Early childhood education and peacebuilding in areas of ongoing conflict and in refugee settlements in Western Uganda achievements, challenges, and lessons learned

Author: W. Glenn Smith
Year: 2015
Full Citation: Smith, W. G. (2015). Early Childhood Education and Peacebuilding in Areas of ongoing Conflict and in Refugee Settlements in Western Uganda Achievements, Challenges, and Lessons Learned. Peacebuilding Education and Advocacy in Conflict-Affected Contexts Programme. Kenya: UNICEF Learning for Peace.
Resource Type:
  • Research
    • Qualitative
Topic(s):
  • Design, Implement, Research and Evaluate for Better EiCC Programs
    • Peacebuilding Programming
Location(s):
  • Africa
    • Uganda
Target Population(s): Early Childhood (0 to 5), IDPs/Refugees, Learner
Overview: The PBEA in Uganda programme is based on an overarching theory of change: If conflict sensitive education that promotes peace is delivered equitably as a peace dividend in parts of Uganda which are recovering from conflict, then grievances and perceptions of neglect which have historically fuelled conflict in that region will be reduced. Building up education provision in conflict affected areas offers a means to build state legitimacy. Ensuring that schools are conflict sensitive provides an opportunity to empower teachers and administrators to discuss grievances and find productive outlets for issues raised in the community. (p. vii)
Methodology: The research for this case study was carried out in Uganda during August 2014, and began with briefings by key UNICEF PBEA staff members in Kampala, by regional and national government personnel, and by UNICEF staff in the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) in Nairobi. The field studying Western Uganda draws on information received during visits to 3 government offices and 22preschools (or “care centres” as they are referred to in the ECD programme) where 24 focus-group discussions (FGDs) were held, supplemented by 8 one-on-one interviews with government officials. Access was provided to a diverse cross-section of private and community-based schools for children aged 3 to 8. In total some 145 people were interviewed or participated in FGDs for this case study about ECD services in Western Uganda. (p. viii)
Findings: This case study finds that the ToC underpinning ECD interventions represents assumptions that are appropriate for both post-conflict districts and for areas of active conflict and for refugee settings. Important results are being achieved across both EiE and PB approaches underpinning ECD interventions for refugee communities and those affected by violent conflict. ECD services have contributed to: • Keeping interethnic lines of communication open and restarting inter-ethnic dialogue; • Preventing ‘conflict triggers’ in ethnically tense settings by promoting tolerance and respect between groups; • Protecting children and dealing with conflictrelated trauma as when violence broke out in July 2014 in Bundibugyo, Nteroko and Kasese districts; • Increasing a sense of security in fragile situations by bringing parents and community members together around common goals and building trust between groups; • Dedicated community management committees provide a lasting platform for peacebuilding in communities struggling to break long-running cycles of violence; • Bringing deeper societal transformations associated with access to quality education services; • For refugee communities, children are also being equipped with skills to support their return to home countries; • Refugee communities also aspire to recreate ECD structures in the Eastern DRC, where they could contribute to strengthening resilient communities and regional peacebuilding. (p. ix)

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