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High-5 class in Guatemala

High-5 class in Guatemala

High-5 was adopted this year by Food for the Hungry International (FH) as a trial in Guatemala to teach values to children through the public schools. In February FH teachers met with parents from each of the communities involved, beginning in 100 schools. Approximately 1000 children were involved in the initial trial. It was very well received and is now being used in 300 schools!

Teaching lessons of love, hope, thankfulness, respect and truth, the High-5 character values training is based on biblical principles. It helps children and their parents understand and apply these five values in their daily lives. The lessons are easy to understand, age appropriate, and culturally contextualized.

Here are some quotes from FH’s initial reports:

“Teachers had “the experience while teaching each theme to see God touch the hearts of these kids. . . The results have been better than in the past because the children have committed themselves to change. . .”

“The first value has helped restore self-esteem in our kids and encouraged them to set goals to change their behavior despite their young age.”

“The kids have learned the value of love and that God wants them to apply this love with action.”

“This is a holistic method that engages teachers (from the school) and families to also participate, not just FH staff.”

These quotes give a sense of the impact that the High-5 curriculum is having in Guatemala. It continues to be a tool to build the biblical foundation necessary for long-term social and economic change within communities. Your generous gifts and continued prayers will bring hope and change like this to more communities around the world.

Donate here.

Gary Edmonds

2016Save the Date Postcard

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Allen A. Belton | Chairman, MLK Jr. Prayer Breakfast Committee
Presented by Breakthrough Partners and Community Leaders Roundtable of Seattle

Last week, we introduced Breakthrough’s Young Peacebuilders Initiative (YPI) and its director, Dr. Michael McGill. To read that post, click here. This week, we will continue to explore the work of YPI by looking at their growing initiative.

Burundi YPI Leaders

Burundi YPI Leaders

Most people try to address problems in the developing world by identifying a perceived solution and then implementing their structured curriculum in an attempt to fix it.

However, that is not how the Young Peacebuilders Initiative (YPI) works. McGill starts with vision. He encourages local leaders to imagine their future nation if their children were nurtured with peacebuilding passion and skill rather than raised with violence modeled as a default response to conflict. Dr. McGill then challenges them to join with others in making that more peaceful future a reality and reminds them that the vast majority of contemporary conflicts occur in nations with very young populations like theirs.

If local leaders are committed to pursuing the vision of building more durable peace through nurturing young peacebuilders, he helps them to identify the unique obstacles to achieving their vision and to create and implement their own contextualized YPI plan. Although it can be more time consuming, YPI and Breakthrough Partners strongly believe that this model of local ownership brings about more sustainable and effective change. This longer yet promising process brings about more durable peace in communities worldwide where cycles of violence often continue for generations.

McGill is currently implementing this strategy in Burundi and Rwanda and exploring expansion into Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda. He has also been contacted by groups in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Ecuador who are interested in replicating YPI’s model of equipping children as peacebuilders who will become their community’s greatest asset for a more peaceful future. Leaders from around the world are coming September 28th to a YPI training in Uganda to how to start a YPI process in a new country. Learn more here.

Take YPI in Burundi, for example. Through visits with multiple churches, government, business and NGO leaders, Michael identified a group of leaders who grabbed hold of the vision for engaging large numbers of young peacebuilders. These leaders committed to working together to identify and implement a plan to equip their children and youth as peacebuilders. Since working to gather the resources for an initial national YPI consultation in June 2013, they have proudly claimed ownership for the YPI process. Now, through 50 trainers, 2,000 teachers in Burundi will be taught how to implement a local, contextualized plan to train children as peacemakers. From a small group of leaders who grabbed hold of YPI’s vision for a peaceful future, 100,000 young people will be engaged and trained to make choices that build peaceful communities. And YPIB is just getting started!

As God continues to work in the hearts of African leaders to prompt them to say, “Now is the time!” YPI will continue to help these leaders identify and move towards the vision of that is important to them.

Learn more about YPI here, or listen to Michael discuss his vision here. Or, follow them on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates!

Nine months ago, Breakthrough’s partner Michael McGill, PhD moved his family to Kampala, Uganda. Their goal? Be near the center of the youngest and most conflicted region of the world in order to further the work of the Young Peacebuilders Initiative.

YPI Burundi Conference

2013 YPI Burundi Conference

Armed with the knowledge that impoverished countries with young populations are more prone to conflict, Dr. McGill and YPI work to prevent or stop cycles of violence. By viewing children and youth as an asset, YPI works to equip, nurture and give skills to young people so that they may become peacebuilding participants in their society. The YPI peacebuilding skills and passion offers children and youth an alternative to the decades of corruption, destruction and exploitation they have viewed in their countries.

Take “Billy” for example. Billy lives in Burundi in a community well known to military fascists active in his border region. Billy’s community has been a part of YPI training, so both at school and at church, he has received peacebuilding training. He has learned to be a civic participant in his community and has even served on a local child peacebuilding board. When Billy was 14, the rebel soldiers first knocked on his door to recruit him. However, Billy knew he had other options. He was set on a different path than the military groups and so were the other youth in his community. Through peacebuilding training, YPI strives to teach and provide alternatives to cycles of violence in countries worldwide. Young people play a vital role in a country’s future of violence or peace, and because children younger than 14 are still developing their moral framework, YPI focuses toward children under 14.

As a researcher who recently completed his PhD in intercultural studies with a child peacebuilding focus, McGill is driven by a desire to measure the impact of investing in child peacemakers instead of focusing on armed intervention as the primary answer to conflict. For this reason, each YPI partnership is paired with a local university so that peacebuilding indicators may be closely tracked to show the peacebuilding impact of YPI education and training on the community. By gaining evidence of the impact of mobilizing young peacebuilders, Breakthrough and YPI hope to catalyze replication of the YPI process worldwide.

Stay tuned as we explore what the YPI process looks like on the ground in Burundi!

Learn more about YPI here, or listen to Michael discuss his vision here. Then follow them on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates!