Transformative Education in Violent Contexts: Working with Muslim and Christian Youth in Kaduna, Nigeria


  • Colette Harris

    1. Senior Lecturer in conflict, governance and development in the School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, where she directs graduate courses in conflict and in theatre and development.
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This article discusses one approach to producing social change used in a transformative education project carried out in 2007/08 in Kaduna, Nigeria. Its participants were Muslim and Christian youth and the setting one in which, in the wake of recent inter-sectarian riots, the possibility of new outbreaks of community violence is ever present. The project aimed to open up spaces for reflection and citizen action at community level and increase participants' ability to analyse the local political situation, in order to reduce violence in the community. The success of transformative education depends on the ability of the facilitator to use pedagogy to support people to make fundamental changes in their frames of reference. In those instances where the methodology of the project was truly transformative and not merely participatory, it produced changes in thought processes – increased capacity for critical thinking.