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The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) has been celebrated for the last 12 years. Since 2004, GNRC -Africa has been participating and exploring the ZIFF time to conduct Peace Camp for youths. The objective of these camps is to learn and share experiences on topics related to Peace and Ethics. Every year there is a focused ZIFF theme that GNRC adopts and, when necessary, modifies to suit its Mission and Vision. For 2009, the ZIFF theme was “Enduring Links, People, Media, and Environment”. Once adopted by GNRC, the theme became: “Lasting Peace between People, Communication, Environment and Ethics”. The ZIFF peace camp was held at Ecrotanal Hall in Zanzibar from 30th. June through 3rd. July, 2009. This affair involved 41 youth (20 girls and 21 boys) from peace clubs of Dar-Es-salaam, Arusha, Pemba, Unguja and Nairobi (Kenya) GNRC staff in addition to various partner organizations and the Ministry of Education and Training (Zanzibar).
Zameer, GNRC Program Manager, opened with a brief introduction of GNRC and its Peace and Ethics activities. He also asked the participants and guests to have a moment of silence in memory of the Late Prof. Haroub Othman who passed 3 days before. The late professor worked closely with GNRC and, as ambassador of peace, spent endless hours in promoting and coordinating efforts to achieve peace. After the introduction, Mr. Noorali welcomed the guest of Honor, Prof. Martin Mhando (ZIFF Director), to officially launch the peace camp workshop.
Prof. Mhando thanked the Ministry of Education (Zanzibar) for their commitment and cooperation in molding and working closely with children and organizations like GNRC, ZIFF, Children Panorama and others. Special thanks were extended to the Peace ambassadors (Children and Youths). Prof. Mhando let the audience know that ethics is “a Social system by which a certain community works by itself, runs and manages its daily life. The system has specific basic and good social guidelines.”
Prof. Mhando stated that in every society a child has his/her place and contributes to the harmony of the family if the latter is built on peace and ethics. He explained that every family, society, nation and the world at large will be proud to create a child who has a great role in future generations that have no discrimination and/or killings of albinos Est. He further explained that one of the reasons ZIFF and GNRC work closely with children is to inspire Peace and Ethics within them.
Prof. Mhando’s speech concluded by urging the children to make a special request to the parents to have a peaceful 2010 presidential election in Zanzibar and Tanzania in general. The professor stated that a peaceful election is possible if people can have the spirit to enduring one another.
1. To give an avenue for exposure to youths and children (Peace Ambassadors) who have previously never attended ZIFF peace camps and to allow them to meet, learn and interact with people from different parts of the world with different backgrounds in all aspects (e.g. religion, traditions and culture, economically and talents in fine and performing arts.)
2. To reflect and learn from the GNRC-year theme during ZIFF “Lasting Peace between People, Communication, Environment and Ethics”
3. To share experiences on the topic and look for ways forward for lasting peace.
4. To expose its peace club members to the different educational sessions that were held during ZIFF and to realize the lessons learned in their community/society and strive for change.
5. Raise awareness on its Peace building work through peace camp sessions, film animation and Conscious Music.
6. To practice and cement the idea of “living together is possible regardless of the different background” and ensure its existence among the children and youths.
1. GNRC collaborated with ZIFF offices, had meetings on the ZIFF events organization
2. GNRC organized a 3 days workshop and topics Presenters according to the year theme
3. GRNC prepared and distributed educational material (books and fliers) to raise awareness
4. Forty-one 41(20 Girls and 21 boys) Peace Ambassadors from Dar-Es-salaam, Arusha, Pemba, Unguja, Somalia and Kenya, GNRC staff, partner Organizations as well as the Ministry of education and Training- Zanzibar have all attended the camp.
5. Music Conscious group from GNRC and partner organization (Dogodogo Center) performed during ZIFF.
6. Observers from partner organization NCA were invited to oversee the workshop.
7. GNRC invited the Media to cover the workshop and to raise public awareness of peace related issues.
8. GNRC and NCA funded the Peace Camp workshop.
The 41 Children, youths and all those who attended were given a chance to learn from the presentations and theme related discussions. Some of the points learned were:
1. Good ethics is the foundation and vision to the lives of all people and the environment.
2. Bringing up children is the task of the whole society. Therefore, a child who lacks ethical values should not be punished but he should be guided to good values.
3. Human being and environment depend on each other. Therefore, keeping the environment safe is fundamental to all mankind.
4. Media have a great role in either bringing solutions or conflicts to a societies. Therefore, media should, at all time, consider ethics in all stages of its work.
5. Peace ambassadors met and interacted with internationally prominent figures like Mr. Danny Glover, UNICEF Good Will Ambassador, and got to hear encouraging messages on peace building and work.
6. The workshop youths came up with recommendation that the government and the society at large should work on (see annex “Statement and Recommendations”).
7. The government and the society got to learn, directly or through media, of GNRC’s contributions for peace building activities.
8. During the Peace March and the Closing ceremony, the guest of honor was the Hon. Khamis Jabir, the Deputy Minister of Ministry of Education and Training in Zanzibar, who was joined with the special guest Mr. Danny Glover.
9. The Learning to Live Together toolkit and Folk Stories were distributed to the Ministry of Education to the guests of honor, distinguished guests, media, and peace ambassadors and to 6 schools in Zanzibar on thePeace March Day.
10. The peace ambassadors made a presentation through role play, debate and poetry. Suhaila Salum Abdallah from Shamiani peace club, for instance, delivered an ethics poem while others expressed what they had learned via different midiums( See annex).
11. Exposure for future networking.
12. To encourage peace ambassadors to have a meaningful participation on peace activities, GNRC gave awards for the best 3 Peace clubs (viz. Dar, Pemba and Unguja), The Best Ambassador during ZIFF and the 3 best participants during ZIFF.
13. Got to learn from GNRC Nairobi programs as Mr. Said briefly shared with the participants the peace initiative activities in Nairobi and Somalia.
The ZIFF 2009 was successful despite minor, yet workable, challenges. All the shortcomings that were identified during ZIFF should be worked on and there is room for improvement. A representative/Observer from NCA and others commended GNRC for a job well done in continuing to mold youths and children to a culture of peace. The NCA representative was amazed by the abilities and participation of all the Peace ambassadors during the workshop. During the Peace March (last day) 6 schools, 600 children obtained permission from the Ministry of Education and joined the march from Ecrotanal Hall to the Old Fort where the Guest of Honor (Mr. Khamis Jabir, Dep. Minister of Education) and Special Guest (Danny Glover, UNICEF goodwill ambassador) received them and their message. The march was led by a Brass band, while Dogodogo Multimedia dance group was performing at Old Fort ground.