Jun 14, 2013, 11:44 AM
West Africa Network for Peace Building WANEP The Gambia last week held a two-day peace education workshop for the greater
Held at NaNA Conference Hall, the workshop, which targeted various teachers, was organised by WANEP.
In her remarks at the official ceremony, the National Network coordinator for WANEP, Pamela Cole, said the workshop marked the first of a series on peace education organised by WANEP Gambia.
WANEP Gambia conveyed the workshop to strengthen their capacity in peace building and conflict prevention through peace education programme.
She added that people living in The Gambia are fortunate since the country has never experienced armed conflict since independence. There is great need to promote a culture of peace, she said: “Our Peace education targets schools where we can catch them young.”
She added: “Our role in the society is deemed as crucial. We have been entrusted with the enormous responsibility of molding and shaping the young and fragile minds of our students preparing them for participation and contribution to the wider society.”
She also stated that on average a child spends 14 years of his or her formative years in school before proceeding to higher institutes and each day and between 8 and 9 hours of their working day is spent within the school environment.
With so many violent conflicts raging around the world, it is important to remember that our global existence depends on learning to live together without the threat of violence and conflict.
“As educators,” she noted, “we have the unique opportunity to promote peaceful coexistence by bringing the process of peace making and peace keeping to the attention of students in the classroom.”
In her statement, Antoinette Corr Jack, general secretary of the Gambia Teachers Union, commented on the role of teachers in peace education, saying: “Peace is not limited to the absence of armed conflict but also has a positive dimension aimed at achieving three objective, namely meeting the basic needs of all human beings, eliminating all forms of violence and respecting human rights for all.
Peace must begin in the minds and hearts of children and the challenge is to ensure children receive the quality education that will build peace, he noted.
The two-day workshop, on the theme Catching them Young, focused on capacity building of teachers in region one, as well as to mobilize concerted strategies of intervention in school for conflict prevention, and build the capacity of 12 upper basic schools on peace building.
The workshop was also held to familiarize participants with various tools that would enable them to analyse and understand conflict as well as to promote culture of peace, said Julliet Lewis Wakka, Admin and Finance Officer of WANEP Gambia.