A culture of non-violence is an imperative for our society if we are to achieve the dream of sustainable just peace and development, which has been enshrined in almost all national development plans of the various nations of the sub-region. Sustainable peace in the West Africa sub-region depends on individuals possessing the knowledge, the skills and the passion to use non-violent means to deal with conflicts that they may be involved in and also having the space and opportunity to promote the use of these non-violent conflict resolution skills.
WANEP’s Peace Education programme was implemented in selected schools in 7 West African countries from 2001 to 2004. Though the pilot phase ended in 2004, the programme lives on in different forms at both national and regional levels. Different activities within the schools such as peace posters and peace poem competitions, peace marches not only by school children but also by community youth, and peace day celebrations are carried out in some schools in all the countries, while teachers continue to devote part of their teaching time to topics developed in the peace education materials from WANEP.
Currently in Ghana, Peace Education has been formally integrated into the curriculum of the Ghana Education Service and is being taught in schools. A peace education manual jointly developed by WANEP and the Ministry of Education in Ghana and other stakeholders in Education is being used in that regard.
In terms of future plans for Peace Education in West Africa, Oxfam GB has expressed interest in funding WANEP’s Peace Education programme and a process will start very soon to develop a project proposal to that effect. I have also being in communication with the President of the Society for Peace and Reconciliation in Sierra Leone at the University of Sierra Leone to establish a Mediation Centre. This project will be supported by GPPAC Global Secretariat.
By Francis Acquah Junior,
Programme Officer, WANEP, Ghana