Peace is when people are anticipating and managing conflicts without violence and are engaging in inclusive social change processes that improve the quality of their lives. They are doing so without compromising the possibility of continuing to do so in the future, or compromising the possibility of others to do so.
We can recognise peace by evidence that people are resolving conflicts and differences without violence and also by a web of five interlocking factors in society which we believe contribute to peace:
- Power. A peaceful culture of power is critical: one which encourages people to modify the power held by their leaders and to guide the decisions they make. The right of all people – men and women from all parts of society – to be heard is balanced by a responsibility to contribute to society. Individuals and groups living in peaceful societies feel that their contribution is valued, and they are respected.
- How people make a living. Peace also depends on a healthy and functioning economy in which no one is excluded from opportunities because of his or her gender, ethnicity or any other aspect of identity.
- Fair and effective laws. In a peaceful society, laws are designed and justice serves to protect human rights and reduce people’s need and ability to use or provoke violence. Everyone is equal before the law, and the systems for justice must be fair and trusted.
- Safety. For peace to be sustained, all people must be able to live without undue fear of physical or psychological threat. A society in which violence against others is commonly used to resolve personal or local conflicts is a society which legitimises and is more likely to resort to violence as a way to resolve political or other differences.
- Well-being. Peace is not an abstract idea, and it depends on people having fair and decent access to their physical and psycho-social requirements such as shelter, nutrition, education, health, clean water, social and leisure opportunities and a decent environment.
Alert’s work helps to strengthen these factors, and we do so in collaboration with local and international partners. We believe that peacebuilding requires a tailored approach rather than off-the-shelf techniques or a standard template. We work in a number of ways, using one or more of the following methods, depending on what is most appropriate for the situation: