We immediately put into practice what we learned in Peace Clubs at the API training in June 2018. When we arrived in Burundi, we established 10 Peace Clubs in both Kwibuka (Gitega province) and Kibimba (Ngozi province) annual meetings.
Activities for success
From August until December 2018, we set up 10 Peace Clubs, bringing together 223 students across primary and secondary schools. Activities leading up to this success included: introducing the concept to relevant stakeholders, church leaders and headmasters, seeking their approval of the project, scheduling introduction meetings with teachers and parents of the schools, raising awareness amongst the students, the training of trainers, and finally implementation of the peace clubs. Each club has 20 members, and they operate regularly. There are 19 teacher-facilitators of clubs with 2 framers per club.
In Peace Clubs, students learn the understanding, prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Clubs prepare students to become builders of peace and non-violence in the area. In addition, students learn and know their rights and duties. Peace clubs help children traumatized by a climate of violence in their families. They learn that they have the right to use their talents to bring forth positive change in the country which has suffered so much from violence. Peace clubs are preparing future men and women of honor who will be useful for Burundi and the world.
Positive change in students
Prior to students’ participation in peace clubs, there was a climate of conflict and violence in their schools, communities and families that led to student failure and underdevelopment. Positive change is noticeable from day to day. The focus groups organized in the clubs make sure that students learn how to cohabitate with others at school, in their families and in the community. Students become counselors to others at the school and in their families through the education they acquire in peace clubs. They are also becoming more and more capable of peacefully resolving conflicts between themselves and even those between their elders.
Because of these clubs, we see an increase in the school success rate following the change in student behavior. The children’s peaceful and non-violent behavior is noticeable in schools and in the community. Even teachers who were violent towards students are beginning to change their behavior. The result is the reduction of violent conflict and failure in school. Teachers, students and parents are very appreciative of peace clubs because they see the positive change. Children are behaving well, which has led to their success and good cohabitation with others at school, at home, in their families and in the community.
Preparing for the future
There are many activities scheduled before end of the year, including training more committees and teacher-facilitators, conducting focus groups, and end-of-year ceremonies. In summary, we strongly need your prayer and support. This project is led on the basis of volunteering. We still need financial support. There is a great need for donors who can give out materials. Please, pray for us!
Submitted by: NIZIGIYIMANA Louis Pasteur and BIGIRIMANA Claver, Evangelical Friends Church
Date submitted: 16 January 2019