IICBA Co-hosts a Cartooning for Peace and Democracy Training for Ethiopian Teachers

On 7 and 8 October 2019, UNESCO IICBA, in collaboration with Cartooning for Peace*, held a Cartooning for Peace and Democracy Training for 16 teachers at Alliance Ethio-Française in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This two-day training brought together public high school teachers from 11 schools with 8 Ethiopian cartoonists in order to develop a pedagogy that incorporates cartooning.

The workshop allowed for the two professions to learn from one another with the goal of elevating course content in civics classes. The first portion of the day was allocated to familiarizing the teachers with cartoons in terms of intent of artist and execution. Thus, the teachers were given an opportunity to explore a peace exhibit with topics ranging from the environment to migration, all adapted to the Ethiopian context. This peace exhibit is designed to travel between different schools to showcase topics that relate to peace on banners displaying cartoons and explanatory blurbs. The teachers and artists then discussed their instinctual/emotional and logically formed assessments of the cartoons. Differentiating between the two ways in which one can consume the art allowed for a greater understanding of how students might interpret the cartoons. The rest of the day was spent on unpacking cartoons to relate them to different course content. The day ended with initial thoughts on how to use cartoons as a pedagogical tool. 

Later in the evening of the first day there was an optional Cartooning for Peace and Democracy reception with a panel discussion consisting of  Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, UNESCO IICBA Director, Professor Nutman A. Dodolla from Addis Ababa University, Yemrasch Yetneberk, Ethiopian cartoonist, and Mr. Sylvain Platevoet, Cartooning for Peace programme and international development manager. The conversation, moderated by Emeline Wuilbercq, correspondent journalist for French newspaper Le Monde in Ethiopia, opened with the cancellation of the cartoon section of the New York Times in May of 2019. The talk highlighted issues of censorship as well as the understanding the lines that separate hate speech from free speech.

The second and final day centred around the process of crafting a pedagogy that incorporates cartoons. Cartoonists were grouped with teachers and were asked to answer the pedagogical objective on how to use the exhibit and the common objective to be achieved with the cartoonist as the initial steps towards developing a mock lesson plan. Each group presented their lesson plans and explained their rational behind their pedagogy. A discussion followed where the audience provided suggestions on how to improve each groups process. The day concluded with a debrief of the workshop and a verbalization of expected outcomes.

By the end of the workshop, teachers better understood the efficacy of cartoons as a teaching tool for promoting peace, and cartoonists were granted a more intimate lens through which to view the realm of secondary education.

By mid-November the 11 participating schools are expected to host the traveling exhibit. As part of the show case, they will enact their drafted lesson plan and teach their civics students about peacebuilding through the use of cartoons. The cartoonists will also be in attendance at the in-school workshop to co-facilitate with the teachers.

*Cartooning for Peace is an International organization that works in 9 countries to build dialogue around cartooning and their role in peacebuilding as well as to support cartoonists under threat from political persecution. They have a network of 203 cartoonists in 67 countries all motivated by this goal.