Education and Peacebuilding

Research Consortium on Education and Peacebuilding (2012-2016)

The Research Consortium was a partnership between UNICEF and three dedicated research centres from the University of Amsterdam, the University of Sussex and Ulster University.  Each member of the consortium brought an established knowledge and research base in the fields of Education Governance, International Development, Social Justice, and Conflict to the Programme. The Consortium worked closely with in-country partners in each research country at every step of the project.

Consortium teams carried out research in four countries over the course of the project: Myanmar, Pakistan, South Africa, and Uganda. Each team produced a specific country report which, alongside thematic Literature Reviews, formed the basis for three synthesis reports addressing the three areas outlined above. All research outputs can be accessed here.

The argument is not that education is the sole magic bullet for achieving sustainable and positive peace. Instead, education is seen as an important (yet not exclusive or stand-alone) ingredient in fostering social justice and tackling the root causes of a conflict.[1] A sustainable approach to peacebuilding, it is argued, places more emphasis on social development and addresses underlying causes of conflict such as political, economic and social inequalities and injustices. In this process, education can contribute to greater security as well as political, economic, social and cultural transformations within conflict-affected societies.[2]

[1] Novelli, Lopes Cardozo, and Smith, A Theoretical Framework for Analysing the Contribution of Education to Sustainable Peacebuilding: 4Rs in Conflict-Affected Contexts.

[2] Ibid.

Uganda Case Study

Principal investigator: Prof. Alan Smith, UNESCO Centre, Ulster University

Lead researchers Uganda: Dr. Simone Datzberger and Dr. Alan McCully, UNESCO Centre, Ulster University

Research team in Uganda: Dr. Aloysius Malagala (Gulu Univeristy) Senior Research Partner; Ms Betty Okot (affiliated Gulu University) Senior Research Partner; Mr Brian Kibirango (HURIPEC – Human Rights and Peace Centre, School of Law, Makerere University – research assistant in Kampala); Ms Lucy Akello (research assistant in Gulu); Mr Ronald Marindi (research assistant in Adjumani); Mr Benjamin Abura (research assistant in Karamoja); Mr Arthur Bantu (research assistant in Karamoja and Kampala).

Uganda PBEA Country Report Cover 2015
Uganda PBEA Country Report Cover 2015

Written by researchers from the Ulster University team, in partnership with local researchers from Gulu University and Makerere University in Uganda, the report explores education and peacebuilding in Uganda from three viewpoints:

  • The Integration of Peacebuilding into Education Policies and Programmes.
  • The Role of Teachers in Peacebuilding.
  • The Role of Formal and Non Formal Youth Education Initiatives.

In addition, throughout the research project and as a cross cutting theme in all three areas, the research project aims to understand the dynamics and impact of various forms of direct and indirect violence in relation to education systems and educational actors in situations of conflict. Each thematic focus will also include a gender analysis.

The Full Uganda Country Report can be accessed here: Full Report

Synthesis Report

The integration of Education and Peacebuilding. Synthesis report on findings from Myanmar, Pakistan, South Africa and Uganda,

Ulster University. UNICEF New York.

Authors: Smith, Alan; Datzberger, Simone; McCully, Alan. 

Cover Picture Policy Synthesis ReportThis synthesis report seeks to build knowledge on the relationship between education and peacebuilding in conflict-affected contexts. It examines how education is included in peacebuilding and development frameworks in four distinct conflict-affected environments (Myanmar, Pakistan, South Africa and Uganda). Moreover, the study compares, summarizes and critically reflects how education policies and governance contribute to the peacebuilding process in these countries. In doing so, we pay close attention to aspects of redistribution, representation, recognition and reconciliation (see: Novelli et al. 2015).

Throughout the report we deliberately distinguish between explicit and implicit forms of peacebuilding through education. The former refers to activities such as peace education, peacebuilding training for teachers, programmes and initiatives purposely put in place for a conflict-affected society to come to terms with the legacies of a conflict. The latter, refers to policies, activities and programmes that may not be intentionally designed to build peace but indirectly impact processes of social transformation and change, necessary for sustainable peace and development.

Read the full Synthesis Report here.
A short Executive Summary can also be accessed here.

Other publications from this project:

  • Datzberger, Simone and Donovan, Outi (2018): “Silencing the past in Ugandan schools. The role of education in reconciliation processes.”, Peacebuilding, pp. 1-17, online first, access here
  • Datzberger, Simone (2017): “Peacebuilding through non-formal education programmes. A case study from Karamoja, Uganda.” International Peacekeeping, Vol 24 (2), pp. 326-349 – access here