The Social Cohesion and Resilience (SC&R) project is part of UNICEF’s Peacebuilding Education and Advocacy (PBEA) program that focuses on peace building through education in 14 post-conflict or fragile states. Its goal is to strengthen social cohesion, human security and resilience in conflict-affected contexts. In Pakistan, UNICEF has partnered with the Society for the Advancement of Education (SAHE) to manage the SC&R project in Punjab, in four districts: Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Rajanpur. This project is in line with SAHE’s previous experience of working in the area of community participation, citizenship education, gender and equity.
The report of the second phase of the project, which ran from May 2015 to February 2016, documents the research, activities and recommendations that emerged as a result of the findings from the first phase. In the second phase, UNICEF and SAHE worked together to carry out a policy review, engage in advocacy and capacity building exercises, and developed contextually relevant supplementary materials on social cohesion. The policy review involved a technical evaluation of the education sector plans and policies of the School Education Department as well as a review of existing textbooks and curricula. As a result of these reviews, a set of recommendations and an implementation plan were developed to integrate social cohesion into the curriculum. The supplementary materials consist of an illustrated storybook series by the name of Humsafar and a set of pictorial flash cards that complement the information provided in the books. Messages of pluralism, tolerance and social cohesion are embedded in the narrative. Capacity building workshops and advocacy sessions were conducted for district level stakeholders including the local government and members of the civil society.