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Feb 11, 2019

Peace Project is Piloted at Ephesus SDA Primary School

The Heavenly Culture World Peace Restoration of Light (HWPL) which is based in Washington D.C. is in Belize for a week of peace building activities to commemorate Peace Education Week. Among the projects they are undertaking is the peace education pilot programme at the Ephesus SDA Primary School in Belize City. The programme is a regional initiative that has been tested in two other countries in the region to equip students with peace building skills to use in their daily lives. Reporter Andrea Polanco stopped in at the Ephesus Primary for the launch of the pilot programme.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Student conflicts are common within the schools. Some problems can be resolved easily, while others can fester and escalate. And so to prevent disagreements from spiraling into violence, the Peace Education project is being piloted at Ephesus Primary School in Belize City. Standards four, five and six students are taking part in the two-day pilot that seeks to expand on conflict resolution beyond the classroom setting.

 

Kirk Augustus

Kirk Augustus, Manager of Outreach and Empowerment Unit, DYS

“As our young people are developing, conflict is at the heart of those developmental stages especially puberty.  We feel that once we become more proactive in this approach where we assist young people from the primary level. So, they have an insight how to manage conflict when they reach secondary school where there is a whole different dynamics; they will have to meet new friends; new teachers and to adapt to a new environment. This is bringing conflict resolution to a next level. We have a complete curriculum where it is not the usual chalk and talk but it is activity based where young people could promote peace, manage conflict and build relationship with their peers, their community and wider society.”

 

The Heavenly Culture World Peace Restoration of Light (HWPL) is working with the Ephesus students in the Peace Education pilot program. Belize is the third country in the Caribbean region where the project is being tested. HWPL representative Efua Hayford explains how the activities will help with conflict resolution and management.

 

Efua Hayford

Efua Hayford, International Liaison, HWPL

“There will be different activities to understand the experience of each individual child. So, we will have scenarios so that they can play out if this is a situation that happens how they would resolve it. And then we will do an outdoor activity to see the different life experience that each child has been through. So, we will ask them if they have ever experienced violent aggression or if they have experienced verbal aggression. And each child will walk forward and at the end they can look around and see what their different classmates have been through and to understand the perspective of each other.”

 

HWPL expects to do a follow up after the program concludes tomorrow. The hope is that the program can eventually be tailored to fit the needs of students in Belize – and that schools, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Youth, can eventually implement the peace education sessions on their own. Vice Principal Carol Collins says that she sees the value for this program in her school.

 

Carol Collins

Carol Collins, Vice Principal, Ephesus S.D.A Primary School

“I believe that this is a much needed program. At this time, as you can see in our country, there are many criminal activities happening. I believe that the strategies that the students learn from this program they will be able to implement into their lives and practice in the classrooms, their homes, to help them find peaceful solutions they may be having.  As you can see the teachers are also a part of the workshop. They are learning as well and as they learn they will be implement these strategies inside their classrooms and remind the students on a daily basis of the steps and measures they need to take to resolve conflicts and not use fighting or violence as a means of solving our problems. So along with the Christian values that we teach and practice here at Ephesus SDA, we can apply those along with these strategies to help us a more rounded student.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

Later this week the HWPL representatives will meet with Minister of Education Patrick Faber and other education officials to sign an M.O.U. for further peace education sessions in Belize. They will also meet with representatives of the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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