The Ghana-based NGO known as the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), has released a manual urging educators to add peace education to school curricula. The 56-page document entitled “Peace Education in Formal Schools of West Africa: An Implementation Guide” focuses on non-violent conflict resolution strategies for students, as a way to contribute to more peaceful cultures and nations in the future.
At the launch of the document, WANEP officials noted the need for a new way of thinking and dealing with conflict among West Africa’s young people. Professor Bocar Mousa Diarra, also the Malian Minister of Education, was involved in the manual’s launch and cited recent violence in Mali as an example of instability affecting the region.
Diarra recommended that teachers become involved in peacebuilding efforts among their students, in the hopes that schools would be at the center of efforts to attain peace in West Africa.
WANEP’s Executive Director, Emmanuel Bombande, noted the concern that violent conflict in West Africa would influence a generation of young people, and contribute to a worldview shaped by a culture of extremism, intolerance, and violence.
According to Bombande, this could negatively affect the future stability of the region, and peace education should be introduced into schools as an effort to counteract this. He said that learning nonviolent conflict resolution should be an essential life skill for students, and that this would contribute to more peaceful and tolerant societies in the future.
Outside of the new manual, WANEP’s overall peace education efforts in West Africa target primary and junior high school students. Their programs attempt to change cultural practices that contribute to violence, with the end goal of achieving sustainable peace across the region.
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