IRDP believes that school of debate programme and dialogue promotes : (1) culture of tolerance, (2) overcoming the culture of indifference and silence, (3) citizens’ critical and analytical thinking so that they can differentiate reality from propaganda, (4) emphasizing non-violent resistance, (5) recognizing the importance of the role and voice of the citizen, (6) promoting civilian supervision of decision-making processes, and (6) ensuring civil participation in the peaceful resolution of local, national, and regional conflicts. IRDP from its research work contends that young people should be chosen as a key power as they are more open to changes and are not ingrained with a stereotypical mentality. In order to make the aspiration a reality ; there is a need to give an opportunity to young people to develop critical thinking, analytical skills, and a number of other skills and abilities.
IRDP noted that young people play a vital role in conflict and in peacebuilding. Every day and in every part of the world, young people are engaged in peace building and conflict resolution, no matter how big or small that involvement might be. It is important for young people to understand the world around them, the problems and the opportunities that exist in their communities and the importance of peace and development. Critical thinking and active participation in governance, citizen accountability and peacebuilding play a significant role in reaching peace and social integration. IRDP has found out that the school of debate programme is an excellent tool that encourages young people to become introspective and creative. Debates focus on stimulating youth to think critically and to explore opportunities to foster peace, development and participation in Rwanda rather than looking outwards towards Europe and America for a better life. It is only through active involvement in community issues that they can gain grassroots support so as to influence change at a macro level. At the same time, Debates and peace dialogue aims at providing young people with skills and knowledge for their active participation in governance, peacebuilding, bringing together young people from conflict affected societies and increasing the role of youth through action and advocacy. After all young people need means for self-expression and dialogue in order to be able to learn from each other and share their concerns and ideas. 3.1 Specific Objectives of the School of Debate programme
The purpose of this programme is
- To strengthen the facilitation skills of educators in participatory approaches and increase the number of educators as well as students who benefit from the school of debates program
- Strengthen a culture of debate adopted by the Rwandan society as an effective way to consolidate peace
- To generate more critical thinking in the Rwandan youth in school and outside the school through debates based on sound research.
- To strengthen dissemination of information in the diaspora and create interaction between youth in Rwanda and in the Diaspora
- To allow a sustainable continuity of debate activities
- Diaspora engagement though cost effective technology.
- Strengthening voice and accountability on issues of communality and national concerns so that Rwandan youth can also engage effectively with the state in pursuit of their rights ; and to engage openly, constructively and critically in decisions that effect and concern them.