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Promoting peace education in Islamiya schools

Countering the narrative of apathy towards ‘western education’ in Maiduguri, Nigeria

This project aimed to increase understanding of the compatibility of Islamic principles and conflict resolution in Nigeria.

There is an alarming division between Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, exacerbated in part by corruption, political patronage and a general breakdown of democratic governance. Greater effort must be made to not only increase community awareness of the role of Islam in peacemaking, but also change negative perceptions of western education.

We hoped to improve understanding among parents and pupils of Islamiya schools on the role education and conflict resolution can play in fostering peace in their communities, as well as encourage greater acceptance of this so-called ‘western education’ in the community.

Through our research, we have identified 24 Islamiya school directors, 20 male and female scholars/preachers and 500 parents of children at Islamiya schools who we hope to positively influence and encourage to become advocates of the compatibility of Islam and conflict resolution.

One of the outcomes of the project was the production of a peace manual. This was done with the help of religious scholars in coordination with 18 Islamiyya school directors in Jere local government area(LGA), Ministry for Religious Affairs Education Department, and Head of Islamiya Sector in Jere LGA. This manual was very well received and had immediate buy-in among the school directors and school management. In total, we translated 1,500 copies into Hausa and distributed it to over 18 school (roughly 30 school directors and teachers). These teachers and directors also became advocates for and champions of peace education through their participation in the project.

The project launched a number of community dialogues with role plays by young people based on lessons learned in the peace manual. Over 30 radio programmes were also launched on Peace FM and Lafiya Dole, which shared lessons from the peace manual and had callers discuss the challenges with conflict resolution and positive peacebuilding in their communities. Lastly, the project increased awareness of the importance of peace education as a right for the male and female children with community members, teachers, pupils and administrators across Jere LGA with estimates of 1,000 direct beneficiaries and up to 10,000 indirect beneficiaries.

This project ran from December 2015 to March 2016.