On 25 November, twelve teachers were trained at the Kigali Genocide Memorial to provide them with skills needed to teach peace education components that have been included in the new school curriculum for the first time.

“Educators are important people in our society – they influence our children hugely.  It is hard to change what a teacher taught a child even if you are the parent. When we designed the Rwanda Peace Education Programme (RPEP), teachers are the partners who first come to our minds,” said Anita Kayirangwa, the Aegis Trust’s Programmes Director.

Now in its third year, RPEP is a programme led by the Aegis Trust in partnership with Radio La Benevolencija, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) and USC Shoah Foundation. The teacher training brings together selected teachers from various parts of Rwanda for a three-day seminar on Peace Education.

“Through the learner-centred approach, we want to focus on the students’ learning and analytical capabilities. We also to want to contribute to reducing the distance between an educator and a learner, establishing a relationship of trust,” said Anita Kayirangwa.

The training equips teachers with methodology and practical knowledge using proven peace education theories, relevant practice and inspiration from stories and testimonies from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as well as peacemakers’ stories. After the training, teachers are given educational support materials that they can use to teach the peace component in class but also to drive a conversation in their communities.

“Teachers are prominent members of the society, they are respected,” says RPEP Educator Nepo Ndahimana. “We have had positive feedback from different parts of Rwanda about teachers using our materials to challenge communities positively and to spark discussion on unity and reconciliation, but also stories of children who are challenging parents and educators to change behaviours for improved quality in the relations within the communities.”

Together with its partners, Aegis has worked closely with the Rwandan Ministry of Education to infuse peace education into the content and methodology of the new school curriculum at all levels and in all subject areas. Launched early 2014, the new curriculum will be introduced in the 2016 academic year.

RPEP has been conducting onsite (at the Kigali Genocide Memorial) and off-site (community visits) training for teachers for the last three years.

“With the introduction of Peace Education in the curriculum, the Aegis Trust is taking a step ahead to ensure that trained teachers are equipped with the required knowledge and methodology as they start their teaching career,” says Anita Kayirangwa.