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Young Peacemakers in Fiji

MEDIA RELEASE

Young Peacemakers in Fiji

The Peace Foundation's Cool School's Peer Mediation Programme is about to start a two year pilot in Fiji.

Yvonne Duncan, the programme's founder, has just returned to this country after ten days in Fiji, during which time she trained teachers from two Primary and two secondary schools in the Cool Schools Programme. She also trained some Fijian educators to become Cool Schools trainers.

The pilot, which is being funded by NZ Aid, will see the programme operating in a total of 12 Fijian schools with the primary aim of enabling Fijian students to learn how to handle conflicts in constructive and non-violent ways.

In New Zealand the programme. which has been introduced to nearly 80% of NZ schools, has achieved some outstanding successes in terms of reducing violence, including bullying and turning around negative, destructive school cultures.

It helps students to not only expand the range of options they have when confronted with a conflict but to come to regard peaceful conflict resolution as the obvious response in difficult situations. In many NZ schools it is an on-going and integral part of the life of the school.

"The Peace Foundation hopes that with this small beginning seeds have been sown that will help the next generation of Fijian young people to acquire and use much-needed and effective responses to conflict situation.

It has been our experience in this country that there is a ripple effect with parents wanting to have the same skills their children are using.

"We hope this will apply in Fiji as well," said Peace Foundation Director, Marion Hancock.

ENDS

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