Reflective workshop and experience sharing between teachers/debate facilitators from 12 schools supported by Rwanda Peace Education Programme (RPEP)
The Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) is into a partnership with three other organizations to implement the Rwanda Peace Education Programme. IRDP contribution to this joint initiative is the promotion of critical thinking among youth both in schools and in villages. As key “boundary partners” for the achievement of the Programme objectives, Educators play also the role of debate facilitators in their respective schools. They periodically meet to exchange, assess their work and learn from one another. It is in this line that a reflective workshop was organized at IRDP Peace Center from 19th to 20th November 2015. This workshop had as objective to share experience between educators from 12 schools and to demonstrate the achievements and challenges walked throughout during 2015 and what could be improved in 2016; likewise it was a good time to discuss on the new curriculum and to make a SWOT analysis of it and the peace education component.
“Peace education promotes empathy and kindness for the vulnerable and the poor as well as disabled; refugees and sicks. People with this knowledge help and act with compassion at any time and in any circumstance” Say Emelienne Mushimiyimana & Rukundo Lambert educators at centre Schoolaire Elena Guerra.
Some of the achievements reached on by these schools is that Students are advanced in critical thinking and research spirit; tolerance; Social assistant (students help each other through contribution of money for those who are not able to pay their contribution to the “school feeding programme” to have lunch at school, and for those who don’t have school materials). Students do also visit hospitalized peoples; help poor; in addition the students have adopted the culture of self-resolution of conflicts between them. However, beside these achievements, there are some challenges met in the implementation of RPEP, such as school programs that sometimes interrupt RPEP debates clubs’ activities and Language barriers (some Schools those who are Critical thinking and Peace Education in the new Curriculum: Peace education was inserted in the new national curriculum to be implemented from January 2016. One of the teachers who were trained on this curriculum shared with
others about it with more focus on peace education with regard to knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. Their key concern at the moment being the risk for the “peace education to stay just written in the curriculum and not correctly implemented..
After making SWOT analysis on new curriculum , educators said that this new it could bring positive change not only for them but also for learners as it puts more emphasis on practice than on theory. To respond to identified key challenges such as overpopulation of classrooms; shortage of materials; equipment and poor knowledge in peace education, participants to the workshop found out that the commitment of local administration; central government and parents are highly needed for a successful implementation of this new curriculum, especially the newly introduced component of peace education component. .
IRDP- DIALOGUE CLUBS SHARING EXPERIENCE ON THE IMPLIMENTATION OF ADVOCACY INITIATIVE
The Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace promotes evidence-based advocacy at grass root level. This goes through strengthening capacity of local community members to participatively prioritise and analyse issues and meet with local leaders to advocate for solutions that respond to community needs and interests.
From 10th to 11th November 2015, delegates of Dialogues Clubs from across the country met at IRDP Peace Center at Gisozi, to share experience advocacy initiatives each of them is conducting in their respective district. In total 24 representatives from 12 Dialogue Clubs, coming from 12 districts, participated to the two-day session. During this session, participants unveiled respective advocacy experience especially with regard to the identification of the issue to be worked on, its analysis as well as the advocacy process was provided especially on issues related to the school-feeding Program in 12-years Basic education; Ubudehe program; Health Insurance Scheme “Mutuelle de Santé” and many other related family matters encountered by local population.
The session has been a platform for representatives of clubs of dialogue to accrue achievements and challenges from other districts. Likewise, the testimonies delivered by participants in this session are the proof that the trainings offered to them by IRDP on doing advocacy contribute efficiently in advocating for local citizens concerns.
Every year on the 21st September, the United Nations General Assembly invites all Member States, United Nations bodies, regional and non-governmental organizations to observe the International Day of Peace (Peace Day) by commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples as per the UN resolutions 36/37and 55/282. For this edition, Rwanda decided to adopt the United Nations theme of Peace Day 2015 without any adjustment which was “Partnerships for Peace-Dignity for all”. The event was even special as Rwanda had been chosen as the venue of the celebrations on International level for 2015. IRDP had been celebrating Peace Day for the past years and this continued this year. For this specific edition three main set of activities were done by IRDP:
- Celebration of Peace day at IRDP Headquaters:
A celebration at IRDP’s institutional level was held on Saturday September 19th, 2015 at IRDP peace center and brought together IRDP partners from government, civil society organizations, educators, members of local community, students and IRDP members to reflect on peace: its meaning, how it links to dignity and ways of increasing partnerships for peace in Rwanda and the world in general. The reflection was trigged by a debate on the topic “This house believes that partnership for peace is the best way to promote dignity in African countries” by IRDP supported students at Lycée Notre Dame des Citeaux. The event was covered by different public and private media organs and among others highlighted the work being done by IRDP in schools such as promoting critical thinking and the respect/tolerance of diversity of opinions through debating activities, and more importantly the successful process of advocating for “Peace Education” to be integrated in primary and secondary curriculum to be applied from January 2016. The latter was conducted jointly with partners such as Aegis Trust, Radio la Benevolencija and University of South California’s Shoah Foundation.
- Joining other peace actors to prepare and celebrate the Peace Day at National level:
IRDP joined other governmental and civil society organizations active in peace building in the preparations of peace day celebration under the coordination of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission through participating in preparatory meetings since July.
- Attending the 21/9/2015 “Peace Village” Exhibition
Under the coordination of the NURC, a wonderful place was set for the public to see what different peacebuilding actors have achieved in this field. At IRDP’s stand in the said “Peace Village”at Amahoro Stadium, IRDP displayed its work including written and audio-visual research reports and publications fliers, photos produced throughout IRDP’s work over 14 years now.
IRDP coordinated grassroots events of its partners (schools of debate and dialogue clubs) including a range of events that were held in schools and communities including:
- Experiences sharing meetings with schools communities (Lycee Notre dame des Citeaux, Kagitumba High school, Ecole des sciences de Musanze, Groupe scolaire officiel de Butare, Groupe scolaire Elena Guerra, Gisenyi Adventist Secondary school and Gisenyi college Inyemeramihigo),
- Public talks on the 2015 IDP topic (Lycée Notre dame des citeaux in the peace day celebration at IRDP held on September 19th, 2015, games (Kagitumba High school and Ecole des sciences de Musanze),
Displaying peace messages in the school during the week of September 14th to 21st, 2015 (Ecole Islamique de Nyamirambo,
Groupe scolaire des Parents and Group scolaire Musheri).
Joint events in line with peace day celebrations were also organized in Nyagatare, Huye, Musanze and Rubavu where schools in the same areas organized peace walks, community walks and games to sensitize surrounding population on peace.
Welcome to Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), the leading national Non for profit and independent Research Institute for Peace building in the Rwanda. Our website aims to give a flavor of the intellectual and cultural ’buzz’ which is a distinctive feature of the Institute.
IRDP was initiated in 2001 as a peace building Institute to contribute to peacebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the Tutsi Genocide of 1994. IRDP’s overarching vision is to contribute to lasting peace in Rwanda and in the region. At IRDP we believe lasting peace is one which provides security, peace and complete fulfilment to the individual, the family and the community in general. We further believe that peacebuilding is a process that requires continuous adjustment to changing circumstances.
To fulfil this vision, IRDP candidly assess its capacity to undertake this task as well as the ever changing environment in which its works in. IRDP is an independent and neutral space where critical and sensitive issues challenging peace are debated by all categories of Rwandans in order to influence positive change of behavior at the community and national levels and inform policies and practice on issues of national interest.
Though its independence, respect of diversity, neutrality and objectivity, IRDP’s focus on critical and sensitive topics through research and dialogue spaces to debate on topics and issues that were regarded as taboos in the Rwandan society and this approach has been hailed by both critics and supporters.
Through participatory research, active citizen participation and policy advocacy, IRDP has significantly contributed to empowering Rwandans to voice their concerns on sustained peacebuilding, socio-economic and inclusive development.
IRDP enjoys an eminent position as a national peace building institution and the go-to think tank on peacebuilding in Rwanda. This is a result of innovative and impactful previous work. To leverage this position to influence policy and practice in peacebuilding and sustainable development, IRDP continues to build on acquired good practices and its reputation. A reputation also demonstrated by the profiles of partners who have and continue to fund IRDP activities. Cognizant of the fact that peacebuilding requires commitment and participation from different actors, in particular Rwandans inside and outside the country, IRDP adopted a multi-stakeholder consultation process as an approach to inform its work. To that effect, a National Group Meetings (NDM) that brings more than 200 participants every year is conducted to identify the key challenges to Rwanda’s peace and development.
IRDP through consultative meetings (Rwanda and Diaspora) identified five themes in the last decade which form the focus of IRDP’s programme notable among them are : 1) management of the social and political conflicts in the Rwandan history ; 2) building democracy in a formally ethnically divided society ; 3) Management of the consequences of the genocide ; 4) the path to establishment of rule of law and 5) the challenges facing poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Recognition of IRDP’s work saw the institution being awarded for “outstanding contribution in policy processes over the last decade” by the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council awarded IRDP in 2011. IRDP uses these spaces to enable Rwandans to speak freely on issues regarding peace building in Rwanda. These spaces have proved to be effective tools to discuss contentious issues including those previously considered taboo.
IRDP has experienced staff, infrastructure and a network of committed resource persons and partners to undertake research and advocacy. National working groups and steering committee members are selected from the highest calibre of persons, often bearing in mind their capacity to move IRDP’s agenda and contribute to policy advocacy. More than 12 years in peacebuilding has created an accumulated and intimate knowledge on Rwanda’s peace challenges and credibility that enhances trust in the operations of the organisation. IRDP’s special relationship with the Rwandan Diaspora represents an invaluable opportunity both for fundraising and new ideas on peacebuilding.
In order to attain lasting peace in Rwanda IRDP intends to continue strengthening good governance and citizen participation and engagement in planning, implementation and monitoring for accountability and IRDP sees these as prerequisites’ to for the sustainability of Rwanda’s long term and broad based inclusive growth and development.
Dr Eric NS. NDUSHABANDI/ PhD Political Science
Director/ Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace(IRDP)