The United Nations General Assembly has set aside every September 21st to mark the International Day of Peace. The day is devoted so as to strengthen the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. As part of our commitments toward contributing to the achievement of sustainable development, Nigerian Youth 4 Peace Initiative (NYPI) decided to celebrate 2016 International Day of Peace Day in a different dimension.
Recognizing the important role children play in our society, their inherent potentials in ensuring sustainable development, and believing that if peace will be sustainable, it must start with children. The network organized a one-day ‘Sensitization and Awareness’ programme in commemoration of the 2016 International Day of Peace at Yinbol College, Orogun, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
The event which was aimed at creating awareness and sensitizing students on the great ways in which they can contribute to building sustainable peace in their communities; to initiate the process of setting up peace club in the school, was also used to officially launch the PEACE BEGINS WITH ME PROJECT.
The program which started at 11: 30 am had in attendance six (6) members of Nigerian Youth 4 Peace Initiative (NYPI), eight (8) teachers and 104 students. The event was an opportunity to further mainstream peace education in schools.
The school administrator, who welcomed the facilitators, teachers and students to the event, encouraged students to give full concentration to the presentations. She explained that given the increasing rate of violent conflicts in Nigeria and children been the most hit, the need for peace is essential. The National coordinator, Nigerian Youth 4 Peace Initiative (NYPI), Mr. Lawal Rafiu Adeniran, while giving his opening remarks emphasised that the theme for the commemoration is ‘The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace’. He explained that while the seventeen (17) SDGS goals are integral to achieving peace in our time; peace on the other hand is an essential condition if any of the Sustainable Development Goals would be achieved. He noted that for the goals to be reached, everyone including government, private sector, students /children needs to play their part.
One of the facilitators, Miss Joy Nobility who presented on ‘children and peace’, enjoined the students to stay positive in all their ways, She urged them to desist from doing evil because all is paid back in the same coin to everyone who has done good or evil.
Ms. Antonia Oladosu who also presented on ‘peace as a tool for promoting unity’ emphasized the importance of peaceful coexistence among family members. She noted that when there is peace in the family, it will transcend to the community and then to the nation. She therefore urged students to be peace ambassadors and role models in their school, homes and communities.
Miss. Matesun Oluwabukunmi, who delivered the last presentation, spoke on ‘entrepreneurship development as a key for sustainable peace.’ She emphasized the importance of learning a skill and owning a trade so as to escape the menace of mass unemployment ravaging the nation. She noted that only when people are productively engaged would there be sustainable peace and development.
After all the presentations, facilitators gave opportunities to both students and teachers to ask questions. Some of the students asked how they can be role models in their homes and how to seek justice when they are assaulted by school mates. Facilitators after responding to the questions also evaluated the students by asking questions along the various presentations and one of them was rewarded with a branded Nigerian Youth 4 Peace Initiative shirt.
By and large, the event was a success. After the sessions, students were able to identify the various ways they can contribute to sustainable peace in Nigeria.
As the event came to an end, one of the teachers present, who on behalf of the school, gave the closing remarks, thanked everyone for the cooperation and especially Members of Nigerian Youth 4 Peace Initiative (NYPI) to have considered Yinbol College a worthy place to mark the 2016 International Day of Peace.
The programme ended at exactly 01:10 pm.
Written by Matesun Oluwabukunmi
Director of Partnership and Sponsorship, Nigerian Youth 4 Peace Initiative
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