Studying Peace and English can Prepare the People of Burundi and the Surrounding Regions for Pandemic Threats like COVID-19 while Improving Public Health Generally, Promoting Service Above Self and Citizenship.
The native language of Burundi is Kirundi but the language taught in schools is French, an imposed requirement from the German and Belgian colonizers. Yet in East Africa, in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the language taught in schools is English. Burundi is a charter member of this East African Community that was founded in 2000 at the time of the Arusha Peace Agreement which ended some forty years of civil war.
Accordingly, Burundi has much to gain by learning English and becoming a full-fledged participant in trade talks, cultural exchanges, public health efforts and more. As important, because of its rise through colonization, civil war, disruptions and poverty into a state of stable and sustainable peacefulness, Burundi has much to teach others, especially as it masters the basics of peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding.
NEED: Health care is an issue in most countries of the world but especially in poorer nations that lack the resources, the medical staff and an infrastructure of hospitals and clinics. In Burundi near the city of Ngozi is a village where private donors have helped to build a health clinic but there is no funding to support staff or supplies and so it lies empty. At a time in human history when the world staggers under the weight and threat of the Coronavirus pandemic, these images and analyses are difficult but important to grasp. The question remains: What will be the "tipping point" for the world to respond?
As one of the poorest nations in the world, Burundi has relied on benefactors and foreign assistance to survive. In January of 2018, the Health and Human Rights Journal (20(1), 199-211) published a report that ended with this analysis:
"Though Rwanda has made rapid gains due to strong leadership and evidence-based health policies, its government has come under criticism from the international community for its intolerance of opposition parties and limits to freedom of speech.83 Despite these critiques, Rwanda has made remarkable progress in health and development following a period of acute instability, while Burundi's progress has been less successful. Renewed violence in Burundi following political conflict over presidential term limits could lead to difficulties in sustaining health gains. In response to the outbreaks of violence in Burundi, Rwanda has accepted inflows of Burundian refugees, who have decided that Rwanda offers them better health and economic opportunities.
The model for this is Paulo Freire's national literacy campaigns that had such profound success in Brazil, Cuba and Nicaragua when the curriculum was focused on materials that spoke directly to improving the lives of those wanting to learn to read and write. Cuba, in particular, has built a model national health care system and often sends representatives abroad to assist other nations. These highly relevant materials proved deeply motivating and defied the logic of needing to start with the simplest of words.
In Burundi, our focus on the understanding of the peace process-i.e., peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding-will serve to strengthen the nation with new ideas and skills for improved communication and cooperation, negotiation and mediation, critical and creative thinking, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, we call on the local Rotary Clubs and the University of Ngozi to take the lead in establishing and promoting this model of peace studies through learning English. In truth the costs will be modest at best-copies of two books of concise ideas or "tips" along with training: 147 Tips for Teaching Peace and Reconciliation and Learning Life's Lessons: Inspirational Tips for Creating Peace in Troubled Times.
The University of Ngozi has a very special, albeit tenuous, position in the world. It may be the only university with peace and reconciliation as the very first, foundational commitments in its mission followed soon thereafter with a commitment to sustainable development. The only comparable university we know of is the University of Peace in Costa Rica. Established by a vote of the United Nations it has subsidies that the University of Ngozi (UNG) does not enjoy and that is significant.
The story of this commitment to peace is all that more remarkable because it arose out of the burning horrors of a devastating civil war raging in the impoverished post-colonial legacy that existed in Burundi. This commitment arose before the Arusha Peace Accords were signed, a commitment by the people of the Ngozi region to "wage war against war." These peacebuilders went door to door to ask for household contributions. They also got some initial funding from the Catholic Church although the founders were clear about being "ecumenical" and serving all faiths. UNG also got the use of a small campus-like space from the city of Ngozi. With a vibrant medical education program and a deep commitment to peacebuilding and sustainability, UNG is primed to lead this effort in Burundi and the region to address health threats, in particular.
A plan for sustainable peace studies and improved public health
1. Medical and health services professionals and students at UNG will be included in the early stages of training as advisors and trainers.
2. Groups representing different segments of society-students and teachers, church members, business and community leaders-will be identified and invited to UNG for this training.
3. Once at UNG they will be guided through the basic concepts of sustainable peace studies with help of trained facilitators.
4. These groups will then return to their own home communities to lead others through the same training.
5. Already existing publications in English about peace, reconciliation and sustainability will be employed as study guides.
6. A pilot certificate program in Negotiation, Mediation and Cooperation for Citizens is currently under development in Fort Collins, Colorado and will be introduced into the University of Ngozi as part of the Phase 3 Global Grant.
7. Materials developed in Phase 3 will be placed on the UNG website for others to utilize.
1. $USD$10,000 will need to be raised at the club level, beginning with the Fort Collins Rotary Clubs.
a. The Fort Collins Rotary Club $USD3,000?
b. The Fort Collins Rotary Club Breakfast ?
c. The Fort Collins After Work Club ?
d. Denver Rotary Club ?
e. Matching Grants.org ?
f. Other ?
2. Once raised we appeal to the Rotary District for a matching USD$10,000.
3. Once those monies are raised, we apply to Rotary International for an additional $USD15,000
Total potential Global Grant budget from Rotary International: $USD35,000
ACTIVITIES AND BUDGET
1. Months 1-3 Planning (@$USD7,000)
2. Months 4-6 1st round of training at UNG: Teachers (@$USD4,000)
3. Months 7-9 2nd round of training at UNG: Church leaders (@$USD4,000)
4. Months 10-12 3rd of training at UNG: Community leaders (@$USD4,000)
5. Months 13-15 Returning trainers are updated (@$USD4,000)
6. Months 16-18 Reports are collected and finalized (@$USD4,000)
7. Months 19-21 Materials are prepared for the UNG website (@$USD4,000)
8. Months 22-24 Project evaluations and reports are finalized (@$USD4,000)
Monthly budget breakdown
a. Administration @ 10%
b. Materials, books and supplies @ 40%
c. Space rental @10%
d. Transportation costs @ 10%
e. Web development @20 %
f. Evaluation @ 10%
Total potential Global Grant budget from Rotary International: $USD35,000
1. Each of the eight activities listed above will have separate evaluations including both formative (intended to offer feedback for ongoing improvement while the activity is proceeding) and summative (final and concluding data).
2. A final evaluation will also be prepared.
In addition to the project's overall focus on "sustainable peacebuilding," attention will be given to what will be enduring for local citizens and organizations to continue.
1. Certificates of Completion will be offered for those who successfully complete the training requirements in activities #2-8 as described above.
2. In addition, the Ngozi Rotary Club will retain control of the Certificate of Negotiation, Mediation and Cooperation which will be utilized to recognize those who elect to undertake this additional training.