Peace Education is not only a special branch of knowledge and skills, but a comprehensive system of education based on absence of any kind of violence, intolerance and discrimination and recognizing as a cornerstone the principles of respect for the individuality of all people and non-use of force. It has direct bearing on the problem of GBV, which is an extreme form of intolerance and discrimination, generally used against women and girls as the most vulnerable group.
There is no doubt that it is impossible to eradicate GBV or at least to prevent this vicious phenomenon if we do not carry out consistent actions aimed at changing public consciousness and behavior. We need to educate people - both men and women - in a spirit of mutual respect and improve their skills to resolve any controversial issues in a culture of dialogue, without using any forceful methods - psychological, physical, economic or sexual.
In this sense, peace education, as our experience shows, can be considered as one of the effective tools and methods to combat gender based violence in all its forms.
Peace Education teaches us first of all how to understand ourselves, regardless of our gender, faith and ethnicity. Our identity is multifaceted and each component can contribute to peace: female/male, mother/father, daughter/son, teacher, businesswoman/businessman...
By engaging ourselves in peace education we learn to understand these differences, how to break down prejudices on our traditionally set roles, how to open a dialogue between women and men about our genuine needs, as human beings. Most importantly, we learn how to deal with conflicts and violence in a constructive, peaceful way. This process of learning should start at the early age of children, to be able to transfer the knowledge and skills to the next generations and apply them in a long-run.
GBV is a phenomenon affecting all societies. Our goal is to fight for human rights and to stop any kind of violence. Many times, we underestimate the role of education in this process. Raising awareness is the first step and everyone has to be included. In schools, it is important to work on all levels - including the administration, teachers and students.
Everyone has to reflect on the issue of GBV and all of us must be equipped with the tools to prevent or tackle it.
When we talk about education, we should take into account human rights education and peace education. Tolerance, respect for each other and an open mindset towards differences are the first steps towards ending violence. That is why we should focus on including human rights in the curriculum, learning to respect differences and avoiding judgments.
Schools are a place for personal growth of the individual and it is in schools that we can read, reflect, learn and fight for stopping gender based violence in different contexts where it occurs - in schools as well as in families, in communities, at work or in the justice system.
Moreover, teaching in a participatory way and in a safe place increases development and learning. Students, a classroom and a textbook are already enough for enhancing awareness amongst the new generations. By using educational games, textbooks and other activities children can get familiar in a positive way with the ‘Other' early on. The idea of the ‘Other' as an enemy could disappear. Gender equality is the basis for a developed and sustainable society, thus we should promote education as a means to fight discrimination and enhance social change.
Anne Pakoa Pailthorpe
Communication and Public Relations Officer of VYWC
Peace Education is the essential tool to eradicate Gender-based violence because first of all, Peace is one core requirement for a peaceful life. A fully dignified life comprises of a peaceful heart. When humans are at peace, their surroundings are at peace which means their interactions with others are also peaceful. Peace education must be captured in all areas of learning, it must be captured in the national curricula so that peacebuilding starts from the individual, to the home to the community, to the school and to the nation. The school board must include peace in their agenda and must make it a key priority for everyone, ie. school committee members, teachers and students to include peace in their school activities. Peace education must be included in all life-long learning opportunities. All education policies must be 'Peace inclusive'. This is our future to build a peaceful community / country.
GBV is often a consequence of deeply enrooted culture of violence, gender stereotypes and education systems which legitimise those. Peace education, which addresses causes of violence, dismantles gender cliches and prescribed roles in the society can effectively contribute to prevention/ eradication of GBV.
Tolerance is a big component of peace education as well as it also helps to respect others and their views. When humans can tolerate others they will respect others naturally and it will help eradicate GBV.
Higher education for girls is a guarantee of gender equality and peaceful society. Women's education is very important for the country to fully develop. Both men and women are important for the growth and development in the country and thus require equal opportunity to get education. Education of women helps them to be more independent and empowered in life, it helps them to develop their positions and raise social status instead of being dependent on their family. When women have equal rights and equal access to education, they can to participate in all spheres of life. A chance for a happier life should be reason enough for promoting girls' education.
A mother teaches her child what to do and what not to do. A well-educated mother can provide better environment for her child for well growth as well as for better education. An educated woman has the skills, information and self-confidence that she needs to be a better parent, worker and citizen. Education helps women to become aware of their duties and rights as well as realize their responsibilities to contribute to the development of a country the same way men do.
Education plays a critical role in empowering women to become active participants in the transformation of their societies and learning should include a focus on conduct that will enable individuals to live together in a diverse and plural world. An educated woman has respect in the family and can protect her rights. If education of women is neglected, future of the nation is being ignored.
Vanuatu Young Women For Change
The Vanuatu Young Women For Change (VYWC) is privileged to be part of Regional and Global Campaign of the 16 Days of Activism. Peace education is a fundamental human right that must be captured in our national priority actions. Peace and Education is an effective preventive mechanism to lessen the burden of gender-based violence and conflicts and contribute to human security. From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World promotes women‘s leadership and participation re-modeling mothers and daughters dialogue – through storytelling interventions changing experiences into knowledge for the prevention and reduction of gender-based violence.
The question we must ask ourselves is how to raise peace and education as an important tool to promote progress made on achieving gender equality. We are activists of Peace Education let us all stand in solidarity to unite for peace, ensuring that gender inclusive conflict prevention must be in the center of our development dialogue. Happy 16 Days of Activism all ya Activists!