EIP in collaboration with Life and Peace Institute/LPI/ has been implementing Peaceful Universities Communities project, the former name Sustained Dialogue Project, in Ethiopian Universities since 2009. The project was first started in 2009 at Addis Ababa University and expanded to Haramaya and Jimma Universities in 2013 and 2014, respectively. With the support secured from USAID, the project was expanded to three more universities, namely Ambo and Bahir Dar Universities as well as the University of Gondar since 2017. Currently, the project embraced additional three universities:Debreberhan, Mettu and Hawassa universities under a new project called Peaceful University community (PUC) which lasted from May 1, 2022-December 31, 2022.
The main objective of the project is to enhance intergroup positive relationships by promoting a culture of trust and collaboration among diverse identity lines in University campuses through dialogue process. it also aims to develop an early warning system to prevent conflict incidents from being a full-fledged violence.
EIP conducted various trainings on conflict sensitive leadership training to academic and administrative staff in the selected 3 target universities in December 2022. EIP has also successfully implemented capacity building training on conflict early warning and rapid response system(CEWRR) to the university staff in the target universities.
Among the activities carried out is also the university community dialogue on peaceful university which was held in the target universities in 4 rounds. EIP also gave training to students of the universities on peer mediation skills throughout the target universities.
The main event organized in the target universities was the support of positive exchanges and (intra-campus cohesion) and discussion among university students in a town hall debates, which had an influential keynote speaker, and also a large number of students which are the main event of the debate. PUC project has terminated on December 31, 2022. PUC has achieved in making Ethiopian Universities more peaceful through the creation of capacities in the Universities that helps the prevalence of sustainable peace in the campuses. As Universities also exchange best practices and model each other, more universities are expected to benefits from the initiatives taken by EIP through the support of LPI. It also has achieved the creation of new buy-in for the establishment of Civilian Conflict Early warning mechanisms that proactively detect signals of violence and respond before it escalates into a full-blown crisis. It has mainstreamed conflict-sensitive leadership in the University campuses, enabling the leadership to identify conflict-causing issues when they exercise leadership and avert the onset of unnecessary destructive conflicts. EIP is also able to instill a culture of dialogue and debate through the exchange of positive experiences initiatives where it was possible to inspire and spread the culture of peaceful discourse for the University Youth. The last activity concluded by EIP was facilitating a peace agreement between the surrounding community and the University to work together on present and future peace to bring about peaceful universities. the surrounding community and the universities signed a peace agreement at the conclusion of the project.