After so many years of turbulence, intermittent civil wars and socio-economic degeneration in Uganda, many youth of today have developed a new social culture based on violence and other social evils they have seen, experienced and lived through their childhood and adolescences stages. Although physical peace and calm have returned and taking root in Uganda, Uganda is still characterized by political intolerance, corruption, violation of human rights, riots and demonstrations, lack of commitment to public responsibility, land grabbing, strikes in schools, environmental degradation, domestic violence, child abuse, to mention but a few. The aforementioned situation requires widespread Civic Education, especially for the youth, to ensure the development of responsible citizenship. JPIIJPC therefore will be training secondary school teachers in the next four years on various themes of Civic Education which include Justice, Peace building, Rights, Duties and Responsibilities, Good Governance and Leadership as well as environmental conservation who in turn will be training students same topics to become responsible citizens, living better lives in their schools, families, community and country.
Catholic Social Teaching (CST), a key instrument for the Catholics’ involvement in activities for promoting Justice and Peace in society is not well known by the majority of Ugandan Catholics. The training of religious and the laity in parishes, formation houses and in different dioceses of Uganda will be carried out by the training department.
Strategic objectives of Training department for 2015-2018
- To promote civic rights and responsibilities among teachers, youth and religious leaders.
- To advocate for the inclusion of Civic Education in secondary school curriculum in Uganda.
- To make more known and effective the Catholic Social Teaching (CST) to Religious and the Laity in formation houses and Parishes.
Training department in collaboration with the Diocesan Education Secretaries (DES) conducted five field trips of monitoring of activities in schools to assess the project outcomes against the set targets and objectives. This took place in the dioceses of Kasana-Luweero, Nebbi, Lira, Kabale and Kotido in the months of June, July and August 2017 in which 33 schools were monitored. The monitoring findings indicate that due to several outreach programs that are being conducted by schools, there is great improvement in the relationship between schools and the neighbouring community. Example of this can be seen from St. Joseph’s S.S Naggalama and the communities around the school that now listens and responds to school needs through actively participating in school activities students are contributing money to pay for hospital bills of some patients who are not able to afford. In other dioceses, schools have launched monthly campaigns in which they organise and carry out cleaning of town centres and villages with garbage collection centres established.
The civic education program has promoted peaceful coexistence among students, teaching staff and non-teaching staff. This was evident by simple slogans such as, “Peace makers forever” at St. Charles Lwanga S.S Bukeerere, “Justice and Peace forever”-San Giovanni Secondary School.
Forty (40) secondary school teachers were equipped with additional knowledge and skills on mediation competence during two trainings that took place in Masaka (16th -17th May 2017) and Fort portal (23rd -24th May 2017) facilitated by AGEH-Civil Peace Service (CPS) advisor on peace building in collaboration with the Training department. The training that was the first of its kind covered key areas namely; definition of mediation, role of a mediator, the five steps of mediation, how to deal with conflicts situations during the process of mediation and lastly skills and tools of mediation. Participants appreciated the training and pledged their commitments to use the acquired knowledge and skills to promote peaceful resolution of conflicts through mediation not only in their schools but in their families as well.
In the first quarter of 2017, the training department has conducted four (04) follow up workshops of trained teachers on civic education as follows; Arua (14th -17th Feb) for the Northern ecclesiastical province, Soroti (21st -24thFeb) for the Eastern Ecclesiastical province, Kasese (28th Feb-3rd March) for the Western Ecclesiastical province, and Kampala (28th -31st March2017) for the Central ecclesiastical province respectively. These workshops brought together 40 trained teachers at each ecclesiastical province, giving them an opportunity to share their experiences concerning the implementation of this program i.e. the change stories in their respective communities and schools, challenges as well as the best practices thereof.
In the central region, the workshop established a civic education steering committee that will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of activities in central province, act as a bridge between the Centre and the participating schools as well as the education offices of the respective dioceses. In the East and west, a social media platform, (“WhatsApp” group) was established for information sharing as well as fostering the aspect of networking beyond school level. The teachers of the Northern Ecclesiastical province uniquely initiated a process of forming an association of all the trained teachers to assist in creating synergies to extend this program to the schools that were trained by the Centre and to also assist in following up activities implemented in various schools for information sharing. The initiatives undertaken by the teachers as illustrated above are intended to foster program ownership and eventually enhance sustainability in schools and communities.
The long term objective for this program is to have civic education included on the secondary schools curriculum. In so doing, the Centre through the department incorporates a number of activities for this strategy particularly the radio talk shows. We believe therefore that it is important first to increase publicity on the essence of civic education and to build capacities of communities to demand for its inclusion on Uganda’s curriculum. Three (03) radio talk shows were conducted in Arua on 15th Feb, Soroti on 22nd Feb and Kasese, on 1st March 2017 respectively.
From 20th -24th March 2017, thirty seven (37) religious men and women from 7 countries were trained on the Catholic Social Teaching (CST) of the church at the Uganda Spiritual Formation Centre (USFC) by the staff. This was designed to empower the religious with the basic principles of the CST so that they too can be instruments of promoting the common good in their different apostolic ministries. The training that integrated several other topics was seen to be a powerful tool for promoting the common good of the society.
John Paul II Justice and Peace Centre Training Department in collaboration with the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) Education Department held the fifth Diocesan Education Secretaries residential workshop on the implementation of the Civic Education program from the 9th -11th November 2016 at Foyer De Charite Namugongo Kampala attended by thirty six (36) participants from the 19 Catholic dioceses of Uganda. Majority of the participants were the Education Secretaries and some few Religious Advisors who work hand in hand with the Education department. The main objective of the workshop was to discuss the civic education evaluation findings that took place in 2015 particularly on the recommendation of advocating and lobbying the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports to incorporate civic education topics in the Uganda Secondary School Curriculum.
The workshop provided opportunity for the Education Secretaries to share information on issues affecting the quality of education and how best they could address them. Several discussions were directed towards improving on quality education and how best they could work together to address some of the challenges faced by the civic education implementing schools, for instances; the causes of strikes in schools.
The workshop generated several strategies through which the Centre would engage the different stakeholders and partners in advocating for the incorporation of the civic education topics on the secondary school Curriculum through the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports. The Centre is planning to begin engaging the different stakeholders and partners identified by this workshop in order to start advocating for the program.
Training Department participated in a community drama on conflict resolution at Buryansungwe Secondary School Fort Portal diocese on 30th October 2016 and at St. Paul’s Secondary School Kagoni Mbarara Archdiocese on 1st November 2016. The events that drew students and community members together were aimed at creating awareness about a peaceful resolution of conflict. In Buryansungwe Secondary school the activity started with the singing of the National Anthem, the East African Anthem, prayer, a welcome traditional dance, and a speech from the Head teacher followed by the skit on conflict Resolution.
Members of the Justice and Peace Cub performed a skit on conflict resolution entitled, “Do not kill Me”. The skit that took about 30 minutes was well appreciated by the community members. Teachers and students were able to draw lessons learnt that was centred on forgiveness and reconciliation. Through the drama, students and community members were sensitized about the importance of a peaceful co-existence, forgiveness and reconciliation as well as mediation and dialogues while dealing with conflict situation.
Members of the Justice and Peace Cub of both schools had opportunity to interact more with the team from John Paul II Justice and Peace Centre on the Civic Education program. The presence of JPIIJPC team was highly appreciated and was a great motivation for students from both schools.
In order to increase the understanding of civic responsibilities among youth out of school through formal and informal education system, the department organised and conducted youth exchange visit on 27th/09/2016 in Soroti Catholic diocese in which two schools; Kongonga High School and St. Theresa S.S Okunguro in Bukedea District were involved. Several community members from around the school were also present to witness the activities. This event was also meant to share knowledge and skills gained from the civic education program among students and teachers and best practices learnt from the implementation of different activities under the program. Several activities executed were; Open sharing sessions for students on the civic education program focusing on its values on students and community members, Poem recitation, Launching of Justice and Peace Club and Role plays on peaceful conflict resolution skills and team building work among students.
Youth exchange visit provided students with opportunities to learn how to live together. Students were learning from each other how to become better leaders. Through the different activities, they learnt about peace and possible ways through which peace can be achieved. Students were able to explore the characteristics and nature of conflict and peace particularly conflict early warning signs and early responses to address the common types of conflicts among students. This also depends on the nature of the conflict at hand.
In line with the Civic Education program, John Paul II Justice and Peace Centre Training Department was invited for the second time to facilitate two days training (20th-21st September 2016) at Ocer Campion Jesuit College in Gulu Archdiocese with thirty nine (39) participants. The main objective of the training was to build the capacity of teachers so as to promote the civic education values in the College. Two main topics were covered namely; Human Rights and Environmental Conservation.
The training inspired participants to identify ways through which they would promote the values of Civic education to students and the community around the school. As a result, participants instituted executive members of Civic education responsible for the execution of activities such as community sensitization on Human Rights promotion and protection, community service, conflict resolution “Baraza” and Music, Dance and Drama among others. They came up with a one year action plan of implementation that will be managed by the executives and supported by the school administration. JPIIJPC will continue to provide support through monitoring visits and networking with others schools within the same diocese for better results.
In order to achieve the strategic objective number one which aims at promoting civic rights and responsibilities among teachers, youth and religious leaders, 160 teachers from 37 secondary schools in 19 dioceses of Uganda were trained between February and July 2016 on civic education. The training covered six major topics namely; Justice, Peace and Environmental Conservation in phase one while Good Governance, Leadership and Human rights and responsibilities in Phase II.
In the Eastern Ecclesiastical province, the training took place at Eneku Training Village Soroti Diocese, in the northern Ecclesiastical province at Christus Centre Arua diocese, Central Ecclesiastical province at Foye De Charite Kampala Archdiocese and Western Ecclesiastical province at Caritas Training Centre Kasese.
All the trained teachers were awarded certificates and training manuals during the second phase of the training to help them conduct similar trainings for students in their various schools.
The training inspired teachers to creatively think of ways through which Civic Education could be implemented in schools through the work plans generated by each school. For example, forming and launching of Justice and Peace Clubs in schools through the involvement of religious leaders, Creation of peace parks and conflict theatres, planting of trees, peace walks to create awareness and many others. Above all, the training challenged teachers to become role models for sustainable Justice and Peace in their schools and communities.
To date, JP2JPC has trained a total of 606 teachers in civic education with 155 schools that are actively implementing the civic education program in their schools and communities. We hopeful that the skills and knowledge acquired from these trainings will help to better transform lives of teachers and the learners both in schools and in the communities through the multiplier effect.
The strategic objective two is to advocate for the inclusion of Civic Education in secondary school curriculum in Uganda. In order to achieve this objective, the department organised and conducted Community Debates and lobby meetings to generate strategies through which JPIIJPC could advocate for this objective to the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports. This took place in the month of August in Fort Portal, Kasese, Masaka and Kiyinda Mityana respectively where key influential people participated. Among them were the Local councillors, Teachers, representative from Education offices at diocese level, local government representatives, parents, and other CSO representatives.
The debate and the meetings identified several strategies through which the objective could be directed to the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports for a consideration. For instance, participants recommended that the centre should work very closely with the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) while developing the content of the curriculum to include civic education topics. It was also proposed that the centre needs to actively continue involving the District Education Officers and the district Inspectors of schools in activities of civic education in order to understand the importance of the program in promoting effective learning process in schools. Several other meetings and debates will be conducted in other dioceses in order to seek for more views on how to advocate for the process of the inclusion.
The JPIIJPC initiated the Youth Building Peace Program in 2009 as a means of developing young leaders for a better tomorrow. The vision of the Youth Building Peace program is to offer training for Ugandan youth that empowers them to be servant leaders in their communities now and in their future endeavors. The goal of the program is to build unity and peace by cultivating social conscientiousness, relationships, spirituality, and leadership skills among catholic youth in Uganda, such that they return to their communities and lead efforts to create a more just society.
JPIIJPC organized a residential workshop for 37 “Youth Building Peace” (18 males and 19 females) at Foyer de charite from Thursday 30th August to Sunday 2nd September 2012 with a theme “Youth in Mediation”. The youth were mobilized from Kampala, Kiyinda – Mityana, Jinja and Tororo.
In order to ensure that JPIIJPC’s ” Youth Building Peace” sustainably and effectively contribute to the promotion of peace in their respective communities, a workshop on mediating conflicts was organised to equip then with more knowledge, skills and increase their capacity on mediation.
- Train Secondary Schools’ teachers on various themes of civic education
- Follow-up workshop of teachers
- Organize and carry out exchange visits for in-school youth between dioceses in different regions
- Produce and disseminate Information Education Communication (IEC) materials
- Organize and conduct radio talk shows about civil responsibilities
- Organize and conduct training workshop for Diocesan Education Secretaries