Strengthening social cohesion through socio-emotional learning in the Maldives

On 31 January 2022, the UNESCO New Delhi Office, in partnership with the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) and the Section for Inclusion, Rights, and Dialogue at UNESCO Headquarters, held the second in a series of six Training of Trainers workshops on ‘Engaging Youth for Social Cohesion’ for youth leaders in the Maldives.

Focused on the Maldivian context, this Training of Trainers session brought together some 50 community leaders and educators, including representatives from government institutions, universities, and civil society organizations.

The first phase of the workshop focused on equipping the youth leaders to be future agents of change by teaching them how to facilitate various methodologies for supporting dialogue and social cohesion within communities, such as UNESCO’s Story Circles approach and a novel scenario-based peace education technique.

Discussion on the concepts of conflict and challenges to social cohesion followed, helping the community leaders to explore the nuanced risk factors, root causes, and vulnerabilities which can drive conflict, and what is needed to strengthen social cohesion and dialogue as effective preventative strategies.

Given the increase in global levels of social tension and divisive communication in current times, driven significantly by challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a strong need within the region to build the capacities of youth leaders to champion social cohesion and promote intercultural dialogue as tools for socio-emotional resilience which can help sustain cohesion and peace.

Following the Training of Trainers session, the youth leaders will be supported to utilize the approaches within their own communities and contexts. Benefitting from access to a platform for good practice sharing and a series of peer-support sessions, UNESCO will help the 50 youth leaders to engage over 1,000 community beneficiaries across the Maldives, strengthening socio-emotional resilience for cohesion and peace throughout the country.

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