Daughters are more likely to care for their elderly parents and siblings. Numerous studies have found that, because of their warm emotional support and frequent communication, sisters develop really harmonious relationships with their siblings. -Dr. Junsook Moon, 2017 Global Peace Convention

As women often play the role of mediator, peace builder and ‘communications center’ in the family and extended family, women leaders can play a significant role in substantial peacebuilding efforts. Recognizing this, Global Peace Women (GPW), the women’s division of Global Peace Foundation (GPF), works with women leaders around the world.

GPW works to realize the vision of “One Family under God” through ongoing mentorship programs, strengthening intergenerational relationships that model the extended family.

Girls at St. Thaddeus

Girls at St. Thaddeus fill out reflection during monthly discussion gatherings with Global Peace Women Kenya

One such ongoing program began in 2016, where GPW partnered with Peace Ambassadors Kenya to facilitate the training of students from St. Thaddeus Secondary School in Nairobi. Together, they have conducted workshops and discussions to emphasize the often overlooked significance of positive female role models in the family and society.

The program has changed the way students view the role of a sister, daughter, mother, and wife in the family. Following her participation in the mentorship meeting, Elizabeth, a student at St. Thaddeus, acknowledged her mother’s “very special role” in the family saying, “I have learned to respect my mom… Without her, I don’t think life would be as it is today.”

Over the course of several months, many other students would share on the transformation of their own relationship with their mothers. “I remember sometime back before this program, I used to talk back to my mom and I was very rude as well. I am glad this program has changed me to a better person. I have learned to respect people and relate well with others,” reported Teresiah Nyambura.

Older mentors serve as role models and guides for younger mentees, fostering a sense of family not only between relatives, but also between members of the community.

Women from Peace Ambassadors Kenya act as facilitators for deep group discussion with the all-girls secondary students at St. Thaddeus, asking questions like, “What is Beauty, Self-Esteem and Confidence?” The intimate setting provides a safe environment to cover topics on self-image, personal hygiene and building healthy relationships that understand the complementary differences between genders.

Girls discussing self-confidence and leadership at St. Thaddeus

Girls discuss self-confidence and leadership during GPW mentorship program at St. Thaddeus

“Before this program, I did not have the courage to speak publicly,” said Mitchel Eboyi. “My friends would describe me as a shy girl. But now, I have improved and can address my fellow students during assembly.”

More important than their role as group discussion leaders, the university students and volunteers from GPW and Peace Ambassadors Kenya are positive female role models that St. Thaddeus students look up to as sisters, mentors and friends.

When both men and women recognize the unique contributions of each member of the family, it naturally fosters attitudes of love, care and mutual respect between the genders. This, in turn, creates a healthy, supportive and stable family environment, within which individuals can develop a strong sense of self, confidence and close, meaningful relationships. Because relationships in the family become a template for all other social interactions, strong, vibrant and supportive familial relationships enable individuals to develop positive relationships in the community, society, nation and eventually the world.

For all these reasons, GPW works to build a world of One Family Under God, one family at a time. Because “Peace Begins in the Home”, GPW works to equip families with the tools and resources that can foster strong families and at the same time, connect them to a global network of families sharing in the work of building peace in every home.

The original post appears on Global Peace Foundation. Global Peace Foundation is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, nonprofit organization, which promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peacebuilding, guided by the vision of One Family under God.  GPF engages and organizes a global network of public and private-sector partners who develop community, national, and regional peace building models as the foundation for ethical and cohesive societies. Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon is founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation.