Meds For Africa
In war-affected areas, soldiers with poor supply lines will systematically pillage anything within the area they control to secure money, food and supplies. In long protracted civil wars, pillaging becomes a soldier’s principal daily activity. Prized targets for pillaging are schools and hospitals. They are often the facilities that communities have poured the greatest part of their resources into and are full of very sellable objects and equipment.
In Sierra Leone, 80% of the rebel combatants were children. Their supply lines were often non-existent and so their daily survival consisted of invading villages and forcing villagers at gunpoint to surrender their food and belongings. Clinics were systematically denuded of anything that could be sold including fixtures, copper wiring, tin roofs, anything that an unscrupulous middleman would buy.
The war ended and the world’s attention focused on another part of the world, but the clinics and hospitals remained in desperate need.
Meds for Africa Canada helped local hospitals and rural clinics to re-equip their facilities with equipment such as beds, blankets and microscopes, and desperately-needed medicines, needles and other disposable supplies that would allow the staff to care properly for their patients.
Curriculum For Peace
(Implemented in Sierra Leone. Further implementations in development.)
The Fundy Peace Foundation is dedicated to pursuing the implementation of a peace curriculum in the various school systems within its host countries. The approach used is to involve government ministries, teachers’ unions and academics to develop curricula that are fully adapted to the local culture.
In our work in Sierra Leone, curricula were developed using a workshop format that brought together local educators, administrators and academics. The latest research regarding “what works” provided the theoretical foundation for an exercise that then focused on using local cultural ideas and traditions to communicate key peace-building and conflict resolution ideas. Story-telling school ground projects, artwork and involvement of the communities surrounding the school were all part of the exercises developed for students. Middle school years (ages 11 to 14) were prioritized given that developmentally, youths of this age are very much involved in developing their sense of social ethics and values.
The guiding philosophy is that no one size fits all. The power of peace curricula lies is in its ability to be expressed in terms drawn from the local culture and traditions that espouse the fundamental values of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence. In our experience, all cultures espouse these values in some way. Our work is to bring those expressions to life for war-affected youths.