Children as Zones of Peace 1

Realizing the importance of peace in the lives of the community people of Pikit especially among the children, seeing the possibility of connecting the capacities of the people, BALAY thought of developing a project that will enable the all concerned sectors – community, school, government, military, armed group and the youth and children to promote children as zones of peace.

There were several activities undertaken for the first semester to hit the objective. Since the biggest bulk of the project involves inclusion of peace-building themes and topics in the elementary school curriculum particularly in the MAKABAYAN subject, BALAY sponsored a teacher’s training that did not only tackled curriculum but also enabled the teachers themselves undergo the process of understanding conflict, Mindanao history, tri-people cultures, reviewing child development concepts and practices and re-assess themselves as a teacher and an individual in the midst of the situation in Mindanao. The output of the training was a compilation of suggested activities for elementary MAKABAYAN teachers

To complement the gains in the school, BALAY also encouraged the participation of the parents of the children. Last May 31 – June 2, 2004, BALAY conducted Parent’s Training dubbed as “Effective Parenting Towards Building a Peaceful Community Working Together for the Holistic Development of a Child”. Topics discussed during the training were, How I Became A Child? , How do I View My Son/Daughter as a Child- Different Views on Children, Who is the Child? Characteristics and Stages of Development of a Child, Rights of the Child, Discipline, Communicating with Children, Play and Trauma in Children.

The objectives of the training was to enable the participants gain knowledge and enhance their understanding and capacity on issues and concerns on children and quality child care and development. It is also expected that participants will actively take part in holistic development of the child as zones of peace.

BALAY has utilized different participatory approaches in the discussion. The participants were able to review their lives starting as a child, their views of a child and their children, they made critique of their own parenting approaches and was able to return to being child and understanding childhood by enjoying the play and games children make.

Lastly, the parents expressed that they were able to see the different situation of their children especially on the issue of peace. They were able to understand fully the concept of putting children first in times of conflict, as they are vulnerable but at the same time considered future of the nation.

For the youths, a Peer Counselor’s Training “ Enhancing Peer Group Capacity Towards Building a Peaceful Community” was carried out last June 4 – 6, 2004.

The training had two main focuses, Self Awareness and Counseling. The objective of the first portion was 1) to offer the participants to explore self-concepts and to gain increase self-awareness 2) to help participants establish more meaningful relationship with one another. The Counseling topics were intended to enable the participants acquires and enhances skills on counseling. It is comprised of several sub-topics such as What is Counseling, Establishing a Counseling Relationship, Active Listening, Counselor Responses, Qualities of a Counselor, Process in Counseling and Ethics in Counseling.

The Parent’s and Peer Counselor’s Training was immediately followed by a Joint Planning last June 7, 2004. Participants of both trainings from the seven baranggays attended the whole day workshop planning. They were able to formulate plans to re-echo the trainings to other community members.

This year, the project was expanded to the 7 Riverside schools of Buliok, Bulol, Bulod, Bagoinged, Barongis, Talitay and Kabasalan and 4 High Schools of Pikit National High School, Rajahmuda High School, Takepan High School and Silik National High School. The teachers in these seven Elementary and primary and 4 high schools were also trained in integrating the six thematic concepts in Makabayan and Araling Panlipunan subjects. The training was participated by 25 elementary and 21 high school teachers and was held last April 18-20 and 22-24,2006 in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato respectively.