September 9, 2020 – Last August, the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) signed a partnership agreement with the Division for Peace of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to review and enhance the curriculum we use to train our Youth Peacemakers to become leaders and trainers. Building on the wide expertise and experience of UNITAR in providing innovative learning solutions to individuals, organizations, and institutions to support global and local action for lasting peace and sustainable development, this collaboration will increase the capacity of our Peacemakers to disseminate knowledge and skills in vulnerable and conflict-affected communities, notably in South Sudan, South Africa, and Uganda.

Developing capacity for young leaders to train other youths and local stakeholders from their communities is at the heart of our mandate, based on the understanding that young women and men can be key vectors of positive transformation in vulnerable and remote areas. To this effect, a key aspect of our work is to prepare our trainees to train others, which is instrumental in empowering them as local leaders and to ensure the long-term dissemination and appropriation of these skills. For years, our in-house specialists have been developing and implementing curricula designed to foster inclusive and participative learning, chiefly in the area of Conflict Resolution, affording us an extensive experience that we wished to channel and enhance to meet the growing demand for our approach, notably in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals that call for increased contributions of grassroots civil society organizations to contribute in the achievement of global initiatives.

This is an ambition that UNITAR is uniquely tailored to address as a specialized training agency of the United Nations with a mandate to develop individual and institutional capacities for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through outcome-based learning and training initiatives.

Within the framework of UNITAR, the Division for Peace supports the (re-) establishment of peaceful, just, and inclusive societies (SDG 16) by enabling individuals and organizations to contribute meaningfully to sustainable peace. With almost 60 years of experience in capacity building, UNITAR provides customized, creative, and results-based learning solutions, carefully crafted for countries and communities emerging from conflict and facing specific development needs. At the core of the UNITAR’s approach is a specific methodology that allows for the creation of powerful and inspiring spaces, products, and services for high-quality learning and collaboration, as well as promotes participation, dialogue, local ownership, and multiplication of knowledge for sustainable impact and behavioral change. In the spirit of the groundbreaking United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security, youth empowerment, in particular, forms one of the key pillars of UNITAR’s programming.

At the current juncture, WPDI and UNITAR teams and experts have started working together and sharing views to ensure that our curriculum in Conflict Resolution is fully customized to meet the needs and expectations of the youths we support across our countries of intervention. This promises to be a rich process since the redesigned curriculum will be applied and tested even as we train the latest cohort of youth leaders that we enrolled in the Karamoja Sub-Region of Uganda. This will ensure that the re-design process is continuously nurtured by feedback from both our trainers and trainees.

In our constant search for excellence in action and innovation, we have found in UNITAR a like-minded partner whose assets will undoubtedly help us to better prepare our Youth Peacemakers to help their communities on their path to peace, resilience, and sustainability.

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