Sowing the Seeds of Peace: Peace Education for Children in Ethiopia

An international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), hosted a peace education program for children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in collaboration with the New Heaven New Earth Church Volunteer Group. The program was held twice from January to February and aimed to instill the importance of peace and peace values in the hearts of young minds.

In the first peace program held in January, the children engaged in a creative activity that generated and embodied a range of vocabulary about peace and war. Through this, they gained a visceral understanding of the devastating consequences of war and the immense value of peace.

The second event held in February focused on the theme of “How Can We Achieve Complete Peace?”. It included creating news articles about war and peace and discussing methods for achieving peace.

“One of the Ethiopian youths who attended the event remarked, ‘How can we stop the war and achieve peace? We learned this through today’s peace education. The answer is peace education. We can achieve peace through peace education instead of war. While a few representatives decide to go to war, peace education is the best way for everyone to have a say and exert influence. We have finally realized that we can all become advocates of peace, creating peace together.’”

HWPL plans to expand its efforts to support students deprived of educational opportunities due to ethnic conflicts, a major issue in Ethiopian peace. Beyond the capital city, Addis Ababa, HWPL will also promote and pilot peace education in Awasa, a capital city in the Sidama state of Ethiopia.

The enrollment rate for elementary education in the Awasa region is 78.5%, lower than the national average of 85%, while secondary education stands at 43%, also lower than the national average of 54%. The low literacy rate has also been influenced by the Sidama tribe’s persistent demands for expanded autonomy. Dissatisfaction with the results of the 2018 autonomy referendum led to armed clashes with neighboring ethnic groups, destabilizing the educational environment.

Activities beyond Ethiopia’s capital are expected to be strengthened through collaboration with the New Heaven and New Earth Church, which focuses on youth education volunteering. This collaboration has been ongoing since 2022, marked by various peace initiatives such as blood donation events and peace sports competitions. Both organizations have concentrated on cooperation to expand peace education, with two sessions of youth-targeted peace education at the beginning of this year serving as tangible results.

Unlike the previous two sessions, which were conducted autonomously by the two organizations, the upcoming third session of peace education is planned to be expanded with the cooperation of public institutions to reach a broader range of education recipients.