Author: Ruth Simpson, Meg Aubrey, Rosie Aubrey, Frances Brodrick
Full Citation: Simpson, R., Aubrey, M., Aubrey, R., & Brodrick, F. (2016). Teaching peace, building resilience: Assessing the impact of peace education for young Syrians. London, UK: International Alert. Retrieved from http://www.international-alert.org/publications/teaching-peace-building-resilience
Overview: Peace education plays a significant role in building resilience in children and young adults against the effects of trauma and violence, and in developing their resilience and skills to resisting recruitment into armed groups and engaging in violence in general. In October 2015, International Alert launched a project aimed at building an evidence base to demonstrate the role that peace education can play in addressing young Syrians’ needs and increasing their resilience in the face of violence, displacement and war; in particular their resilience to recruitment by armed groups. Alert’s peace education project implemented and assessed five peace education approaches.
Methodology: In late 2015, Alert alongside four local implementing partners, engaged 7,111 children aged 6–18 and youth aged 18+ in a range of peace education interventions in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey over a six-month period. This paper draws on data from a robust monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process of the project, presenting solid evidence about the emerging impact of peace education in this context from project activities across 13 locations in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, based on six months of implementation from September 2015. This includes interview data from 311 young Syrians and wider community members outside of the project activities, documenting attitudes among young Syrians towards armed conflict, the impact of war and displacement on their lives, and their motivations for involvement in or rejection of violence. The research also interrogated vulnerability and resilience factors that affect young people’s engagement in armed violence. This was supplemented by secondary literature research. The primary research was carried out in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey over a three-month period from December 2015 to February 2016.
Findings: Evidence gathered through Alert’s work with Syrian civil society organisations in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey shows that the provision of psychosocial support, safe spaces, supportive and positive adult role models, and value-based lessons in non-violence, human rights and self-care helps young people to navigate and cope with the impact of war.