VOW Peace Summit in Manitoba update
VOW Manitoba Peace Camp Report
By Dr. Anna Snyder
Not long after VOW Manitoba received the CAW funding for a peace camp, we made a decision to collaborate with Girl Guides. We are a small fledgling group based primarily at the University of Winnipeg; we wanted to participate in the national program but did not have the person power to organize a peace camp on our own. The partnership led to a project that has transformed our little chapter. With the grant, we decided to hire an undergraduate and a graduate student (Jazmin Papadopoulos and Janna Barkman respectively) to write a girl guides curriculum for rangers who are grades 9-12. Honorariums for the two students comprised half of the VOW Manitoba budget $2,000. The curriculum project developed into a curriculum with 8 modules, titled “Women, Peace, and Security: a Toolkit for Young Feminists”, a workbook, a facilitator’s manual, and a women’s history quiz in powerpoint form available on the website. During the development of the curriculum, Jazmin and Janna introduced parts of the curriculum to approximately 22 girl guides in Manitoba on three separate occasions to gain feedback on the curriculum. Another $85 was spent on pizza, travel and materials for these girl guide events. At one of these events, we became aware of the demand for our curriculum in French. One of our members made a connection with the local organization Femme Rouseau Action and for an honorarium of $1,000 the organization agreed to translate the approximately 90 page curriculum into French (available fall 2014). Through the VOW board member, Marilou McPhedran, professor at Global College/University of Winnipeg, we were able to get funding for Jazmin and Janna to present the new curriculum at the Committee on the Status of Women Meetings at the UN, New York in March 2014 on the VOW panel. Janna and Jazmin set up a facebook page and have received emails inquiring about the curriculum from around the world, specifically Nepal and Pakistan.
On May 2, 2014, VOW Manitoba launched the curriculum at the VOW Youth Peace Summit an all day event at Menno Simons College/University of Winnipeg attended by 29 people – 17 high school age students, 8 young adults, and 3 “elders” ages 40-66. The curriculum was very well received. We introduced parts of 5 curriculum modules throughout the day (the agenda is attached). The themes included women in the media, the environment, culture jamming, and collective action. Participants experienced forum theatre, an original environment game, and made quilt squares for a collective quilt that we presented to them at the end of the day. A young man finished off the day with a rap he wrote in honor of his mother. The level of discussion on issues of violence and peace were outstanding. The evaluations were excellent and 12 of the high school students signed up to stay in contact with Manitoba VOW. The VOW Youth Peace Summit cost approximately $950 for food, refreshments, materials, thank you gifts and honorariums for the facilitators. The Global College/University of Winnipeg donated $150 as an honorarium for the all-girl band that sang for us at lunch and ended up participating throughout the day (the group, Bahatizz, is comprised of young refugee women from the Congo who sing about violence against women and the need for peace).
On May 3, the next morning, we, Janna Barkman and Dr. Anna Snyder, presented the completed curriculum at the Provincial gathering of Girl Guide leaders. We trained 11 girl guides leaders in the curriculum, giving an overview of activities in a participatory manner. The evaluations were all very good. All of the leaders said they would use the curriculum, especially because the activities were easily accessible. The 3 -part photocopied curriculum for all of the training participants cost approximately $125. We will be posting the completed curriculum on the VOW website and the Girl Guides website now that it is complete.
For information on the Toolkit for Young Feminists please go to http://vowpeace.org/peace-maker-camp/