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In Niger, students learn resilience and community engagement for peace

Located in the heart of West Africa, "crossroad" of the Sahara, Niger has the assets to achieve its development objectives. However, various constraints hinder their achievements, notably food and nutritional insecurity, underemployment of young people in both rural and urban areas and a worrying security environment. These difficulties are all factors that can destabilize young people and weaken their benchmarks. Strengthening their resilience has become one of the solutions to consolidate their future and stop the violence they may face or take part in.

By promoting spaces for discussion on diverse opinions, strengthening students' capacities to think critically, developing a sense for solidarity, respect, diversity and empathy, schools encourage students to collaborate with each other and to commit themselves to peace and non-violence in their communities. For one of the executives of the Ministry of Primary Education, Literacy, Promotion of National Languages ​​and Civic Education, are all elements that teachers must integrate through transformational pedagogy: “In the field of education, with transformational pedagogy, teachers will, through the teaching of disciplines such as civic and moral education, history & geography lessons and even science, bring students to a change of behavior. What is to be appreciated in this approach is that it places children at the heart of the construction of knowledge, skills and interpersonal skills with the prospect of a successful transfer of good behaviors into their respective communities. "

For an educational advisor, the process put in place is both innovative and adapted to the search for suitable solutions for achieving the objectives of global citizenship. He stated: "By working with teachers, we are convinced that the transfer [of knowledge] from students to the community will be the lever for strengthening collective resilience". It is in this context that a team of trainers from Niger first developed a guide for the training of supervisors and teachers on the empowerment of young people for peace building and resilience. This guide was then discussed and commented on during a workshop that brought together representatives from the ministries concerned with the issue, partners and NGOs, as well as with the National Center for Strategic and Security Studies for the Restoration of Peace.

Once the guide was validated, a pool of trainers from the Diffa and Tillabéry regions, made up of primary and secondary school supervisors, were trained in its use for the training and supervision of 146 teachers from beneficiary schools. One of the beneficiaries attests: "This training was, for us, the opportunity to discover transformational pedagogy. Its implementation will connect learning with actions, to empower learners and teachers, help them become agents of change in their communities. In doing so, they will work to promote peace and make decisions based on the ethical values ​​of respect, freedom, solidarity and tolerance. ” Trained teachers are supported throughout the year. The successes and difficulties will be analyzed in order to support more effectively the future beneficiaries.

This initiative is being carried out with the support of UNESCO and the French Institute for Education and Training (IFEF-OIF) and France. Starting in 2020, the UNESCO’s CapED Program will support the integration of the guide into the initial training of primary school teachers through teacher training institutes and secondary schools through the École Normale Supérieure. These actions are also supported by UNESCO’s multisectoral program for the “Promotion of sustainable peace and development by strengthening skills for the life and work of young people in the Sahel”.

Crédit photos : MEP - CapED