As part of the project “Development of an Active Culture of Peace in Protestant Schools in Eastern Congo and Rwanda”, the Protestant Council of Rwanda (CPR) through its National Bureau of Protestant Education (BNEP) organized two successive training sessions on May 06 to 09, 2021 at Muhanga and from May 13 to 16, 2021 at Rubavu. A total of 140 students, teachers and trainers took part in these training sessions on Peace Education. Each session had the participation of 60 students and 10 teachers who were trained in two groups respectively primary and secondary, on the culture of peace and the promotion of Protestant values in schools and surroundings as well. These students are members of the peace clubs committees in their different schools.
During the Solemn opening session, the message of “Love” and “Shalom” were pasted to awaken the awareness of the participants on the relevance of love for neighbor which is the unwavering foundation of a sustainable culture of peace. According to Bishop Dr. Jered Kalimba, who solemnly opened the local meeting held in Muhanga on 06 to 09, 2021, through his biblical reflection on Isaiah 5:1-7, it is very important to understand the love of God and adapt it to the dynamics of peace to make it its foundation. For him, this requires a radical change in our human nature and living the fruits of the Holly Sprit that the Apostle Paul recommends to us in Galatians 5: 19-22.
From a thematic point of view, particular emphasis was placed on the following themes: Education in the principles and values of Protestantism, Education in human rights, Education in peace, Peaceful conflict resolution, Education in the management and protection of biodiversity and Education in living together. In addition to these six main themes, the participants were also trained on the profile of a Protestant school, the history of Global Pedagogical Network-Joining in Reformation (GPENreformation) and on the creation and management of peace clubs in schools.
During different sessions of the training, students and their teachers often had the opportunity to work in groups and ask questions allowing them to practically deepen the knowledge acquired. While all the morning sessions were always opened with biblical reflections related to peace, the evenings were dancing and interspersed with songs, poems and theaters on peace from genius of the students.
At the end of each session, there was also the distribution of gifts to students and schools. Each pupil received an English Dictionary while the schools received textbooks, training modules and footballs. At the same time, certificates of participation were given to all participants.
During the closing ceremony, the participants unanimously congratulated the Protestant Council of Rwanda (CPR) and Bread for the World for having thought of introducing such a peace education project in schools. Students and teachers commit to popularize their knowledge and skills acquired from other students and teachers in their different schools. They have promoted to be “Peace Builders” wherever they are. They strongly requested that the CPR organize other meetings on the dynamics of peace. For them, it is an opportunity to enrich each other and to act in synergy for peace. The authorities who spoke during the seminars greatly appreciated the commitment of participants and encouraged these young leaders of peace clubs to always favor and fight for peaceful approaches to conflict resolution to the detriment of conflicting and violent approaches.
Jean Baptiste Ndamukunda, Protestant Council of Rwanda, 06/2021