On 7th October the Innovative Leadership Programme that ICON runs with ACCORD and Durban University of Technology ended for the year, with the presentation of Certificates of Achievement for those (40 in number) who attended the sessions, participated in the group projects and completed written assignments. Here are some of the successful graduates of the programme.
Crispin Hemson, Director of ICON, in exuberant mood.
Most of the group who graduated, with members of staff who assisted with the Programme.
Gathering of the group at KwaMuhle Museum
Various community projects are extending ICON’s ability to bring about positive nonviolent change, through the Innovative Leadership Programme. This Programme involves ICON and ACCORD (the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes); ICON undertakes the major organisation of the Programme. Each of the 40 students on the Programme joins a project in which servant leadership is developed.
Presentations by students on 16th September 2016 demonstrated the range and reach of the work undertaken.
Workers at the Denis Hurley Centre kitchen.
Seven projects reported on their work. One of the projects represented involved Programme members spending a minimum of five hours weekly serving in the kitchen at the Denis Hurley Centre that serves the inner city. They brought in measures to improve the hygiene of the food preparation. Another served to increase the effectiveness of a Centre that cares for children and young adults as part of an HIV/AIDS project.
Sanele Mathe, Lungile Shangase and Siphesihle Mthethwa report on the HIV/AIDS Project
The approach taken by the Amnesty group was to reach other student groupings. Recently the group led a workshop on Gender and Leadership with 38 members of student clubs and societies at Durban University of Technology. Such outreach work is extending ICON’s ability to develop peace-based forms of leadership.
Cresencia Nyathi, Innocent Mutero, Kanyisa Booi, Anathi Teyise and Nkonzo Mkhize of the Amnesty Group.
Another project dealt with issues of history, using museums as the entry point. For example, Karinda Jugmohan of this project presented how this work had developed her understanding of the role of women in the struggle against apartheid; her section of the presentation dealt with the resistance of women in Cato Manor.
The Student Counselling project presented information on DUT careers at different schools in the Durban area. Here Selisha Ramduth, Phumelele Gasa and Norman Ndisile present their report on the work done.
The Schools Counselling Project
A seminar by Professor Aashish Kumar of Hofstra University, Long Island, NY, captured the attention of DUT students who are seeking ways of enabling communication across difference. Aashish demonstrated how the use of video, now available to large numbers of students through smart phones, can open up ways of having their voices heard.
Aashish Kumar makes a point at the seminar.
The seminar was entitled Narrative empathy and youth media in negotiating identity and difference. Students who attended include members of the young men’s group, Amajita, and of the young women’s group, GASVA.
Representatives of DUT Radio were also present, and graduate students on the Peacebuilding Programme.
Several Masters and Doctoral students of the Peacebuilding Programme, part of the International Centre of Nonviolence, graduated in April 2016 at Durban University of Technology.
Dr Sylvia Kaye, Dr Kudakwashe Shoniwa and Prof Geoff Harris
Dr Cyprian Muchemwa and wife
Of the six doctorates granted at the ceremony on 18th April 2016, Professor Geoff Harris of ICON had supervised five, and Dr Sylvia Kaye three.
Dr Mediel Hove
The Peacebuilding Programme, the postgraduate programme linked to ICON, is a rapidly growing endeavour, with 37 Doctoral and 27 Masters students in early 2016. Given that ICON has only three full-time academic staff, this is a major achievement.
The conference Journeys to Peace, planned for 18th to 20th September 2015, has been postponed as a result of funding problems.
We apologise to those who had hoped to participate, and plan to hold the conference instead in July 2016.
Patterns in the Strategies report
Analysis of the reports from the strategy groups reveals these common themes. There are specific action that will flow from the conference, including approaches to some of the relevant Education departments. Generally, these are what emerged from our discussions:
See violence as inherent in the system and not as a marginal phenomenon: address all relationships
Delegates saw violence as affecting a full range of relationships across the education system, from ECD to tertiary levels. The culture of educational institutions needs to change. Thus working against violence needs to include but cannot be reduced to addressing specific outbreaks of violence. One specific proposal is for schools to be encouraged to develop jointly – all staff and students – a common code of conduct to which all are held accountable.
Reporting processes/ending of silence/holding schools accountable
The Departments of Education are asked to set out clearly how young people, teachers and other stakeholders can report violence of all kinds. This may lead to some schools being identified for particular attention. There is a need for workshops to involve teachers and Learner Representative Councils on how such issues need to be addressed.
Education of teachers and other role players, including student leadership
A key problem is the lack of relevant education of teachers at pre-service and in-service levels. Teachers may be taught about violence, but not equipped to deal with it, including dealing with the trauma in their own lives. This requires that people are able to speak about their experience of violence within the education system.
Attention to physical infrastructure
Toilets are a particular area of threat to students and staff; generally there is a need for a greater range of resources for young people to engage with, and this includes libraries, places where young people can develop their reading.
Men as role models
At the level of media, and within education, there is a particular need for men to be visible as people who communicate a sense of respect for themselves and others.
Programmes beyond the formal curriculum
There is a specific role for outside bodies: NGOs, religious, community-based grouping – which could be encouraged to interact with schools and to provide programmes for young people. These would include drama, arts, writing, widening out the range of activities for young people, as well as programmes such as AVP to address specifically the role of trauma in limiting the imagination and hopes of teachers and students.