To bring the message of tolerance home to the Namibia child, UNIC Windhoek and UNESCO collaborated to present a week long educational outreach on the message of Tolerance. International Day for Tolerance is observed on 16 November 2017.
“Tolerance is an act of humanity, which we must nurture and enact in our own lives every day, to rejoice in the diversity that makes us strong and the values that bring us together.” – UNESCO Director – General, Audrey Azoulay
From 13 – 16 November, UNIC & UNESCO team visited six different primary schools in the Khomas region, reaching more than 1800 Learners. The educational outreach was aimed at sensitizing primary school children about tolerance, in support of the global campaign launched by the UN to promote tolerance, respect and dignity for all across the world.
The team reached out to St. Andrews Primary School and Gammams Primary school in Khomasdal, St. Georges Private school in town, A.I Steenkamp and Namutoni Primary School in Katutura and Amazing Kids Private School in Cimbebasia.
During the school visits, the children were eager to learn what the word tolerance meant and where tolerance should be practised. The team delivered a presentation introducing the UN’s 17 Sustainable goals to the youngsters, with a strong focus on Goal #16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. This contextualized tolerance for the children and helped the team to explain how tolerance could aid in helping to achieve Goal #16.
Tolerance recognizes universal human rights and the fundamental freedoms of others. In that sense, we must accept the fact that people are naturally diverse. Only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in each region of the world.
The United Nations is committed to strengthening tolerance by fostering mutual understanding between cultures and peoples. This imperative is at the basis of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the UNESCO Declaration of Principles of Tolerance and these are more important than ever in an era when violent extremism and radicalism are on the rise and conflicts are widening.
The children in attendance listened attentively to the highlighted words: diversity, stereotype, inclusion and acceptance. Through the reflection rounds they had the opportunity to reflect on their actions and words they used on a daily basis and think of ways to change their perceptions, attitudes and behaviour.
Introducing this concept at an early age, allows primary school learners to be cautious about their perceptions and behaviours and how they can alter the way they view the world and people around them. Not only, to do self-evaluation but also to be able to identify intolerance and to stand against it and speak up when faced with it.
Education has a responsibility to foster the right type of skills, attitudes and behaviour that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth, reducing inequalities and enhancing tolerance.The primary school learners walked away, knowing how to combat intolerance and have gained introspection for their future interaction in their diverse country.
The team concluded the outreach with an activity of leaving their fingerprint on a canvas tree. This symbolised that they are colourful leaves that form part of the human family tree and furthermore pledging that going forward, they will be more tolerant in school, in their country and the world.