Fritz Affolter

After 10 years in Afghanistan, Angola, South Africa and Sudan, the Affolter family moved back to the United States in 2012. Fritz took a position as Programme Manager of the Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy (PBEA) Programme at UNICEF Headquarters in New York, where he is still working presently.


The PBEA programme is designed to strengthen resilience, social cohesion and human security in conflict-affected contexts, including countries at risk of, or experiencing and recovering from conflict. Towards this end, it will strengthen policies and practices in education for peacebuilding, by focusing on five key outcomes. Outcome 1 is to increase inclusion of education into peacebuilding and conflict reduction policies. Outcome 2 is to increase institutional capacities to supply conflict-sensitive education. Outcome 3 is to increase capacity of children, parents and teachers to cope with conflict and promote peace. Outcome 4 is to increase access to quality, relevant conflict-sensitive education. Outcome 5 is to contribute to the generation and use of evidence and knowledge in policies and programming related to education, conflict and peacebuilding. The programme is being implemented in 14 fragile and post-conflict countries in Southeastern and Western Africa, the Middle East, Central and South East Asia.


One of Fritz' recent publications was an article on “Displaced Sudanese Voices on Education, Dignity, and Humanitarian Aid”, in Refuge, 30(1) (2014). The article shows how education is viewed by Sudanese refugees and internally displaced persons as a key prerequisite for social status, prestige, socio-economic survival, and therefore human dignity. It illustrates that the humanitarian aid agenda fails to adequately address what their target population most demands: education.


In 2011, Fritz wrote to CIE about his diverse experiences since completing his doctoral degree:


After almost 4 years with UNDP Afghanistan (Community Mobilization Training, 2002-2006),18 months with UNDP Angola (Civic Education, 2007-2008), and 2 years with UNODC Pretoria (Victim Empowerment, 2008-2010), I am currently in Khartoum, Sudan with UNICEF.


I am coordinating the education cluster, with focus on North, South and West Darfur States, although South Kordofan and Blue Nile are actually much more cause of worry. Although oil revenues make Sudan economically an 'emerging economy', its education sector is chronically underfunded. By slipping in and out of war, it is tough to keep the right balance between 'emergency education' and 'education for development'.


Besides cluster work, I am also advising a YouthLEAD project in regards to 'peace education', a sensitive and complicated topic for a context where motivations to wage war are entrenched and culturally sanctioned.


I have just submitted a new paper on "Victim Empowerment for Peace and Development in South Africa," which should be published in the International Journal for Peace, Conflict and Development before the end of this year. It deals with my favourite subject - satisfaction of fundamental emotional needs as a means for intrapsychic and interpersonal peace-building, and a means to buffer the destructive impacts of violent crime in South Africa. [1/17]






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