Rwanda is still in the midst of the reconciliation process following the 1994 genocide, and the country is especially focusing on young people as an important group. So when the Embassy of Sweden in Rwanda decided to launch an initiative for the Global Goals, it was natural to focus on Goal 16 – peace and justice.

To highlight the importance of Goal 16 and the power of young people, the Embassy organised a #FirstGeneration campaign on the theme of peace. The campaign included a photo competition on social media, video portraits of Rwandan peace educators and Youth Peace Ambassadors, and a workshop at which participating teachers discussed how to integrate the subject Peace and Values into the national curriculum.

Photos from the competition with the two winning contributions in the middle.

The theme for the photo competition was What does peace mean to you? The competition generated an inspiring level of engagement and resulted in several insightful photos visualising peace. The two winners, Aline and Romeo, both thought that the link between different generations was crucial to achieving Goal 16.

Aline with SDG16.

– Giving hope to survivors of the genocide is a key factor in reconciliation and sustainable peace in Rwanda – younger generations need to be involved, said Aline.

Romeo focused on the youngest people who will grow up in the society that we create.

– Young children’s happiness does not come from material wealth, but from growing up in a peaceful community where they feel safe and are able to play, he said.

Romeo with SDG16.

Together with partner organisation the Aegis Trust, the Embassy also held a workshop. The aim of the workshop was to discuss how the new crosscutting subject Peace and Values could be developed in the national curriculum. One of the participants was #FirstGeneration award-winning teacher Edmond Umuvandimwe. Edmond was chosen to represent Rwanda at the #FirstGeneration Forum in Stockholm based on his work in his school and his ideas on how to take the subject Peace and Values forward. Whenever possible, Edmond interweaves lessons about peace with how to interact with the people around you.

#FirsGeneration workshop about peace.

– You cannot teach peace just standing in a classroom, you have to lead by example and also talk with your students when they are not in the classroom. What can you do to play a positive part in your community? Peace needs to be promoted at home, in school, everywhere in everyday life.

The #FirstGeneration campaign in Rwanda might be over, but the work to achieve the Global Goals is very much continuing. As Edmond put it:

The Global Goals can only work if we all fight for them, and spread the word.

Watch the video portraits of Rwandan peace educators and Youth Peace Ambassadors here!