Goal 1: Developing and supporting further peace education efforts in Pax Christi Port-au-Prince

Kids in the SAKALA program

Pax Christi Port-au-Prince has been engaging in a multiplicity of efforts for community peace-building but is looking to expand on their informal methods by introducing more formalized educational material into the project.  To support this vision, the Pax Christi USA staff has been asked by Pax Christi Port-au-Prince to create a 52 week peace education curriculum for the U17 soccer team in Cite Soleil.  Participants would come for Sunday lessons and lesson themes would be reinforced during the week before and after practices or games.  Part of the expectation in our design focus on the oldest children is to increase their capacities for mentorship to the younger participants in the program.

In conjunction with the curriculum, Pax Christi USA representatives will be providing on-site trainings to help facilitate the successful implementation of the curriculum.  A spirit of collaboration will be the mainstay of these trainings which will involve information gathering and feedback to help increase pedagogical effectiveness based upon cultural sensitivities, relevancy, and the on-the-ground experiences of the SAKALA teachers.

Another effort to increase peacemaking awareness among citizens of Port-au-Prince is the establishment of a Peace Library and Resource Center.  This space will be run by Pax Christi Port-au-Prince staff and the library materials will be available to both peace studies researchers and the casual visitor.  Currently, no library or collection of resources of this kind exists, withinPort-au-Prince or Haiti, to the knowledge of Pax Christi Port-au-Prince.  A physical location in the city will be needed to house books and audio/visual aids.  Tables, chairs, and bookshelves will also be necessary to establish an environment suitable for study.  This facility will serve to attract interested learners who have previously not had access to such resources.

Currently, the four soccer teams established through the Pax Christi Port-au-Prince SAKALA project in Cite Soleil are all boys’ teams.  Whereas soccer in Haiti has traditionally been seen as more popular amongst males, there is interest among the staff in Cite Soleil to establish a girls’ team so that the sports and peace education benefits will extend to more females.  If funding for a girls’ team is removed as a major roadblock, both Pax Christi USA and Pax Christi Port-au-Prince hope to start this important initiative.  It will bear even further fruit through ties working to be created with the Haitian National Women’s Team and the newly formed Haitian National Women’s Disabled Team.

Any process that will allow for the full maturation of a project of this kind in Cite Soleil will involve some components that address the basic needs of the youth and staff.  Thus far the youth have been only irregularly provided with a snack before or after practice.  This consists of little more that a piece of bread, possibly with some peanut butter.  We look to help provide something more substantial and consistent.  Furthermore, we recognize the sacrifices and dedication of the staff of the SAKALA program.  We understand that many of them are either unable to support themselves and their families as a result of their focus on this project, which is absent of any substantial compensation, or must pull focus away in order to accommodate any possible, but not necessarily actual, outside job opportunities.  Therefore, money dedicated to their salaries is an investment in the overall health of the initiative and reflects the dignity and respect deserved by anyone doing full time community development work.

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