Sowing seeds of peace to 100 Maranao children

World Vision conducts a children and youth-led peacebuilding training to learners under its ‘Empowering Children as Peacebuilders (ECaP)” initiative in Marawi National High School. 100 pupils from two different schools in Marawi are educated on conflict resolution, peace building processes, and appreciation of their culture and history.

“The ECaP curriculum is a guiding tool of World Vision Philippines to empower children and youth to embody the principles of respecting diversity and gender,” shares Project Manager Adonis Casinilio. “It also covers context sensitivity, non-violent involvement, and transforming relationship with God, others, self and nature,” he adds.

The curriculum encourages the active support of parents and community including the religious sector and other stakeholders. It expects that children will develop life skills and enhance their spiritual life thus enabling them to look at things with sensitivity.

“Regardless of their culture, traditions, belief and faith, we aim that children will be more conscious of the impact of their decisions on other people around them. This impact can be measured through their demonstration of fair treatment to others, respect and love towards God and neighbor” says Casinilio.

Project Coordinator Cecil Canes shares that the uniqueness of the activity lies on the involvement of young peace advocates educating their own peers.

“Together with our senior peace advocates, we have trained more than 40 children and youth facilitators to teach these kids. They are the one co-organizing, teaching and serving them. Children teaching fellow children is something that we emphasize to exercise their meaningful participation in advocating peace their own ways,” shares Cenas.

Norhan, 14, one of the trained facilitators of the program shares his experience on handling his fellow peers. “At first I was worried they might not listen to me because we’re of the same age. I was proven wrong. I really appreciate the fact that I can influence my fellow children in advocating peace,” he says.

“I though them how to understand individual perceptions. This is very important to have a more open mind in accepting each other’s differences and beliefs. This way we will know how to avoid conflicts among people.” Norhan explains.

Anna Zenaida Unte-Alonto, Schools Division Superintendent -Division of Marawi, one of the guest speakers in the culminating activity emphasizes that the goal of the organization is aligned with the ministry of education of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, “Despite the ongoing COVID 19 crisis and other disasters we are experiencing, we still prioritize initiatives on peace. We would like to inculcate moral ascendancy among our Bangsamoro children,” Alonto shares.

World Vision believes that in their young age, children should know and understand the concept of peace. “Start them young. Our goal in this initiative is to provide children an avenue where they can share their thoughts on peace. We would like to change their negative perceptions and nurture a culture of peace within their realm,” concludes Oliver Apud, World Vision’s Peace-building Specialist.

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