Strengthening Teacher Development in Africa with UNESCO IICBA

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A cross section of participants at the event: Constant Odounfa (2nd from the left) and Oyindamola Oseni (2nd from the right)

Two of OneAfricanChild Foundation’s brightest minds participated in the training of trainers workshop on Youth Empowerment for Peace, Resilience Building, and Prevention of Violent Extremism organised by UNESCO IICBA in Dakar, Senegal from the 29th of October to 2nd of November, 2018. Oyindamola Oseni and Constant Odounfa both represented the organisation at the meeting, presenting best practices from our field activities in Nigeria and Benin-Republic respectively.

The main goal of the workshop was to improve the teachers and teacher trainers conceptual and locally contextualized understanding on empowering young people for peace, resilience building, and prevention of violent extremism, focusing on the role of education and teachers. Also, to identify ways of developing core competencies for peace and resilience building in Africa through youth empowerment practices.

The workshop started with a presentation from Professor Boubacar Niane on Understanding the context of violent extremism in the Sahel countries and Understanding violent extremism. They allowed participants to see the root causes of violent extremism in the Sahel and reflect on what is the Push and Pull factors contributing to its expansion in the different countries. The practical workshop allowed participants to share in groups; types of violent extremism in their community and identify what are the push and pull factors of the situation.

The workshop also explored the role of teachers and education in preventing violent extremism. Participants engaged in an activity called “What I Stand for” where each person had to take positions on several topics, to identify biases they may have, which could be a hindrance to the full understanding of the concept. This allowed for reflection on beliefs and biases. Participants also engaged in the game of diminishing islands to analyse how people respond when placed in situations of vulnerability. These activities were related to real life situations that could drive youths to violent extremism, and discussions that followed helped participants to develop strategies on how this can be managed and avoided.

The Role of Teachers and Education in Preventing Violent Extremism

Teacher development was a focal point of the entire workshop due to the critical role teachers play in peacebuilding and prevention of violent extremism. They serve as the link to the students and community. A session was held in groups to develop strategies for effective community engagement and prevention of violent extremism. This involved mapping out of community setting, identification of stakeholders (e.g. school principal, religious leaders, youth leaders, etc.). The places of vulnerability (highly susceptible to violence) and strengths (areas that promote peacebuilding) in the community were also identified.

In sharing experiences from the field, we discussed our ongoing teacher training workshops focused on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). As an organisation working to advance the Education 2030 Agenda particularly Target 4.7 on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship, and Target 4.c on Teachers and Educators, we work to strengthen the capacity on teachers to raise active and responsible citizens who can contribute to the global vision on sustainable development. Over 500 teachers and youth educators have participated in local workshops organised by OneAfricanChild Foundation.

We would like to appreciate UNESCO IICBA, the Japanese Government participants and key partners for meaningful engagement. with our organisation. As we work to strengthen the capacity of local teachers, we are happy to build an alliance with important stakeholders who truly care about Africa’s youngest generation.

 

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