Strengthening the Peace and Conflict Postgraduate Program at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria
The presentation of the Conflict Prevention Resource Pack for Civilian Actors in West Africa to the Peace and Conflict Postgraduate Program of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan (UI), Nigeria, on Friday March 2, 2012, by WACSI, marked the Institute’s first official collaboration with an academic institution.
The presentation of the Resource Pack was not only highly welcomed by the academic community but also instigated in-depth discussions on developing innovative ways of delivering existing courses under the programme which commenced in 2005.
Some of the over twenty (20) lecturers present at the presentation event affirmed that the manual will enable them to facilitate their respective courses using a student-centered-learning approach; in which students will be given the opportunity to interrogate various topical conflict issues and existing preventive mechanisms. They satisfactorily posited that the resource pack will enable students to gain deep understanding of some of the different conflict issues addressed in the pack including the 14years civil war that engulfed Liberia, the Sierra Leone wars amongst other conflicts that destabilized West Africa. They were equally positive that the Resource Pack would enable students to have the opportunity to critically examine and develop indigenous mechanisms to critically analyse conflict situations.
The presentation of the Resource Pack hinges on WACSI’s commitment to empower West Africans through knowledge generation, documentation and dissemination. Dr. Stephen Faleti, Research Fellow and lecturer on the Peace and Conflict Program expressed satisfaction with the content and mode of presentation of the English and French, print and compact discs (CD) versions of the manual which exists. He commended WACSI for conceptualizing the initiative and coordinating the packaging of such cross-cutting information on conflicts, prevention, peace and human security issues in the sub-region in a coherent manner. He particularly appreciated the uniqueness of the Resource Pack. “The manual is unique because it addresses many Peace and Conflict issues encountered in West Africa”, Dr. Faleti stated. “Everything is put together in a comprehensive, simplified and coherent way that makes it very easy to use by lecturers and students” he further mentioned.
The director of the Institute of African Studies, Professor Isaac Albert, also commended the overall development of the Resource Pack to be a crucial and practical resource toolkit for budding civilian actors in the field of conflict prevention and management. He points out that the presentation of the toolkit to the University of Ibadan, following the signed memorandum of understanding between the two institutions in 2011 was a timely intervention that promises to add value to the way conflict prevention courses are delivered under the Peace and Conflict Postgraduate Program in Nigeria’s prestigious institution of higher education. “The Resource Pack comes at a time when more data from the field should fit into what students are taught, and it is very relevant because it provides contextual information on conflicts in West Africa”, Professor Albert stated.
The Conflict Prevention Resource Pack is a comprehensive learning and reading resource for both academic and professional master’s programmes on Peace and Conflict studies in the University of Ibadan. This will enable graduates to acquire knowledge and skills that will be used to address conflict issues in society.
The Resource Pack which now adds to the library resources of the University is an outcome of a collaboration between WACSI, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) now the German Development Cooperation (GIZ). Its development benefited from the expertise of renowned conflict prevention experts from West Africa. The pack comprises of thirteen (13) training modules and a special module focused on training and facilitation which is an integral requirement to achieve the capacity building objective of the toolkit.