomas Kral from the United Nations Development Programme Regional Service Centre for Africa, Ms. Mary Kangethe from the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM), Ms. Victoria Ibiwoye from One African Child and Dr. Philip Attuquayefio from the African Union Commission (AUC). 

“What we see on media is more negative stories than positive stories… what about everyday heroes?
What about positive stories?… We know that the largest population online are youth…                         
So as educators we also need to engage and maximize the power of social media”

Ms. Victoria Ibiwoye from One African Child

The morning continued with presentations from Mr. Aderaw Tassew of the UNESCO Liaison Office to the African Union (AU) on Media and Information Literacy and from UNESCO Dakar Colleagues, Mr. José Edmond Meku Fotso and Ms. Catherine Collin, on networks for the exchange and sharing of information and experience among PVE through education practitioners. Media and Information Literacy can help us to promote peace and PVE by combating misperceptions, prejudices and hate speech. For more information, check out UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy Curriculum for Teachers available in English here: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000192971/PDF/192971eng.pdf.multi and in French here: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000216531.

Afterwards, participants were broken into three groups and given time for discussion to plan for synergy and 2019 actions. This was followed by closing remarks from H.E. Mr. Fumio Shimizu, Ambassador of Japan to the AU.

The workshop participants came from 18 countries, namely Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. The new project targets 20+ countries and their cross-border areas. The AUC along with the UNICEF Liaison Office to the AU are strategic partners in the project.