The objective of the DEPA project in Kenya was to decolonise peace education. As part of the project, refugees enrolled in Kakuma/Kalobeyei and Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya in member universities of the African Higher Education in Emergencies Network (AHEEN). They engaged in a participatory action research project during which they first explored what peace means to refugees.
From numerous examples and definitions shared by their peers they extracted twelve key ideas that for them best conceptualised peace in a refugee context. Many of them had been exposed to “peace education” initiatives in their humanitarian context before and felt designing a special course would not generate much enthusiasm with youth.
As they were already enrolled in a social-emotional learning course that combined sports, applied arts and development engineering the refugee researchers proceeded to map the twelve key ideas onto the competencies the SEL (Social Emotional Learning) course was helping them develop. Their engagement in sports, the arts and engineering was allowing them to realise many of the key peace ideas. Without taking an explicit peace education course they experienced ways in which they themselves could develop key skills and competencies that would allow them to live together peacefully.
Key SEL-competencies and refugees’ perspectives on peace