After participating in a climate change outreach in February, hosting a climate change workshop in April, taking part in the #ProsperousPaths inititative and hosting Dr. Helena Ndume in light of Nelson Mandela Day, Jakob Marengo Secondary School in Khomasdal was paid another informative visit by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek team on Wednesday, 28 September. A group of twenty students participated in the #PeacePals programme and had the opportunity to share their thoughts on the outreaches the UNIC Windhoek team has brought to the school.
The Principal of Jakob Marengo Secondary School Ms. Ottilie Abrahams, who is no stranger to UNIC Windhoek’s work, welcomed the team with a smile and expressed her excitement that Jakob Marengo’s pupils would participate in commemorating the International Day of Peace through an educational, writing exercise.
The twenty students who took part in the #PeacePals programme were mostly pupils who had taken part in other outreaches that UNIC Windhoek had brought to the school as a way for the UNIC Windhoek team to evaluate #PeacePals and its other projects.
Starting off the outreach, the UNIC Windhoek team taught the learners about peace and how the United Nations tries to create and maintain universal peace through the United Nations Peacekeeping operations as well as various through resolutions and treaties.
The presentation then featured a short video consisting of famous actors, musicians, athletes and other well-known influential public figures talking about the seventeen Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) and emphasizing on why they should be achieved. Following the video, the team discussed the SDGs, which were adopted a year ago in September 2015.
The learners came to understand that not only are the seventeen SDGs aimed at making the world greener, reducing inequality and promoting sustainable development, but peace is also the common factor that everyone needs to consider and maintain in order to achieve all seventeen goals and to harmoniously make a positive, global change.
The UNIC Windhoek team asked the pupils why each of the SDGs plays an important role in attaining and maintaining world peace, alluding to the theme of the 2016 International Day of Peace: ‘The Sustainable Development Goals: The Building Blocks for Peace’.
One learner mentioned the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment, as all girls should have the chance to follow their dreams and to make a difference in the world. Another learner mentioned that it is important to educate people so that they have the tools to succeed and opportunity to excel. Another learner mentioned that it is important to end poverty and to ensure that all people have food to eat and water to drink so that they can live a happy and healthy life.
After the presentation, the students wrote their thoughts on peace on postcards to be sent to students outside of Namibia. The learners were excited to be #PeacePals and use their voices to promote peace, and a few read their postcards out-loud for everyone to hear. All of the pupils wrote strong, positive and heartwarming messages concerning peace, which left the UNIC Windhoek team inspired by the power of the younger generation’s voice.
Ms. Eshila Hazel Maravanyika, the Desk Officer for Africa, Arab States and Europe in the Department of Public Information who had joined the team for the visit, then gave a few words about why she thinks world peace is important, emphasising how important it is for the youth to use their voices to bring about change and to promote peace. Two members of the International Peace Youth Group who had watched the #PeacePals presentation also briefly introduced themselves and told everyone what their organisation is about and how they help create, build and maintain peace.
After #PeacePals, some of the pupils gave brief feedback on the initiative as well as other projects UNIC Windhoek had brought to the school. The students mentioned that the presentations had enlightened them on current, world events and that the projects have helped them become more confident and know more about their individual rights.
A few students mentioned that they wanted more projects to come to the school and were excited to know that they can also suggest projects by contacting the UNIC Windhoek via social media or even stopping by the UN House in Klein Windhoek.