As we watch the daily stream of news, it’s sometimes hard not to feel downhearted. The numbers of people killed and displaced by war are hitting historic highs.
So what can we do? For starters, we can stop just responding to conflict and instead start preventing it. As our patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, once said of poverty:
There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.
Too often, peacebuilding is treated like the poor cousin of humanitarian, military and diplomatic responses to conflict. It’s time leaders got behind a longer-term vision for change. Let’s start tackling the causes of conflict, so we can stop violence in the first place.
To do that, you have to be ruthlessly optimistic – and also fearlessly pragmatic. There are big steps, but also small steps, taken by millions of ordinary citizens organising in their communities.
From young Syrian refugees coming together to advocate for change, to communities in Mali sitting down with the security forces they once so distrusted, and villagers and authorities in Myanmar discussing how to manage their precious forests cooperatively.
All these efforts rely on dedicated partners. Globally, we are proud to partner with over 800 organisations, who are the heart and soul of peacebuilding. And we are determined to deepen our cooperation with others across the world.
It is only through such a united effort, generating a critical mass for peace, that we can hope to reshape our world in ways that so many millions are crying out for, and for which brave people are mobilising every day.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Those who love peace must learn to organise as effectively as those who love war”.
Our impact in 2017
- Improved relations within and between communities by reducing the stigma of women and girls who escaped from Boko Haram in Nigeria and by training healthcare staff in Lebanon to lessen tensions between Lebanese and Syrian patients.
- Strengthened relations between citizens and the state by supporting cooperation between communities and security forces in Mali and Tunisia, and by continuing to support the peace process in the Philippines.
- Improved gender relations by supporting dialogue on the role of women and girls in families and communities in Tajikistan and strengthening women’s economic and political empowerment in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Promoted economic development for peace by training and advising businesses in the Caucasus, Colombia, Mali and the Philippines on ‘conflict sensitivity’ and the positive role businesses can play in supporting peace.
We ran projects in 19 countries and territories, with training, research or one-off consultancies in a further 26. In total, we implemented 106 projects and consultancies.
Throughout the year, together with our partners, we engaged and supported 177,071 people through dialogue, training, advocacy, accompaniment, research and outreach activities. 51% (90,426) were women, 48% (85,830) were men and close to 1% (815) identified as ‘other’.
- Mali: Bridging deep divisions
- Myanmar: Managing fragile resources
- Syria: Raising young voices
- Ukraine: Healing hidden wounds
- Date:June 2018