The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Commission for Education and Religious Education is committed to ensuring peaceful co-existence among Kenyans especially in conflict-prone communities.
At the invitation of the Bishops, a peace education team from the United States of America has started training in the country to equip educators and pastoral ministers with skills on conflict resolution in schools, families and the community as a whole.
Speaking during the one-week training session at Donum Dei Spiritual Centre, the Peace Education Foundation President Lloyd Van Bylevelt said there is need to change the culture and the climate in Kenyan schools by teaching children how to resolve conflict, embrace diversity and help them understand that it is a positive thing to belong to different communities. The Foundation also wants to foster respect for one another and coexistence. When these values are taught in schools, it is possible to prevent negative behaviours amongst learners. It is the negative behaviours that tend to lead to violence in schools. Some of these negative behaviours include bullying and burning of school property.
“Children need to learn to work cooperatively now in order to work cooperatively later as adults. When you build community in classrooms and teach children how to care and use self-control, you minimise the possibilities for violence and maximise the potential for learning.” He said
Bylevelt said the programme has worked well in over 20, 000 schools in the US, Canada and Latin America where it has been implemented.
More than 50 pioneer participants from Kenya’s Malindi, Mombasa and Isiolo dioceses received capacity building training on conflict resolution and mediation in classrooms, schools, districts, family, parish and community.
By using the “Train the Trainer” method participants were equipped to return to their local communities and become educators and pastoral agents.
(Rose Achiego in Nairobi)