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UNESCO/ASPnet training on social cohesion begins
an article by Lolly M Camara-Secka, Daily Observer, The Gambia

The Gambia National UNESCO Commission its Associated Schools Project Network yesterday [April 7] started a two-day training workshop for the promotion of intercultural dialogue, social cohesion and a culture of peace and non-violence, supporting the education systems’ response to contemporary challenges for ESD in ASPnet Schools in The Gambia, at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.

click on photo to enlarge

The theme for this year’s training workshop is meant to raise awareness on the effects of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (TST), Climate Change and environmental isues for the ASPnet schools in the Greater Banjul Area.

Delivering his opening statement, on behalf of the permanent secretary at the ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Ebrima Sissawo congratulated UNESCO/ASPnet for their foresight in organising such a training on such a pertinent global issue. He also intimated that “UNESCO is to the United Nations as the ASPnet is to UNESCO”, noting that UNESCO is the “intellectual” agency of the UN. He then stated that the ASPnet is the incubator or the “laboratory” of ideas of UNESCO on UNESCO matters.

“In 1999, marine and coastal environment became the front burner of UNESCO programmes, with the launching of the SANDWATCH project. It was a volunteer network of school children, teachers youth groups; non-governmental and community – based organisations. These came together to monitor and enhance their beach environments and the objective is to advocate and increase awareness of the fragile nature of the marine and coastal environment and the need to use it wisely,” Sisawo added.

He also lamented that with a strong field monitoring component, SANDWATCH tries to make science live and yet remain inter-disciplinary with applications ranging from Biology to Woodwork and from poetry to Mathematics. He added that it further aims to involve school teachers and students in scientific observation, measurement and analysis of beaches, by using an inter- disciplinary approach, for example, language, Art, Biology, History, Geography, among others.

He disclosed that this is the more reason that the UNESCO National Commission and the Gambia ASPnet, in collaboration with the Banjul City Council (BBC) and other partners will be conducting a SANDWATCH beach cleansing exercise of the Banjul beach on Saturday 12 April 2014 as a sequel to the workshop.


Question(s) related to this article:

What is the best way to teach peace to children?,

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Maria Montessori believed that peace was innate within children. Her timeless educational philosophy was developed around this basic understanding. Perhaps all we need to do as teachers is to provide stimulating learning environments that validate this knowing and understanding and nurture it. We may not have to actually teach it,  Sharing peace-building stories gently attends to this. Strong, creative and imaginative peace-building characters who focus upon win-win and have faith in peace being possible are at the centre of the story plots. In Hassaun Ali-Jones Bey's (Boundless Gratitude ) unique and mesmerising story, Black Ink is such a character who bravely crosses the universe seeking validation of what he knows in his heart. The magical character also models all the important peace-building values, understandings and actions needed for peace-building. I believe also that peace-building must be modelled and the whole teaching-learning environment should reflect similar values, understandings and is the primary focus of the Save the Children Australia UN Global Peace School Program upon which I am presently fortunate to be working. . ...more.

This report was posted on Ap[ril 13, 2014.