For both students and teachers, Peace Clubs and peer mediation are new concepts that have been well received. At the schools involved in these activities, a real effort has been made to foster school and community healing. Sometimes healing at a personal level takes place as well. There is a clear recognition that the ultimate goal is successful peacebuilding on a national scale. The value of these school-based mediation schemes is now widely recognized. Schools assume the responsibility for promoting active nonviolence and providing security among students, particularly during and after games and other recreational events.
One school official, the principal of Murialdo Secondary School, says of the program at his school that the authorities sense that they are beginning to make progress. The burden of dealing with so many student conflicts and disputes is slowly easing. In addition, the authorities are committed to actions to ensure the establishment of a Peace Club with the aim of fostering an educational environment conducive to learning without the fear of sporadic outbreaks of violence. Another school official, the principal of the only girls' school in this program, also reported favorably on the initiative. "This active nonviolence and peer mediation work," she said, "is a valuable service to both the school and to the community. The students and teachers have my full support in making the operations of the Peace Clubs successful."
The deputy director of the Ministry of Education in Port Loko has remarked that the mere fact that children and young people are involved in peacemaking ventures of this nature is impressive. "This is going to bring and promote an awareness of peaceful coexistence as an essential part of school and community life. It is true that schools in Port Loko have had a long struggle with conflicts. This program provides a framework for students to practice the art of learning to live at peace with each other."
To date, only limited internal evaluation of the CLS program has been carried out, but CLS hopes to begin a more detailed evaluation of the active nonviolence and peer mediation program in the near future, to run in parallel with a psychosocial needs assessment that it also plans to carry out. It is certainly encouraging that students themselves clearly express their gratitude for the significant role Peace Clubs have played in ensuring peaceful interactions between schools, especially during games and sports competitions. In those situations, clearly visible peer mediators wearing identifiable T-shirts have almost certainly played a constructive role in insuring that these events conclude without violence.