Forest Whitaker Deepens Investment in Lives of Former Child Soldiers and Refugees in S. Sudan and Uganda

Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, through their legal advocacy program, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), and the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) are currently in Kiryandongo to equip former child soldiers and young people affected by conflict from across Uganda and South Sudan with skills in leadership, mediation and entrepreneurship. The aim is promote education to achieve peace, human rights and sustainable development as key drivers of more peaceful and just societies and more open and inclusive economies.

Teaching peace, building resilience: Assessing the impact of peace education for young Syrians

Peace education plays a significant role in building resilience in children and young adults against the effects of trauma and violence, and in developing their resilience and skills to resisting recruitment into armed groups and engaging in violence in general. In October 2015, International Alert launched a project aimed at building an evidence base to demonstrate the role that peace education can play in addressing young Syrians’ needs and increasing their resilience in the face of violence, displacement and war; in particular their resilience to recruitment by armed groups. Evidence gathered through Alert’s work with Syrian civil society organisations in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey shows that the provision of psychosocial support, safe spaces, supportive and positive adult role models, and value-based lessons in non-violence, human rights and self-care helps young people to navigate and cope with the impact of war.

Former Sudanese child soldier and rapper, actor, speaker and activist Emmanuel Jal dances as he enters the gym at Murray High School. (Photo: Andrew Shurtleff, The Daily Progress)

Former child soldier seeking peace through education speaks to students

Jal, a musician, actor, public speaker and entrepreneur, was born in a mud hut in rural South Sudan. At age 7, he was pressed into service in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. At age 8, in a barracks disguised as a school, he was taught how to be a soldier. A dose of good fortune spared Jal from disease, starvation or murder, and he has made it his mission to spread a message of peace, education and giving. Jal delivered that message to high school students in Charlottesville, Virginia.

United Movement to End Child Soldiering: reflections from our work

United Movement to End Child Soldiering, based in Washington, DC, is partnered with UMECS: The Center for Peace, Education and Development, a Republic of Uganda based NGO, to fulfill a mutually shared mission: to support secondary school and higher education for children and youth affected by conflict and poverty, together with school-based peace education and guidance and counseling programs, and help to build cultures of peace to prevent new wars. Following are excerpts from their 2015 year-end newsletter.