David Selby and Fumiyo Kagawa are just completing a consultancy for the UNICEF Peacebuilding Education and Advocacy Program (PBEA) aimed at exploring the peacebuilding potential of child-friendly theory and practice in conflict-affected contexts.
Their specific brief is to assist PBEA in assessing whether and in what ways the UNICEF child-friendly school (CFS) program can contribute to developing an ethic of democratic participation in youth characterized by pro-social competencies and attitudes (including active bystandership, constructive patriotism and moral courage in the face of disapproval and ostracism) as well as harmonious relationships at the intra-psychic, interpersonal and intergroup level.
The consultancy has had two interrelated elements. The first review element has involved:
- Identifying CFS components and processes that are already peacebuilding relevant (although they may not be characterized as such by those who practice and promote them) as well as components and elements that could be transformed into peacebuilding relevant interventions;
- Identifying gaps in CFS programs that need to be closed to make the CFS program more peacebuilding relevant;
- Exploring the potential and limitations of the CFS model for contributing to the development of pro-social competencies in children as well as fostering young peoples’ ‘endorsement and emulation of democratic values, constructive patriotism, moral courage, active bystandership, active participation, independent reasoning, socially-responsible leadership;’
- Identifying risks and vulnerabilities that might render child-friendly schools more conflict-insensitive or subject to misuse and abuse.
The good practice element has involved:
- Collecting a number of case studies of noteworthy, effective and low-cost peacebuilding practice in both CFS and other school contexts primarily in developing countries for sharing with PBEA country offices;
- Proposing user-friendly indicators to enable PBEA country offices to evaluate the effectiveness and sustainability of peacebuilding education interventions.
Special attention has been paid throughout to quality democratic participation and its links to peacebuilding.
Conflict-affected countries participating in the PBEA program include: Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, State of Palestine, Yemen, Pakistan and Myanmar.
Details of publications from the consultancy will be made available shortly.
The consultancy will end with a webinar/workshop for PBEA country officers.