Rwandan parents are being equipped to play an active role in informal peace education as part of the Aegis Trust’s Education for Sustainable Peace in Rwanda (ESPR), a programme designed to improve the delivery of peace and values education and support its implementation as part of the newly adopted national schools curriculum. During September , two parents workshops were held; one in Karongi and one in Kigali.
At the Karongi Peace School in the west of Rwanda, established by Aegis to train peace educators, 52 parents attended the workshop. This included 21 women and 31 men representing others from College Sainte Marie, Groupe Scolaire Nyegabo, GS Ruragwe, IPRC West, Groupe Scolaire Kibuye and Groupe Scolaire Nyarubuye. 26 parents attended at the Kigali Peace School – situated at the Kigali Genocide Memorial – representing others from Groupe Scolaire Rugando.
Through collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Rwanda Education Board, one of Aegis’ greatest achievements was the integration of its Peace and Values Education approach as a crosscutting issue in Rwanda’s Schools Curriculum.
Building on the development of peace education content for teachers and students, Aegis recognizes parents as key agents of change through informal education. Tailor-made content for parents aims to maximize the sustainability of peace-building undertaken in the classroom.
It covers topics including the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi, causes and consequences; the continuum of benevolence; listening and sharing approaches; active bystanders and values in parenting.
In the workshops delivering this content, parents learnt how they can participate in building sustainable peace in their homes and communities.
Through discussions and exchanging experiences, parents discovered a common challenge when it comes to discussing sensitive topics with their children like the ones related to Genocide. Negative stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination were recognized as issues that can still occur today among young people as children pick up attitudes from adults.
Participants at the workshops worked together to establish a baseline of common understanding on basic qualities that parents would like to see their children demonstrate when they become adults. They learnt different approaches and steps to develop positive attitudes and values among their children like demonstrating how listening and sharing is an example of the process of “opening up” and “accepting” – two important steps that can lead to benevolence.
To reinforce the idea that everyone can make a contribution to the building of sustainable peace in Rwanda, at the end of the workshop parents committed to take up active roles in their families by inculcating values of humanity as one way of preventing genocide and any other mass atrocities from occurring again.
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