Since 2003, HTAC's ground-breaking peace education program has taught over 53,000 Afghan children at 44 schools to reject violence and incorporate the lessons of peace into their everyday lives. Now a new program, built on many of the same peace-building principles taught in Afghan schools, is reaching and benefiting entire local communities where these children live.
A recently completed project in Samangan Province (north-central Afghanistan) trained and empowered local community groups (Shuras) in learning how to effectively address and resolve their conflicts while building a foundatin for peaceful cooperation. HTAC provided hands-on training for 2,028 members, 745 of whom were women. These local groups represented approximately 20,000 citizens.
Members learned such skills as non-violent conflict resolution techniques, building collaborative relationships, mediation, conducting effective meetings, and taking positive actions to resolve long-standing problems.
The 6-month effort was a resounding success. Community leaders and independent observers reported sharp decreases in conflicts, both within and between local groups. Our team observed significant improvements in how meetings were conducted as these groups were able to effectively address previously unresolved conflicts that were important to their communities. In a male-dominated society such as Afghanistan, the team also saw a greater inclusion of women as active participants and decison-makers.
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