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02.07.2018 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

From Policy to Practice: Capacity-building Workshop on Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education (PVE-E) in West Africa and the Sahel

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UNESCO (Dakar, Headquarters and International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa-IICBA) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), represented by its Institut de la Francophonie pour l’éducation et la formation (IFEF), organized a follow-up capacity-building workshop on the prevention of violent extremism through education (PVE-E) in West Africa and the Sahel. This event took place in Dakar, Senegal, from 25 - 27 June 2018.

In West Africa and the Sahel, violent extremism represents a growing threat to human rights and the culture of peace. In January 2017, the United Nations Security Council stressed the need to fight terrorism in the region with an explicit emphasis on the role of education in preventing violent extremism and radicalization. Quality, inclusive and relevant education will enable to shape citizens who promote justice and respect human rights, and thus build a more sustainable and just world.

From 25 to 27 June 2018, UNESCO and IFEF organized a workshop aiming to strengthen the capacities of countries in West Africa and the Sahel, to design and implement relevant and effective formal, non-formal and informal PVE-E practices. Building on the progress made at meetings in Dakar in 2017 and this year in Bamako, this workshop assembled around 30 diverse education stakeholders from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, and Senegal.

Several PVE-E tools, approaches, and the recent activities were introduced by participating organizations, including OIF’s tools on the “Libres ensemble” initiative, as well as UNESCO’s Teachers’ Guide on managing classroom discussions in relation to the PVE-E and two newly published teachers’ guides on preventing anti-Semitism and facilitating media information literacy in educational settings.

The workshop addressed building teacher capacities in managing personal biases and polemic discussions in the classroom, and engendering respect for student diversity and difficulties. It encompassed PVE-E beyond the classroom, covering a diverse range of topics from establishing interactive links between school and community and using media and socio-educational activities to build youth resilience, to diagnosing problems faced by young people struggling with violent extremism and developing approaches to support them. Participants were also introduced to the Change Makers Leadership Program, a PVE-E training program for teachers and students developed by the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre (JHGC), which emphasized using case studies from the past to promote pluralism, prevent violent extremism and strengthen leadership among learners.

"To prevent violent extremism, we need quality education that is relevant, inclusive and equitable. This is one of the priorities of the Ministry of National Education and the National Institute for the Development of Education in Guinea-Bissau.” Fatumata Ionton Camara, Research Fellow in Education Techniques, Guinea-Bissau.

Participants expressed further needs in terms of advocacy for PVE-E amongst high-level authorities in their country, integration of PVE into education sector plans, curricula, development of pedagogical tools, training of formal and non-formal education personnel, and further involvement of communities and non-formal educational actors in the implementation of PVE-E.

The organizers will ensure follow up on recommendations by continuing to develop the Learning to Live Together (LTLT) platform for exchange and experience sharing around issues pertaining to PVE and LTLT, and supporting countries in ownership and adaptation of the tools and practices.

The workshop received support from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

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