The decade long civil war in Côte d’Ivoire and the aggravated political crisis brought on by the 2010 Presidential Elections left deep divisions within the West African nation. These deep divisions led many youth to join rebel or militia movements in order to secure their livelihoods and escape negative socioeconomic circumstances. Many of these movements were influenced by harmful political elements infiltrating secondary schools through politicized and violent gangs comprised of students and teachers, making schools increasingly dangerous environments for students and staff, giving many youths few options besides joining a gang.
To address this issue the Ministries of Education and Family partnered with Search for Common Ground (SfCG) and UNICEF to launch the “Promoting a Culture of Peace in Schools” initiative. By way of student-led ‘Peace Clubs’ youths are learning to become champions of peace through trainings in conflict transformation and mediation, participatory theater, radio programs, and sport. During January 2015, InsightShare trained a team of 10 young people in Abidjan to carry out a participatory video and most significant change evaluation of this peace building project.
Using story circles and participatory methods the evaluation team listened to the stories of 60 young peace messengers of which 5 were selected to represented the “most significant change” that the project had made in their lives. The stories all document courageous changes the students chose to make as a result of their involvement with the clubs, some of whom left behind pasts as child soldiers entrenched gang warfare. The trainees carried out an analysis looking at how and why these changes have taken place and what they mean for the students involved. This film shows the results of the three week process.
The 5 films can be viewed and the evaluation report can be obtained at http://learningforpeace.unicef.org/