Human rights

Mobilising resilience during and after COVID-19: a peer-to-peer experience sharing among youth peacebuilders in Africa

Mobilising resilience during and after COVID-19: a peer-to-peer experience sharing among youth peacebuilders in Africa

Registration required in advance for participation:

A recent statement adopted by the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (UN-IANYD) offered three key perspectives on how to keep the contributions of youth peacebuilders on the front-burner during and after the COVID-19 crisis by calling on all actors in the international community to:

  • partner, safely and effectively, with young people during and after the COVID-19 crisis;
  • recognize the value of young people’s own actions and their potential to advance the fight against the pandemic; and prevention of violent extremism;
  • understand the specific impacts the pandemic has and will have on young people, ensuring that COVID-19 related responses uphold young people’s human rights and are inclusive of young people’s specific needs.

The overarching goal of the proposed webinar by UNESCO IICBA in collaboration with AU Y4P is to help bring to the epicentre of continental and global policy arena the remarkable roles that African youth peacebuilders are playing in the ongoing efforts to tackle COVID-19. This initiative is implemented with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH through the APSA project, in line with the existing collaboration with the AU Y4P programme. It is hoped that the webinars can also inform the documentation of the overall impact of COVID-19 on Peace and Security in Africa, that proposals can be formulated on how to respond to the identified challenges, and that key outcomes can be further disseminated following the webinars.

It is premised on the understanding that whether or not the voice and agency of young African peacebuilders would remain audible and loud enough to draw attention to their contributions to the fight against COVID-19 or end up becoming muffled, maligned and completely lost in the post-pandemic era, would depend on the above listed three perspectives.

It is proposed that the moderated webinar discussions put young people at the centre so that they can freely engage between and among themselves in peer-to-peer information sharing and experiential learning. It would also afford them the opportunity to share their experiences of resilience before and since the outbreak of COVID-19, and what the outlook might be thereafter. Furthermore, the webinar would provide further opportunities for young African peacebuilders to keep abreast of recent developments in the peace and security sphere across Africa. Finally, the webinar should offer participants as well as the organisers an opportunity to document- and track- resilience measures that individuals, communities and governments are mobilising and their limitations in terms of mitigating the adverse impacts of COVID-19 or even the potential conflict fallouts.

Two webinar sessions, each lasting 90 minutes, are proposed to be held on Tuesday, 9th June and Tuesday, 16th June 2020.

Objectives of the Webinars

  • Discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the emotional, mental and socio-economic well-being as well as the educational needs of youth in Africa
  • Identify how the youth and their groups/networks are coping with and responding to the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic including for false news and violence messages
  • Identify and share best practices on how the youth peacebuilders can maintain resilience while they continue to exercise their agency and voice on key security and developmental priorities during and after the pandemic
  • Provide recommendations on how youth and their groups should continue to address pressing needs for peacebuilding PVE and resilience the current and future contexts

This webinar therefore, will offer young peacebuilders a more robust, practical and hands-on opportunity to engage themselves, and also to forge potentially rewarding links with the hosting institutions.

Webinar: The COVID-19 pandemic and the ethical challenges for children and youth

Webinar: The COVID-19 pandemic and the ethical challenges for children and youth

Find the video of this webinar here.

This Wednesday, June 3, from 13:00hrs to 14:30hrs (UTC), the IICBA invites you to attend the webinar on the COVID-19 pandemic and the ethical challenges for children and youth.

Date: Wednesday, 3 June, 2020
Time: 13:00 – 14:30 UTC
Duration: 90 minutes

While the education sector has responded to school closures by setting up online learning spaces and other innovative practices to support home-schooling, half of all students of the world are currently out of the classroom without access to a computer, and more than 40 per cent of children have no internet access at home.  Many children are being left behind with increasing disparities in access to education and learning, compromising their safety and well-being.

This is happening in a context where socio-economic inequalities are being exacerbated as the economic consequences of the pandemic are having a dramatic effect on the most vulnerable and marginalized children. According to the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) more than half a billion people — almost 8% of the global population — could be pushed into poverty as a result of the pandemic. The impact on African economies could be the slowing of growth to 1.8 per cent in the best case scenario or a contraction of 2.6 per cent in the worst case. This has the potential to push 29 million people into extreme poverty.  Further consequences are expected due to the disruptions to maternal and child health services during this period.

The pandemic has deepened and made more visible the many inequalities in our socieities, including those related to access to health, food security and nutrition, shelter and living conditons and digital access. The marganizalized continue to be the most vulnerable to the overall impacts of pandemic in many ways.

Acording to the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), education is one of the sectors most heavily affected, with the closure of learning institutions in many African countries likely to negatively affect education in terms of access, quality and investments. In the last few weeks, African governments and key education stakeholders have instituted some measures to promote the continuity of education from home. These have been successful in some ways, but challenges remain.

As restrictions on physical distancing are lifted, the economic impacts of the lockdowns and other restraints, are likely to put further stress on social dynamics, possibly enhancing the possibilities for conflict and violence in our communities.

As the world rallies to meet the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, extremist groups including those from West Africa have continued to carry out large-scale attacks and conduct cross-border activities.  There is a risk the current situation might undermine gains on peacebuilding and prevention of violent extremism including those made by the education sector.

The lockdown period already highlighted an increase of domestic conflicts and violence. The need to live together full time, sometimes in limited spaces, has also put stress on relationships among family members. Due to the impacts of the pandemic, millions of learners will go back to school finding themselves poorer, more vulnerable and in some cases victims of violence. Even if not affected directly, learners will witness changes in their environment and ethical challenges arising in their contexts as a consequence of the pandemic.

Education should respond to the holistic needs of the learners, empower children to be resilient and equip them to cope with the context around them and positively respond to the challenges they face. While lockdowns, learning at home and online learning strategies continue, we must make use of dynamic approaches to support learners beyond their academic work. A special emphasis should be given to support learners socio-emotional learning and towards empowering them to meet the ethical challenges they encounter.  By recognizing their potential to contribute towards positive social transformations, we no longer see them as passive recipients of knowledge but partners and contributors towards addressing shared challenges

While the COVID 19 pandemic has put pressure on the education, it has also shown our interconnectedness and the power of human solidarity.  Education can make use of transformative pedagogies to creatively address this opportunity and empower learners as agents of positive change in their communities. 

This webinar invites educators to reflect on the COVID-19 Pandemic and the ethical challenges for children and youth, and how we can empower them to address these challenges. The webinar is part of a learning module that UNESCO IICBA is offering for educators to support learners during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The objectives of the webinar are to:

  • discuss the ethical challenges arising in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic in an interconnected world ;
  • reflect on the impact on children and young people and how they can respond to ethical challenges ;
  • identify strategies to empower children and young people through education responses to address the ethical challenges around them as global citizens.

Programme and Speakers

Welcome remarks and introduction of theme (5mins)

Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki

Key note remarks (12mins)

Dr. Obiora Ike
Executive Director

Panel discussion (40mins)  

Dr. Rashied Omar
Research Scholar of Islamic Studies and Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame and Imam of the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa. 

Ms. Anne Waichinga
Associate Director - Education and Child Protection
World Vision International 

Mr. Suchith Abeyewickreme
Ethics Education Programme Coordinator 
Arigatou International 

Question and answer and discussion (30mins)

Webinar Moderator: Eyerusalem Azmeraw
Chat Moderator : Vera Lean


IICB website:

Promoting social and emotional learning during school closures: why and how

Promoting social and emotional learning during school closures: why and how

With schools closed now for students in most parts of the world, instruction is being shifted to virtual teaching and learning. For those with greater access to digital resources, this instruction can include the use of digital devices—such as computers, tablets, and smart phones—to connect with students either synchronously or asynchronously using video-enhanced content. Where students and their families do not have such devices, mass media platforms such as radio and television are being used to transmit both static and interactive lessons for students as well as guidance tips for parents on how to support student learning while at home.

As important and effective as these approaches can be in fostering ongoing learning during this period of global crisis, we cannot lose sight of another important facet of student’s lives and ability to learn: their safety and sense of stability (UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and UNESCO, 2015). The international development community has begun to recognize the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) and positive and safe school and classroom climate in promoting academic achievement in schools. Further, donors, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), have invested millions of dollars exploring ways to bolster social and emotional skills within students and teachers alike, including ways to raise awareness among teachers about the importance of safe and positive environments. Unfortunately, removing students from the classroom does not necessarily remove them from risks of violence (United Nations, 2020; World Health Organization, 2019). Just as the effects of this global pandemic are felt by adults, it also impacts children whose routines and structures have largely disappeared (Stafford, et al., 2009). As the world grapples with how best to promote ongoing learning among children while at home it must, therefore, also continue to capitalize on improvements made in SEL development and child safety and security. Indeed, the current pandemic offers unexpected and unprecedented opportunities to ensure that progress achieved in SEL development and student safety is retained. For the education practitioners community, this means we must find and act in innovative ways to equip students, as well as their parents and teachers, with the social and emotional competencies they need to productively deal with the stressors and potential risks in their lives. Read more


Living together in peace: a celebration of education, citizen engagement and prevention of violent extremism

International day of leaving together

Faced with the COVID 19 pandemic, our interdependence and ability to unite to solve a collective problem together has never been more apparent. Tomorrow, we commemorate the International Day of Living Together in Peace, adopted by the United Nations in 2017 to celebrate a world that ”promotes peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity” (UN Resolution 72/130). On this day, we look to West and Central Africa and highlight the work of governments and partners to sustain efforts to live together in peace through education.

In West and Central Africa, climate change, poverty, gender inequality, political instability and unemployment threaten peaceful co-existence and sustainable development. As of early 2020, 12 of 24 states in the region experience armed conflict resulting in widespread forced displacement, both within the affected countries and their neighbors. This in turn amounts to almost 2 million refugees, 7 million internally displaced persons and 1.8 million people at risk of statelessness (UNHCR Regional Office for West and Central Africa).

Of the ten worst conflict-affected countries to be a child, according to a Save the Children report, four are in West and Central Africa: the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Nigeria.

In this context, violent extremism is on the rise. According to the UNODC, violent extremism “includes forms of ideologically motivated violence” which can include “distort[ion] and exploit[ation] of religious beliefs, ethnic differences and political ideologies.”

As the threat increases, violence seriously affects educational opportunities: threats to education personnel and attacks on schools deny children their right to education and put them at increased risk of abuse, violence and exploitation.

As of February 2020, before most education systems closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, 3,641 schools were closed due to violence and insecurity in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger alone, affecting nearly 700,000 children and 20,000 teachers (Education Clusters Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger). These numbers have only increased due to COVID-19 containment measures: more than 128 million children are currently out of school across the region. While at home, young people spend more time on the internet, which renders them even more susceptible to the risks of online radicalization.

How can we promote living together and prevent violent extremism?

Learning to live together entails a development and understanding of ourselves and others, which leads to interdependence and peaceful, conjoint and intelligent responses to the world’s challenges. It contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 4.7 (all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development) and to all other SDGs.

These values are shared by the international community, including the members of La Francophonie, which adopted the Yerevan Francophone Appeal for Living Together in 2018.

As a central component of SDG target 4.7, global citizenship education integrates the principles of living together and teaches learners to respond to global and local issues through the spirit of cooperation and interdependence. Respect for diversity and different identities – of gender, religion, culture and others - as well as an ability to think critically, lead learners to respond to the challenges they face with empathy to build a sustainable world. This kind of respect and understanding is needed now more than ever as we work to respond to a global pandemic in solidarity with one another.

Global citizenship education has been central to the response to violent extremism in the region, in particular through an approach known as prevention of violent extremism through education (PVE-E). While education alone cannot prevent violent extremism, it can limit the spread of extremist ideologies, discourse and propaganda by providing individuals with the skills to challenge them.

Education has the power to teach the tenants of peace, non-violence, peaceful conflict resolution, information and online literacy and social and emotional skills. When students are educated and equipped with the skills to resist harmful ideologies, the spread of extremism becomes limited.

Learning to live together and PVE-E also promote transformation. This can mean a transformation of one’s self, community, society and even the world. Transformation occurs through action, and learners should be encouraged to take action to create change. Transformative pedagogy and participatory, student-centered approaches can be utilized in the classroom, as opposed to rote learning or memorization, to nurture active, critical and resilient citizens.

It is important to support both learners and teachers when it comes to transformative pedagogies. Teachers need support in the form of pre- and in-service training to equip themselves with new approaches and networking as they apply new tools in the classroom.

The Learning to Live Together (LTLT) task team has worked with the ministries of education in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal to promote these pedagogical shifts through adaptation to national contexts, training trainers and teachers, following up and support and involving the community, including parents and families, in these changes.

Transformational pedagogy can be applied to education at different levels and across disciplines. This is the case in Mauritania, where the education ministries and other line ministries are working with UNESCO to introduce the pedogogical approach into literacy and non-formal education programs and within subjects such as civic education, science, Islamic education, Arabic and French.

In the COVID-19 era, it is also important that existing PVE-E projects be adjusted to allow online or mobile phone programming. For example, UNHCR supports refugee teachers, students and host communities to continue distance activities on prevention and awareness-raising by organizing online training and activities, including through WhatsApp groups.

The LTLT team’s members exchange knowledge and experience among themselves and with government focal points working on PVE-E. Practitioners working on learning to live together can find critical resources in both French and English, links and a community of fellow professionals at


You can also find this article on the website of the Global Partnership for Education.

Preventing violent extremism during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Preventing violent extremism during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

While the world’s attention appropriately focuses on the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, the threat of violent extremism remains, and has in some circumstances been exacerbated during the crisis. The moment demands new and renewed attention so that the gains made to date do not face setbacks.

Headlines over the past few weeks have suggested that violent extremist and terrorist groups ranging from Colombian hit squads to ISIS affiliates in sub-Saharan Africa to far-right extremists in the United States are watching the disruption caused by COVID-19. Many are at least aware of the potential to benefit from that disruption, and in some cases they are already taking advantage.

As with so much reporting on and analysis of the pandemic, however, there is a shortage of data and evidence to support the headlines. The Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), where two of the authors work, has surveyed 50 local NGOs it supports to build community resilience against violent extremism in eight developing countries worldwide, to try to understand the nature of the threat. Six themes recur.

First, in most communities surveyed, with many schools closed and recreational and cultural activities suspended, most young people are now confined to their homes, and are spending even more time online. Their frustration, combined with a rapid growth of online vitriol, makes them more vulnerable to online radicalization to violent extremist agendas. Learn more...


Source : Brookings

Response to the COVID-19 outbreak: Call for action on teachers

Response to the COVID-19 outbreak Call for action on teachers

The International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 calls on all governments, education providers and funders – public and private – to recognise the critical roles that teachers play in the COVID-19 response and recovery.

Call to action by the International Task Force on Teachers

As of 25 March, 165 countries have closed all their schools because of the COVID-19 virus, affecting nearly 1.5 billion students and 63 million primary and secondary school teachers. This number is predicted to rise. The closures pose unprecedented challenges for education systems throughout the world. This global health crisis threatens to significantly slow progress towards many of the global goals, in particular, the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”). It is also likely to exacerbate the global learning crisis and global education inequalities as the impacts will fall disproportionately on the poorest.

Teachers are the backbone of education systems and the key to reaching learning goals, regardless of context and situation. Within the COVID-19 crisis, they are on the front line in ensuring that learning continues. Around the world, teachers and school leaders have been rapidly mobilising and innovating to facilitate quality distance learning for students in confinement, with or without the use of digital technologies. They have also been participating in and delivering other forms of education. In addition, teachers are essential for communicating measures that prevent the spread of the virus, ensuring that children are safe and supported... Learn more

Source:  Global Partnership for Education

Sahel countries gather around the monitoring of the integration of PVE into education systems

Mali, Niger, the Gambia, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau met for two days in Dakar to review progress in integrating the prevention of violent extremism (PVE) into their education programs and the teaching and learning processes of their respective countries. Learn more...


Source: UNESCO

Africa: sources and resources for a culture of peace

Title: Africa: sources and resources for a culture of peace

Description: The UNESCO action in favor of a culture of peace in Africa is placed in the context of the implementation of the “Iintersectoral and Interdisciplinary Program of Action for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence”1 as well as in the Mid-Term Strategy (2014 -2021) of UNESCO, which has identified "building peace by building inclusive, peaceful and resilient societies" as one of two main areas of action for Africa.

Issue date: 2013

Author: UNESCO





The Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre

The Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre

The Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JHGC) was founded in 2008 and together with its sister Centres in Cape Town (est. 1999) and Durban (est. 2008), forms the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation (SAHGF). The JHGC is a member of the Association of Holocaust Organisations (AHO) comprising over 300 institutions worldwide. It is also a member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the Alliance Against Genocide.  Learn more...

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