Francophone Africa Training of Trainers Workshop for Higher Education on Peace and Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism

From 10 to 14 February 2020, IICBA organized a five-day training of trainers workshop in Dakar, Senegal for Higher Education on Peace and Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) for Francophone Africa. The workshop, facilitated by Arigatou International and supported by the Government of Japan, brought together 43 ministry representatives and university lecturers and representatives from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic (CAR) and Chad, as well as representatives from the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (IOF), and UNESCO Offices in Bamako, Dakar, Mali and Yaounde. IICBA was represented at the workshop by Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director; Mr. Saliou Sall, Senior Programme Coordinator; Mr. Ononuju Okwaraogoma, Consultant; Mrs. Elsabeth Belay, Project Clerk; and Mr. Daniel Ergetachew, Artist/Desktop Publisher.

The opening ceremony of the workshop began with remarks from Dr. Yokozeki, Mrs. Abibatou Sylla Sow from the UNESCO National Commission of Senegal and Mr. Daisuke Nakajima from the Embassy of Japan in Senegal. At the end of the opening ceremony, participants discussed the context of violent extremism in the Sahel region and explored their understanding of violent extremism as well as the push and pull factors that drive it.

On the second day, the participants discussed transformative pedagogy and its elements as well as the 10 competencies for building resilience, namely: critical thinking, self-awareness, mindset growth, problem solving, collaboration, intercultural communication, creative thinking, interdependence, self-confidence and empathy. To end the sessions for the day, participants were introduced to the IICBA online platform for the PVE course and facilitation and learning process. They deliberated on how motivation, exploration, dialogue, reflection and action can facilitate the learning process.

Day three of the workshop looked at the role of teachers for peace and resilience building and PVE. Participants reflected on their roles as teachers and teacher educators in supporting PVE as well as on the skills and abilities required as teacher to build peace. Through group work and role play, the participants learned about ethics for building peace, resilience and PVE. They discussed the role of teachers in creating spaces for learners’ ethical reflections, the integral role of ethics and how to engage communities in building resilience.

Participants also took part in a roundtable discussion where experiences were shared on PVE from various countries in the project. The panel included Mr. Ousmane Sene, Coordinator of UCAD FM Radio at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal; Mr. Alioune Badara Diop, Senegal Focal Point; Mr. Leopold Dakong, CAR Focal Point; and Mr. Ali Mahamane, Rector of Diffa University in Niger. One notable experience came from Mr. Sene who described the role that university radios can play in establishing and maintaining a peaceful university environment.

The fourth day of the workshop introduced participants to key terms in assessment. Participants then shared their perspectives on how they conduct assessments and their purpose.  On the final day of the workshop, participants worked according to their countries to develop country plans for implementing the project and cascading the training. Closing remarks were delivered by Ms. Maimouna Cissokho Toure from IOF, Mrs. Sow, Mr. Sall and a representative nominated by the participants.

The workshop is part of the “Peace and Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism in Africa through Teacher Development” project, supported by the Government of Japan. 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, also with the support of the Government of Japan. More than 6,500 teacher educators and teachers have been trained on transformative pedagogy for peacebuilding thus far. This project focuses on sharing and scaling up best practices in the target countries. 

The project targets teachers in 16 countries in Africa, namely Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and their cross-border areas. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Union (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. 

The one-year project aims to instill peace, build resilience and prevent violent extremism through education with an emphasis on teacher development. Specifically, the training targets faculty of education and peace institutes in universities on the peace and resilience building and prevention of violent extremism guide and its activities with emphasis on pedagogy, curriculum and assessment integration and practice. This training was organized for Francophone countries in the project and is the second in a series of three trainings. The first, for Anglophone Africa, was held in October 2019 and the third and final is scheduled for March 2020 for Arabic-speaking countries in Rabat, Morocco.