The New Times (Kigali)

16 July 2012

Rwanda: Peace Building Campaign Launched in Schools

A campaign aimed at encouraging schools to come up with peace building education programmes was, on Saturday, launched at ESSI Secondary School in Nyamirambo.

It was initiated by Aegis Trust-an international organisation based in the UK. Founded by brothers Stephen Smith and James Smith; it aims at inspiring and encouraging the youth to fight against genocide.

"We are convinced that when schools come up with educative programmes about preventing genocide, it will be of great importance not only to students, but also an effective contribution to the government's unity and reconciliation programme," said Glen Ford, Director of the Organisation.

Ford observed that students need to learn more about the history of their country urging that it will hold them responsible to fight any cause of conflict.

"Students need to understand values and importance of their culture in society as this contributes to living in harmony with capacity to amicably or have dialogue in solving differences as youth or students," he said.

He explained that the campaign will be rolled out in secondary schools across the country. Aegis Trust opened its doors in Rwanda in 2003.

The headmaster of ESSI secondary school in Nyamirambo, Isaac Munyakazi, called on students to be exemplary to other schools in promoting the campaign.

"We are not simply learning about the past, but we want it to help in preventing what happened not to happen again and the only way we can achieve this is to intensify sensitization about effects of conflicts so as to avoid segregation to build a strong and united nation," Munyakazi said.

Students who talked to The New Times said the initiative compliments other school programmes also aimed at unity.

"We have clubs aimed at fighting genocide ideology among students and I believe that these two efforts will do a great job," said Samuel Irakoze, a senior five student.

In a related development, Ernest E. Uwazie, a professor and Director of the division of criminal justice at the California State University, Sacramento, on Friday offered a lecture on conflict resolution to students and staff of Mt Kenya University (MKU).

He said the lecture is to empower participants with skills of preventing conflicts to enhance national stability.

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