The Best Pathway to Enhancing Harmonious Living and Peaceful coexistence in schools
By Francis Happy Muhindo
In July 2016 KRC with support from DGF embarked on an approach of working with youth in school to discuss issues of conflict transformation, harmonious living, peaceful coexistence and Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (ADR).
The approach involved use of a new approach of debating referred to as Karlpauper Debate. Secondary schools across the region have undergone training in ADR and Karlapauper debate format.
During the outreach programs, KRC realized that there were deliberate approaches of fostering peace in schools but were not well documented and supported. The most outstanding was the “School family day initiative” at Bundibugyo Primary Teachers College (BPTC). The initiative as per the narration of the Peace Patron one BUYOLI Asiimwe looked good but required a conflict sensitivity and ADR lens. The college together with other schools were invited for training in Alternative Rainbow Hotel in Bundibugyo. Since then KRC has devoted to supporting the family day initiative and strengthened it further and soon it will be rolled out to other schools and institutions.
The school family initiative is an approach to fostering peace and harmonious living involving various people (students) of various ethnic backgrounds who come together on specific days to share a number of things including; meals, ideas, materials and experiences.
One of the main features of the families das included; composition of students who speak different languages, mixed sex (males and females),the mixing is done by the Principal or Deputy Principal, each family is under the patronage of one tutor, both first and second year students mix in one family And the days are then set aside for family meetings family meetings are often conducted after classes-evening hours
During these family meetings a number of activities are conducted; priority among these meetings include; Savings and credit-using small amounts of money which is used by the family members to meet their scholastic demands, Guidance and counselling/trauma healing at family level
The family Days are also used for collaborative learning through discussions and experience learning from students of various tribes and backgrounds, in-depth discussions on how to foster unity amongst the school families.
More importantly the teams also discuss how to end Violence and extremism at College and the neighboring community as well as in the individual home based families.
As part of the sustainability strategies, the establishment of gardens with an aim of supplementing the already existing college diets and to develop their talents
The KRC Intervention 2016-2017
Having supported the college especially the Peace Club with skills in Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (ADR) and training in Karlpauper Debating format;
The college has established a Justice and Peace Tribunal headed by the Guild President. The tribunal handles cases from within the students and only refers complex cases to the College disciplinary committee for action. This has helped reduce incidences of punishment and suspensions amongst the student’s community. The tribunal has equally been considered a “centre for reasonable justice” by most students and the college presents a model of ADR through this tribunal.
As part of these KRC efforts, tribal conflicts and sentiments have decreased. There is noticed comradeship where students from the various tribes sit on one desk, sleep on the same bed and line-up together for food. Much as these initially were evident in the school currently Bamba/Babwisi, Bakonzo, Bakiga, Batooro and those from the northern parts of the country, they can now freely mix, eat and plan together. The friendship has not only stopped in schools but has extended to individual homes.
The college has equally been able to compete at regional debate peace tournaments using the World Class Karlapauper format. This has helped to create exposure and experience learning.
This intervention will be replicated to other schools and institutions especially the mountainous schools in Kabarole where tribal differences are still very vivid.