Children’s conceptions of peace in two Ugandan primary schools: insights for peace curriculum
Kagaari, R.K. James.
Okumu, S. Auma.
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Oppenheimer urged communities all over the world to study how children come to understand peace, conflict, and war. Set in various countries, their review of studies, as well as more recent examinations reveal trends in how children view these phenomena, often differing by gender, age, and extent to which they were exposed to highly dangerous and traumatizing situations, like being forced to be child soldiers or sex slaves. No such research has been published in the contemporary post-war Uganda context. Using focus group methodology, we asked: How might Ugandan primary school children’s stories about peace (traditional and otherwise) help them navigate conflict? What sorts of conflicts do these children observe in their home, school, and community, and how do they describe peace as being resolved by themselves or others? The purpose of our study was to contribute to the knowledge base on peace education in Uganda and to ultimately develop written materials that students can use as part of their learning in their respective schools. Local studies like this one are relevant to the global situation because racial and economic conditions are global phenomena. The local manifestations can speak to those racial and economic conditions as perspectives not often used to put the global situation in relief. This paper explores the findings related to the children’s overarching conceptions of peace and their ideas of peacebuilding, including activities that both hinder and encourage peace. The voices of the children speak strongly of the connection between peace and access to basic necessities in the community.