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Building peacebuilders through integrated formal and non-formal learning approaches
Start date: 01 Sep 2016, End date: 31 Aug 2019 PROJECT  ONGOING 

BUILDPEACE will boost the skills and competencies of Europeans in the public, third and private sectors to build peace and connect communities. It will improve the overall provision of teaching, learning and training within the peacebuilding industry by bringing together providers from the formal education (FE) and non-formal education (NFE) sectors in a community of practice. These partners will investigate current deficits, weaknesses and missed opportunities in educational provision across the field, addressing these with innovative tools for learners, as well as tools and mechanisms for learning providers to facilitate cross-sectoral working.Peacebuilding is now a multi-billion Euro industry with a global infrastructure, reflecting the acute need to address conflict and insecurity and growing confidence that doing so is possible, particularly with new technologies. The increase in peacebuilding has spurred growth in education and training, as practitioners need applied skills and knowledge. However much of the current provision is offered piecemeal, disconnected from other relevant learning opportunities. Collaboration between learning providers is challenged by differences in pedagogical perspective, underpinning ethos and teaching methodology. There is no clear guidance for learners on the skills and competencies they should acquire and no easy way for them to combine courses strategically. There has also been little systemic reflection on the benefits and limitations of online and distance learning in peacebuilding, although learning providers use them a lot. The main objective of BUILDPEACE is to enable innovative new approaches to developing peacebuilders by: 1) creating a common framework of key competencies across the FE and NFE sectors; 2) helping learners find navigable and flexible pathways for accessing relevant learning opportunities; 3) blending FE and NFE learning approaches for more comprehensive provision, making use of technology. To do this we will bring together European partners with experience in improving the learning outcomes of peacebuilders. Our activities will help us better understand the current state education provision within the peacebuilding field and develop innovative ways to improve learning outcomes using new methodologies and technologies. This will inform the creation of a range of tools for learners and learning providers to use, including free online courses, a handbook, a toolkit and a matrix of the competencies that people need to acquire to work in the field. Tools for policymakers include a mapping report and a policy recommendations report. To test these ideas and tools participants and learners will take part in two BUILDPEACE Workshops. These will pilot and improve the BUILDPEACE approach. Participants will deliver educational content to learners using the methods, modes of delivery and tools that the project experiments with. The workshops will be action oriented, participatory and engaging. The results of the project will be an improvement in the educational provisional available to people working on peace and conflict issues. Learners will have access to comprehensive, rigorously tested resources such as online courses and advice on the competencies and skills they need to develop. Learning providers will have access to resources so that teachers and trainers can improve their own skills, especially by using new methods and making use of technology. The partners involved will have formed a lasting network that involves different forms of learning providers, and their current and future projects will benefit from the BUILDPEACE approach. And finally, policymakers will have information on the current challenges in peacebuilding education, an expanded evidence base of what works and how, and reflections on how to encourage forms of education that bring together formal and non-formal approaches to learning and make use of technology.
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