Lucy Herney is an Afro-Colombian teacher from Timbiqui on Cauca’s Pacific coast. With more than 40 years of experience in education, Prof. Lucy – as her students affectionately call her – holds a tremendous understanding of how schooling is traditionally employed in rural Colombia, as well as valuable insights into how best to use education as a tool for peace and positive social change.
Specifically, Lucy has been sharing her first-hand perspective that education – and educators – in rural Colombia are not valued or supported as they should be as central stakeholders of the 2016 Colombian Peace Accords. She further argues that since the signing of the Accords there have been no substantive changes for the better in rural Colombia – where poverty and other difficulties are quite evident – with the situation in her community remaining the same or arguably worse, due to the lack of support from all stakeholders, for rural education and other development commitments.
For Lucy, in order to utilize the constructive potential of formal education to promote positive community progress (and wider peace) greater levels of engagement and respect must be promoted throughout the schooling system. As it was when she was a young student and which remains true today, educational stakeholders must strive to listen and better understand the needs of each student, as well as empower them with the reality that that they have both duties and rights with society and their community, she says. By respecting the students and those who teach them, schooling can increasingly support the troubled peace process.