Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Proving Peace Education Works

Development work is often volatile- we pour our hearts and souls into a program, and hope that our efforts will result in sustained impact. But even the most effective organization, complete with dedicated staff and deep community integration can find itself without sufficient funding and thereby paralyzed o continue their work.

As we’ve been labored over grant proposals aimed at securing funding for such continuance for our own impact, I’ve asked myself what the future will hold for the Insight Peace Education Project, and for myself as one of its staff. What could we do with 50k? 100k? 500k? What could we do, what do we want to do, and what would make for a quality continuation?

Beyond having ideas, the most important factor to ensuring a continued impact is having proof that the project is both affective and effective. While we’ve been following expert monitoring and evaluation protocols, I never expected to have any “evidence” that our materials worked within a mere few months.

When we recently sat down with our teachers for our monthly meeting, we were humbled to hear them report (unprompted, might I add) several significant changes that they’ve observed among their students since we began curriculum implementation. Female class participation has increased significantly. There is more order both inside the classroom and during break-times. Students have gained a sense of peer-enforced accountability. More students than ever before are making their way to the school libraries, requesting to take out books.

Could this all really be a result of our program? It’s both relieving and rejuvenating to know that our efforts have led to visible positive change. It’s rare to see the impact of one’s work so quickly, and these changes support the core beliefs behind our project- that children are malleable, and that through youth education we can positively affect the future.

Kaa Salama,


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