Over the past 4 years, PeaceMakers have been working with small groups of young people aged 13-16 in secondary schools, identified as at risk of exclusion because of conflict or violence or behaviour in school. They have worked with a Peacemaker facilitator in what we call a Positive Peace Group, meeting weekly for 6 weeks to build relationships and explore how issues of peace and conflict affect their lives and what strategies would support them better. (Note: positive peace is the value Peacemakers centres around: not just the absence of violence but the presence of justice, voice, equality, participation.)
We have recently commissioned a report to review this work and look at ways forward and are very excited by the possibilities emerging. It concludes that the work has had a number of benefits including:
- helping young people frame their thinking, feelings, needs, and actions, in the language of peace and conflict.
- reducing risk, making “better” choices, and contributing to interpersonal peace for themselves and others – particularly in managing emotions and conflict.
- enabling young people to talk about their lives and how their personal behaviour and issues affect their schooling and achievement.
- Positive Peace work has also been shown to help young people navigate the, often difficult, culture in secondary schooling
- giving young people skills for self-advocacy within the school setting.
In terms of moving forward, the report highlighted the need to involve young people in the evolution and delivery of the positive peace work in the future and we are excited to explore ways of doing this.
If you feel this is an area of work your school would like to explore, please get in touch. Or if you would like to help us evolve this work, or know of young people who would like to, we’d also like to hear from you! Do get in touch via email:
Sara Hagel, Director