Ivory Coast and Mali Peace Camps
The ‘HWPL Peace Camp’ was held at seven elementary schools in Ivory Coast and Mali from December 9th to the 23rd of last year. The message of ‘Peace and Safety, Respect and Cooperation’ from Peace Camp was significant since both neighboring countries in the Sahel region of West Africa suffered conflicts between French military and Islamic extremism in the same month.
The Peace Camp, part of HWPL peace education, aims to help the students, who will be the driving force for the future, to grow into peace-making citizens who know the value of peace and to become leaders who solve peace and security issues not just in their own countries, but around the entire world.
The topics of study, consisting of ‘Peace and Me’, ‘Peace that I and you make together’, and ‘Peace we make together’, help students become the advocates of peace who spread peace from individuals to organizations and societies. The topics are designed to give one a first-hand sense of how beautiful they can make their world become. The study includes a ‘Practical Education Program’ that enables students to learn about the causes of conflict, how to effectively resolve them through activities, and how to apply their resolutions to real life. This program had a high participation-rate.
The first five-day activities in Ivory Coast made local educators feel the need for peace-education. Allou Fatimata Marie Christ, Director of the Sainte Marie High School in Abidjan, who attended the Peace Camp, emphasized the role of peace-education as she expressed, “To live in this world as a human being, it is important to learn about peace because we must create a peaceful world.”
In addition, the UNESCO National Commission of the Ivory Coast immediately organized a meeting between UNESCO officials and educators, as the educators felt that the importance and necessity of peace-education should be understood. The MOU on peace-education with HWPL, which was discussed prior to the meeting, enabled the establishment of a cooperative relationship that empowers continuous operation of education rather than a one-off basis. In the future, the two sides will cooperate in various ways, such as nurturing peace educators, sharing practical examples of peace-education, and developing a peace education curriculum suitable for the region.
In the meantime, peace camps will be held at four schools in Mali until the 23rd. The government held a meeting with education officials to discuss the future peace-education plan of Mali and to conduct peace-education through mutual cooperation. Students have had time to learn peace by practicing peace on their own, and peace-education will continue to be implemented based on schools’ responses about the hope and need for peace-education.
All educators and students who took part in the peace camp said the camp gave them a more concrete understanding of peace. Rianna, a student at the International English School of Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire, said, “After we received peace-education, we came to realize how important it was. If we had not received it, we would have not been able to cooperate with our friends next to us nor learned the wisdom of coming together.” After receiving peace-education, Etan vowed, “I will be a person who shares love and affection with those around me in order to practice peace.”
Educator Asana, who participated in the peace camp, said, “If everyone had received peace education in the past, the number of wars that take place in the world today would be much less. People don’t understand why peace is needed, but everyone should learn about peace basically as it grows all over the world.”
The children of Mali and Ivory Coast, who are some of Africa’s future leaders, had quality time to learn about peace with their educators. Like the stories shared by educators and students who participated in the camp, the world needs peace. We hope that HWPL’s peace-education, which instills the value of peace, will be implemented all over the world and the day will come where everyone calls for peace.