Cultural Week in the Central African Republic provided the Aegis Trust’s peacebuilding team in Bangui with an  opportunity to leverage engagement in cultural activities to deliver peace and values education, formally and informally.

Between February 13th and 18th, the team delivered three peacebuilding programmes. In the first, hundreds of community leaders took part in a two-day workshop. It focussed on peace education, positive values and the personal responsibility of each leader in the search for peace. Several have approached Aegis to expand its work in their communities.

In the second, a refresher course was provided for local peace education facilitators who were previously trained by Aegis.

In the third, Aegis’ mobile exhibition was used in workshops with young people. It unpacks CAR’s recent history and features Central Africans who have taken risks to protect others, or to extend a hand of forgiveness to former enemies. Around 1,000 students took part, coming from 30 schools around the city.

Marking the end of the cultural week, students presented poems on peace, sketches, traditional dances and quizzes.

One group of students presented a sketch about the situation of orphaned children in the Central African Republic. They are often brought back to Bangui from the provinces to be exploited as unpaid domestics rather than being sent to school.

In the sketch, neighbours persuade a family that the orphan they rehomed should be in school instead of doing chores all day. Education is foundational for sustainable livelihoods in adulthood. Without it young people are more vulnerable to joining cycles of violence as a route to escape destitution.

Mr Boygoto, Principal of Notre Dame School, thanked Aegis for partnering the week’s activities. “Your support for the education system is very motivating and the panels you brought have sent many messages to our students,” he said.

 Aegis  is delivering peace education in a context of insecurity, multiple practical challenges, and sporadic extreme violence. The context makes the work all the more urgent.

You can directly support or fundraise for the Aegis Trust’s work in the Central African Republic through the Marina H Smith Foundation here: