During the 2017 Public Speaking and Exchange for Secondary Schools forum on April 22 and 23, students were urged to be the agents of peace in their communities.
Eric Mahoro, the programme’s director at Never Again Rwanda, reminded students that they are the country’s future and that they should be taught to be agents of peace.
“Everyone in society is encouraged to take part in decision making processes so as to foster a just and democratic society,” Mahoro said at the event that took place in Huye District, Southern Province.
Under the theme, Peace starts with me: The issues hindering peace in our schools and communities. What can I contribute?, the forum attracted over 50 students from 13 schools in the Southern Province.
One of its aims was to empower the youth to be agents of peace through dialogue and critical thinking.
“This will promote civic participation and peace reconstruction in Rwanda,” Mahoro said during the event at Ecole Notre Dame de la Providence Karubanda.
Organised by Never Again Rwanda and German International Corporation (GIC), the forum is expected to also commence in June in Rubavu District, Western Province, and will attract students from Kigali, Western and Southern provinces, and, regional countries like The Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Burundi.
The two front runners of the 2017 Public Speaking and Exchange for Secondary Schools in the Southern Province shared their views.
Brandine Uwitwongeye, a student from Ecole Agricoleet Veterinairi (EAV) Kabutare, said that discussing peace leads to responsible populace.
“Peace debates, mainly among students, promotes human rights and teaches us to be key contributors to avoid conflicts in our communities,” Uwitwongereye said.
Eric Irakoze, a student majoring in Maths, Chemistry and Biology (MCB) in year 5 at Ecole Secondaire Regina Pacis, urged students to share the experience of these peace teachings with their parents to be community peace-makers.
“The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi happened because there was no sensitisation on peace in society. Parents gave their children ill advice and even encouraged them to participate in the mass killings,” Irakoze said.
He added that today, students have to teach their parents to be peacemakers and that will result in a society with no segregation.