WEEK 2 ASSIGNMENT QUESTION Think about how you can create a "zone of peace" in your classroom, workplace or community. What guidelines would you need to establish to create a zone of peace with your students or colleagues? Describe the zone of peace and what you would need to do to achieve it, outlining a plan of how you could implement this idea in your context. Please write the assignment in your blog or email it to your instructors.

 

ANSWER Peace as many people have observed is very difficult to define. It is a multi-faceted phenomenon which others have simply defined as an absence of conflict. Every second, every corner of this world there is conflict, within and outside. Life and other valuables have been lost in the course of this conflict. If there are no mechanisms or effort to minimize or eradicate conflict, life on earth and in other quarters where is evidence of life can extinct. Conflict, of big or small size, usually leads to destructive results. Even on our mother’s lap where we begin to learn and teach, we need to promote peace education, it can grow into something as big as a nucleus bomb. It is therefore important to make effort to create a zone of peace in all spheres where interaction is taking place especially in a classroom, workplace or community. As for us who work in promoting community development there are so many ways of creating a zone of peace in the communities we serve. I would therefore suggest creating a zone of peace in informal education structures especially tradition education structures like initiation ceremonies/camps where boys and girls are taught about values or norms which are highly regarded in those localities. Most of the practices that pertain to rites of passage revolve around grooming the boys and girls for adult married adult life (especially girls). These processes mark the transition between childhood and adulthood. The girls and boys are taken for confinement for a specified period where elderly members of the communities give the counsel and instructions. These processes are less interactive where the elders are the ones giving instructions and boys and girls must obey without question. There are also other practices which are done against the participant’s wishes like shaving their hair, including pubic hair. Girls are the ones who are mostly subjected to these processes and ill treatment in the camps. Girls from 6 years of age are taken to an isolated place, which is usually a house within the village, for confinement for a period of two to four weeks, for purposes of counseling them. During the evening of the day before the girls are taken to this isolated place, accompanied by the women/older girls who already underwent through this initiation, to perform a dance through which a number of pieces of advice are given to the girls. Without going into too much details on what really goes during ceremonies, these structures are some of the socio-cultural structures that promote oppression especially for women and girls. They are the same structures which promote . These are structures where, according to Paulo Frere “ The oppressed consciousness maintains a sense of fatalism, the resignation to fate of being an object of domination…” It is important to create the zone of peace in these structures where critical dialogue must encouraged. The participants, boys and girls alike must be engage meaningfully in these processes. They must critically think and understand and accept the processes they are subjected. Because this is not most of the times done against their will it creates conflict within oneself and the world around them. These structures create fear and anger which key ingredients in conflict. The zone of peace will help to promote dialogue where boys and girls can express themselves.

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Comment by Francis Okeny Silvio on June 7, 2011 at 6:47pm

Gertrude thanks for your brilliant input on "creating peace zone", however, encouraging culture that does not promote society would not be an ideal idea, for creating peace zone in my personal view. With all due respect I am sad to hear that such oppressive culture still exist in the 21st century. I respect every culture and method they use to preserve their identities, but I would encourage societies to be flexible to change and modernity where necessary.

Among the Pokot people in northern Kenya, circumcision of girls as an initiation process to adulthood was held by the entire society as the highest cultural value, to the point, even boys would not marry uncircumcised girl, a culture that was criticized by most human right activists. To cut the story short, the culture was changed by only two girls who refused to be circumcised, and empowered the entire society to abandon circumcision of women, because of its oppressive impact on women and the serious health consequences, and they were successful. My point is any culture that does not help the society to prosper must be abandon through empowerment and conscious awareness of the people involve. Furthermore, what you described as "ill treatment in the camps" constitutes torture and any form of torture, physically or mentally, is a crimes against humanity, according to Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Thanks for sharing your assignment with us.

Regards

Comment by Stephanie Knox Cubbon on June 7, 2011 at 2:41pm

Hi Gertrude,

What a great idea to post your assignment to the PCDN! I'll send more comments via email. Keep up the great work!

Best,

Stephanie

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