ICON has set up a Peace Education Forum, which met for the first time on 5th August 2014. The aim is to strengthen the collective effectiveness of our work, and to build a culture of nonviolence across the region. We will foster collaboration on specific projects, and find ways of learning from each other.
The Forum is inclusive and open to all organisations who see their work as promoting peace through education.
At the initial meeting, a group of enthusiastic activists spoke about their involvement in peace education.
Here is a summary of what was said. Note that this covers only those aspects of the work that address peace education specifically.
|Representative||Organisation||Peace education activities|
|Liz Palmer||350.0rg||350.org is a movement started by students to address the structural violence driving climate change. It uses social media and the internet to inspire local and global action that creates awareness and understanding of why climate change is happening and helps people make the connection between vested interests, multinational corporations, health, water, food insecurity and the growing gap between the rich and poor.|
|Benina Mkhonto||Alternatives to Violence Project||We try to overcome the hunger for violence, work also with Healing of Memories. Our work falls under Five Pillars: affirmation, listening and communication, co-operation, community building, Ubuntu. We are an international organisation that started work in prisons, helping to reconcile and to deal with nonviolence.|
|Hailey Fudu||Bahá’í Community||The focal area of the Community has been the junior empowerment programme. Animators of junior youth, 12-15 years, are drawn from university students and high school youth, to be mentors and guides. This touches on peace-building within themselves, through service, arts, and ongoing education. The approach of the Bahá’í Faith in very inclusive, so the junior youth is one of the areas with a focus on peace education|
|Paddy Kearney||Denis Hurley Centre||As a result of the xenophobic attacks in Durban, there have been many weekend workshops on the healing of memories, for them to tell their life stories in a sympathetic environment. Leads to the building of trust, forming of new friendships, discovering that others are a human being, wishes, fears, experiences. A group of about 25-30 people. This work changes the atmosphere in this part of Durban, near the Emmanuel Cathedral. The Centre works very closely with the Muslim and Hindu communities.|
|Nomabelu Mvambo-Dandala||Diakonia Council of Churches||Our core purpose and business remains social justice. One of our interventions, which was developed during the political violence, is a stress and trauma healing course, also known as healing of memories. Two levels: creating a space for people to share their painful stories, initially political violence, but now a myriad of issues, poverty crime, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, sexual orientation.|
|Luke Chagwe||Community Development Association, UKZN||We create a platform for discussions on violence and nonviolence in schools and communities… First we as facilitators are assisted, then we create these platforms within the schools. These learners may form a group of peer educators/counsellors who can listen to each other.|
|Mondli Zwane||Gandhi Development Trust||Awareness programmes, education in schools, and research. We pursue alternatives to violence and conflict resolution in both primary and high schools. GDT has developed a particular focus on work in early childhood development, and in developing nonviolence amongst younger children.|
|Crispin Hemson||International Centre of Nonviolence||Action research with students in schools, intended to strengthen them as leaders for nonviolence. This leads sometimes into formal publication and increasingly into formal teaching.|
|Clinton Taylor||Luthuli Museum||Educational programmes around choices for violence or nonviolence, focus also on xenophobia.|
|Mohini||Seeds of Trust||Seeds of Unity, bridges nature and people together by discussing religions and elements of nature. It aims to develop a safe environment through focused on the commonalities amongst plants that are revered in different religions.|
|Jenny Duvenage||WESSA||People don’t always connect the environment with peace. Environmental destruction is directly linked to conflict, often over natural resources, displacement of communities. Climate change is leading to climate refugees and drives xenophobia. Our economic system causes environmental and social problems, these are connected. We have to consider how by solving the environmental problems we can create green jobs, ensure clean wate and build community cohesiveness.|
|Saydoon Sayed||World Conference of Religions for Peace||WCRP does peace education in schools, based on human rights. We bring this to about 20 schools a year, with a focus on themes. We are also vocal in the fight against HIV/AIDS, from the angle of human rights and peace. Learners go back to their schools and have an item at assembly, such as a play. We build on the movement from apartheid to democracy.|