A new research award to AHEEN – PEACE BUILDING THROUGH HIGHER EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES
In this project we aim to empower youth in protracted and acute conflict settings to participate in bringing about constructive change at the local level using our pedagogical model of Integrative Social-Emotional Learning (Integrative SEL). This approach is supported by a human development-oriented framework for educating people about peace and social justice issues through social integration as a precursor to social cohesion. The Integrative SEL model is implemented both as a required module for students enrolled in a formal higher education initiative through the African Higher Education in Emergencies Network (AHEEN) in Kakuma/Kalobeyei refugee camp in Kenya, and as a humanitarian emergency response project through the AHEEN non-formal higher education intervention as part of the Tigray emergency response in Tunaydbah and Um Rakuba refugee camps in Sudan. By addressing physical and emotional well-being through a combination of sports and applied arts program components around a core component of community engineering, the Integrative SEL approach capitalizes on the knowledge and peace-building potential of local actors, responds flexibly to both protracted as well as acute emergencies and provides participants with the foundational skill sets with which to rebuild their communities, whether in displacement or upon repatriation. Leveraging the arts, sports and engineering sciences addresses key needs of communities in displacement and has the potential to set in motion more transformational processes that go beyond maintaining security or ensuring stabilization, in that they recognize the identities of marginalized groups and contribute to rectifying social and cultural inequalities in refugee-hosting countries. As a research project this intervention seeks to explore the role of learning processes as a way to develop sustainable life skills in conflict-affected settings that are necessary ingredients to building social cohesion and contribute to social justice. It prioritizes processes over content, bottom-up approaches and initiatives over top-down agenda-setting, local over national/global education planning.
OU REF: CLS-7080-01 – UK Arts and Humanities Research Council AHRC REF: AH/T008121/1
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