Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: UNOCI sensitizes students of three secondary schools in Abidjan in the culture of peace

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The municipal high school in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Koumassi was the venue, on Wednesday 20 June 2007, of the tenth leg of the Schools Caravan of the United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI), which sensitises school children in the culture of peace.

The theme of the event, which attracted thousands of pupils from schools in two other Abidjan neighourhoods - the Municipal High School of Marcory and the Modern High School of Port-Bouet - was the "The Rights of Young People in the Peace Process".

In her speech to the gathering, Director of Public Information, Ms Margherita Amodéo, who led the UNOCI delegation, urged pupils to become resolutely involved on the road to peace and to be worthy agents of peace everywhere and at all times.

Stating that children's rights are violated in every country in conflict, the Head of Public Information said that this situation meant that youth and adults alike should take urgent action to ensure that Cote d'Ivoire finds its way to peace and reconciliation as soon as possible.

In this regard, she invited the pupils to rise to the challenge of taking concrete action so that peace returns definitively to the country.

Earlier, the headteacher of the Koumassi Municipal High School, Mrs Koua Asseme Adah, stressed the vocation of the school, which is a meeting place for all the different elements of society. "Isn't it the friendship that develops between men on the school benches that is the most sincere, lasting and frank?" she asked, pointing out that UNOCI initiated strong actions in this regard.

For his part, Koumassi town councillor Mr. Kouassi N'clo invited the pupils in his area to get on the road to peace and leave violence behind for the good of society. He also expressed the hope that educating children would result in peace.

Both he and headteacher Asseme Adah thanked UNOCI for taking its schools caravan to the area.

The students' representative, Kadio Kan Wilfried, reminded everyone that "peace cannot be made without school children". He promised on behalf of the three schools that he and his peers would ensure that nothing hinders the peace process.

The representatives of the different sections of UNOCI, such as Human Rights, Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR), HIV/ AIDS, Electoral Assistance, Child Protection, UNPOL and the Force, each introduced their units. They also took part in workshops in which hundreds of pupils participated and received additional information on UNOCI's mandate and role in Cote d'Ivoire.

The pupils displayed their artistic talents by performing games, sketches, poems and ballets, thus livening up the event, which marked the final stage of the Schools Caravan. Pupils from the Port Bouet Modern High School won the general knowledge competition against the Koumassi Municipal High School.

All the schools that have taken part in the Schools Caravan will meet for a grand finale at the Palais de la Culture in the neighbourhood of Treichville on 27 June 2007.

The Schools Caravan went to schools in the neighbourhoods of Plateau, Bingerville, Attécoube, Treichville, Anyama, Yopougon, Abobo, Cocody and Koumassi.