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Contributing to the development of a responsible political elite through the peaceful management of conflicts in universities

Since the 1990s, violence in the university environment has been a major concern for the Ivorian State, with recurrent protests and risks of violent student mobilization by political leaders during elections. Faced with these challenges, a joint initiative of UNFPA, UNDP and Interpeace (in partnership with Indigo Côte d'Ivoire) was launched in 2021 to contribute to the prevention and better management of conflicts in university campus. Funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UNPBF), this action is piloted in Abidjan (Félix Houphouët-Boigny and Nangui Abrogoua Universities) and Bouaké (Alassane Ouattara University) to enhance collaboration, the culture of dialogue and positive leadership among students and governance.

Interpeace and Indigo Côte d'Ivoire have facilitated a Participatory Action Research (PAR) process with 1366 students, teachers, members of the governance and administrative and technical staff (PAT) to generate a shared understanding of the dynamics that feed into violence and conflict. Consultations and dialogue sessions also highlighted peace and resilience factors that to build on for concerted collective action to prevent and mitigate conflict.

The conclusions and recommendations of this participatory process were presented in October 2021 and served as a basis for the development of action plans by university stakeholders. These plans include the development of peace initiatives and the creation of inclusive frameworks for exchange, dialogue and conflict management between students, teachers and university leaders. This process has generated a great deal of hope and enthusiasm to capitalize on to support the joint implementation of action plans and enable more peaceful learning environments in Ivorian universities.