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Teachers in Niger Learn to Prevent Violent Extremism and Bring a Culture of Peace to the Classroom

In target schools in Niger’s Tillabéri region, teachers participate in workshops on youth empowerment and peacebuilding ©INDRAP/Issaka Harouna

 

In the Diffa and Tillabéri regions of Niger, insecurity caused by violent extremism is undermining stability and hindering the right to access quality education for all. To address this situation, UNESCO's Capacity Development for Education (CapED) Programme supported the contextualization of a teacher's guide on the prevention of violent extremism for the Sahel region, designed by the International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA).  

Following the validation of the guide in 2019, UNESCO conducted a pilot test of the guide in schools in the Diffa region, which was followed by a training workshop for 65 teachers from targeted primary and secondary schools in the Tillabéri region in April 2021.

For the teachers in training, the first step was to identify the values to be transmitted to prevent violent extremism.

We discovered pedagogical approaches that can help build resilience and prevent violent extremism through the development of values in students, such as empathy, respect, tolerance, dialogue, and reconciliation
Djamila Gado Abdou, a teacher working in Torodi.

Once these values were identified, it was necessary to find anchor points in the official curriculum, according to the subjects and grade. Through transformational pedagogy, which places students at the heart of the learning process, learners will be instilled with these values, and will be able to use and transmit them in contexts outside of school.

"Transformational pedagogy [...] can positively impact students’ communities" says Yayé Touré, regional pedagogical inspector and trainer.

Little by little, the prevention of violent extremism and the resilience of communities will increase, with behavioral changes occurring first at the student level, and then transferred to the community level.
Yayé Touré, regional pedagogical inspector and trainer

The trainers believe that this training should be replicated to maximize the expected results in other Sahel regions.

My wish is to expand this training beyond the pilot schools, because almost all of our schools exist amid insecurity, hence the absolute need to instill everyone with this innovative transformational pedagogy. This training is relevant for teachers as it allows them to take charge of insecurity issues, and thus prevent violent extremism. Thanks to this, there will be a change in behavior in regard to the violence that we experience on a daily basis
Issaka Halidou, deputy regional director and trainer in the Tillaberi region

Following this training, the teachers' guide will be revised to better consider lessons learned. Trained teachers will continue to be supported by regional supervisors and trainers to develop ways to apply the transformational pedagogy, help students gain autonomy, and support youth in peace building, resilience, and prevention of violent extremism through education.

This workshop, organized by the Niger technical team, accompanied by UNESCO's Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel), took place from 19 - 30 April 2021.  It was co-financed by CapED in Niger and by a voluntary contribution from France.