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Education for Justice hosts Summer Workshops for University and Secondary School Students in Nairobi and Kwale

Kwale - The E4J initiative aims to equip youth with the knowledge and tools to cultivate a culture of lawfulness, enhance access to justice and build skills for community crime prevention. The following week, UNODC Youth held the inaugural Education for Justice (E4J) Summer Workshops programme, in support of the International Youth week in Kenya. This pilot project is a continuation of UNODC Youth’s work to assist in the integration of civic education and developed E4J materials to current curricula within secondary schools and universities in Kenya.

The workshops took place on 15 and 16 August 2019 in Nairobi with high school and university students from public and private institutions. The final summer workshop was held on the 19th of August in Kwale County bring together high school students from Mombasa and Kwale County. The workshops were opened by remarks from UNODC ROEA’s Youth Focal Point, Ms. Wambui Kahara, followed by an interactive session on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNODC’s mandate areas and the E4J initiative led by Mr. Gilberto Antonio Duarte Santos, E4J Programme Officer and Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer from UNODC’s Headquarters in Vienna, and the Associate Programme Officer, Youth Programme, Ms. Vanessa Kaniaru. The students then engaged in games and activities surrounding 21st century skills with a focus specifically on teamwork, critical and creative thinking, analytical reasoning, and problem solving. The session was led by Mr. John Wills Njoroge Co-founder and Executive partner lead for Global Impact.

After lunch, the students then broke into breakout sessions on Education for Justice, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and Good Values, Integrity and Anti-Corruption, with an additional session on the Prevention of Violent Extremism for university students. The UNODC Youth Team sensitized the students on these thematic areas, working with the students to identify key challenges within each community and school, crafting recommendations and interventions that will provide the areas of focus for the Justice & Integrity Club structure formed in each participating secondary school and university. UNODC Youth will continue to work to assist these students in the creation and strengthening of these clubs within each participating school.

The impact of these workshops is strongly reflected in the innovative solutions the youth created with the guidance of the facilitators. The university students identified student safety, gender-based violence, substance abuse, institutional corruption and extra-judicial killings as key challenges. They identified that some key objectives in their clubs will be to advance co-operation between students and university institutions to enhance student safety and security. Another objective will be to increase transparency within student funding to foster trust between students and their university’s disbursement of financial aid that adheres to institutional policy. Finally, they plan to improve dispute resolution channels for students with the added possibility of community dialogue forums with local police to improve student-police relations and reduce incidences of extra-judicial killings.

The secondary students also had vibrant sessions which saw enthusiastic participation and SDG awareness raising as many high school students were previously unaware of the SDGs. The students were also sensitized to other youth-led E4J programs in Mexico, Nigeria and Ethiopia. Within their clubs, the students in Nairobi have committed to act on bullying, mental health, substance abuse, corruption, and poverty related crime. This will also involve the establishment of peer support groups and use of the arts and sports for awareness raising. They highlighted the need for transparent student elections, so leadership positions are awarded fairly without excluding or marginalizing women The E4J workshops were a great success, as they provided a practical introduction to the E4J program and the role of youth in the 2030 Agenda, with a focus on SDG 16. Through the establishment of Justice Clubs, UNODC Youth will continue to take a participatory and interactive approach with the students to identify and analyse challenges within the students’ institutions and communities.