‘It is the things that we do as parents/teachers/leaders, intentionally or unintentionally, that children see and witness that shape their characters. We need an all-inclusive approach of peace education to build a culture of peace.’ Edgar Buryahika
‘Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.’ UNESCO
Edgar Buryahika is the inspirational Founder and Director of Youth for Peace and Development Uganda (YOPEDU)
Peace Education Expert for Uganda under International Conference on Great Lakes Region – ICGLR
Associate Member, Education for Global Peace – EGP
Program Associate; Hiroshima Peacebuilders Center 2019, Japan
Former Senior Sub-Editor, The New Vision, Mbarara Bureau.
Language Tutor, University of Saint Joseph Mbarara- USJM
Tel: +256 782 362861, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Edgar’s love for peace building began when he was a secondary school student and hated bullying. He often confronted his classmates when they were engaged in violence related acts. Later when he was doing his journalism he noticed that it was mostly negative things like conflict that made the news and he was motivated to do something more positive to contribute to building a peaceful society. He decided to do a master’s degree in peace and conflict hoping to be better able to use his journalism to cause change. The turning point came when Edgar was in the Nakivale refugee settlement where he saw for himself the challenges refugees face as a result of other people’s negative actions. He resolved to start an organisation that would plant the seeds of peace among young people and help them become future leaders who would create a better and more peaceful society.
Edgar says: ‘A baby is born neutral but it is the environment or the community he or she joins that shapes him or her into a peaceful or violent person. Therefore, we are responsible for the violence we see and it is our responsibility to shape the world into a place where everyone desires to live free from violence for their own benefit and especially for the generations coming. It takes an individual’s commitment to cause positive change no matter how small it, after all even that small change is a good change as they say about water, every drop counts.’
Edgar has a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Inclusive Development from Mbarara University of Science and Technology and a BA degree from Makerere University. He is a Peace Education expert for Uganda under the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region and also a Programme Associate of the Hiroshima Peacebuilders Centre in Japan. He has had training in peace related work facilitated by Search for Common Ground, Minority Rights Group that fights for the rights of minority indigenous communities and he has currently applied for the Rotary Professional Certificate peace fellowship. He has 8 years of practicing journalism under the Vision Group.
Edgar lives in Mbarara City, South Western Uganda. His married with one wife and blessed with 4 children – 2 boys and 2 girls.
Edgar’s organisation YOPEDU (Youth for Peace and Development Uganda) is a youth focused, not for profit peace building organisation that aims to build a culture of peace among the young people of Uganda for sustainable peace and development. It does this through peace education and engaging in any other activity that builds peace.
YOPEDU projects are:
1. Peace Clubs – setting up and supporting peace clubs for young people in schools and communities.
2. Peace Ambassadors – leadership training and empowerment for school students (attitudes, knowledge and peace making skills). Many of them go on to become community leaders.
3. Rabbit rearing/farming project – to give young children a purposeful occupation and train them to be responsible. This addresses the challenge of young people’s laziness and idleness that leads to their poverty, which then renders them vulnerable to engage in acts of violence.
4. Peace advocacy – using the media to promote peace education and raise awareness.
5. Gender equality and equity awareness – breaking cultural barriers that are causing violent conflict and hindering community development.
6. Skilling – skills training for young people especially for those out of school to address poverty as a cause of violent conflicts.
7. Sports for Peace – organising and promoting sports as it is one tool that helps one adopt good values for peaceful living.
8. Peace Centre – YOPEDU has a longer term aim to set up a New Dawn Youth Peace Centre to provide holistic peace building services including youth rehabilitation, summer schools, skills development in plant and livestock farming and recreational facilities.
The rabbit rearing project
Boys give out sanitary pads on International Women’s Day
Training student peace leaders