Thursday, June 18, 2009

Visit to the Ministry of Education – Liberia

Before developing a peace education curriculum for Liberia grade schools, I thought it wise to visit the Ministry of Education to inform them about my mission in Liberia. I met the Attorney for the Ministry of Education who informed me that they had a joint Memorandum of Understand with UNESCO / UNHCR to develop and teach Peace, Human Rights, and Citizenship Education in Liberia.
I congratulated the Attorney and asked, if a curriculum was developed? If so, then there was no need for me to reinvent the wheel. He told me, however, to just go ahead with my work.

I then informed the Attorney that the first thing to do before developing a curriculum was to conduct a baseline survey in schools in order to know and identify the causes of violent behavior and measure the extent to which it has affected students’ daily lives. This baseline survey will not only include interview questionnaires for students and teachers, but more importantly, will also have focus group discussions with the students and staff.

Second, the survey results will be entered into a statistical program to record and analyze all the findings from the field. After the data is analyzed, a curriculum could be developed to address those root causes of violence and its impact within the schools.

The next step is to establish a pilot project to test the curriculum in a few schools. After that, formative evaluations should be conducted throughout the school year to determine if the curriculum is meeting it goals. In short, I informed the Attorney, that the above steps were some of the methods needed in order to develop a successful Peace Education Curriculum for Liberia. The Attorney then informed me that I was doing the right thing and encouraged me to continue with my work. The Attorney promised to introduce me to the Minister of Education once I am done with the curriculum.

Over the next few weeks, I will keep you posted of the on the various steps which I will be undertaking in order to develop a Peace Education Curriculum for Liberia.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Peace is just not the absence of war and violence

During the month of May, I met with several youth organizations from various communities which included , Keakor, Banjor, Jartu, Moulton Corner, Parker Corner, Gbonkou, Pinyopukosa, Virginia, Po River, Island Clinic, Tweh Farm, St. Paul Bridge, Hotel Africa, Ray Hill Field, and VOA Camp 1.

I informed the youth about my mission of creating a Peace Education Curriculum for Liberia. That it was all about the love for country that I returned home to help in the reconstruction of war-ravaged Liberia.

The youths were excited and they commended me on my bold effort to be a part of the reconstruction process in a special way (see attached pictures)

Notwithstanding, the youths were quick to point out that they have many serious problems ranging from lack of self-esteems to a sense of belonging. Moreover, the youths pleaded with me not to only focus in the classrooms, but even more importantly, to also focus in their various communities.

I assured the youths that I was going to do my best to organize a community youth peacemakers club – to help with conflict sensitive related issues.

At the end of the meeting, I argued them to return to their communities and become a peace ambassador – by practicing and living a nonviolent lifestyle.