Sep 2018

Peace at the hard-edge of conflict

Tom Bradley
Pioneers of peace often come from communities experiencing violence. Living at the hard-edge of conflict, they feel its effects every day – and are often best placed to understand its causes.
Around the world, local communities are working together to better understand the conflicts that affect their lives, and work towards a solution.  They’re bringing divided people together to overcome their differences, encouraging armed fighters to lay down their weapons, and working with those in power to bring about lasting change. 
 
Community peace structures exist around the world, in countries that experience conflict. They take many different forms, but they all put local people at the heart of peace-making – using their experiences, skills and expertise to combat conflict. 
 

Supporting young people

 
1 in 4 young people live in places affected by armed conflict or organised violence – but they are often excluded from efforts to build peace and are vulnerable to being drawn into conflicts. Community peace structures can help young people heal the traumas of war and channel their efforts towards peace.
 
Mohammed was the leader of a violent armed gang in northeast Nigeria - a Youth Peace Platform helped him turn his life around. 
 
In the Central African Republic, Emma and Ngala visit the camps of armed groups to encourage other young people to turn away from violence. 

Youth Peace Platforms in northeast Nigeria. 

Talking to armed groups

Community peace structures are working at the edge of conflict - not only negotiating with armed groups to ensure the safety of their communities, but also encouraging fighters to lay down their weapons and find alternatives to violence.

One year ago today, the local peace committee in Bria, Central African Republic, arranged an historic truce between two armed factions that controlled much of the town. Read their story.
 

Returning home

Whether kidnapped or coerced, when women, men and children return to communities from armed groups, they often face suspicion, exclusion and even violence. Peace structures are vital for rebuilding trust between individuals, families and communities. 

Crossing divides

Religious, ethnic and social divisions often ignite violent conflict. Community peace structures help bring people from different backgrounds together, to overcome these divides and dispel misconceptions that fuel violence. 

After his 16 year-old daughter was killed, Pastor Ndebalet established a peace committee to bring Muslims and Christians together in his community.
 

Resolving disputes

From family feuds to clan conflict, community peace structures lead mediation and dialogue efforts, helping opposing groups solve disputes before they escalate into violent conflict. 
 
When Ebola hit Bossou, mistrust of authorities and little understanding of the disease, led to violent conflict within the community. District Platforms for Dialogue, worked to build bridges between communities and local authorities. Watch to find out more. 

 

Find out more about our work with community peace structures, and donate to support the work of local peacebuilders around the world.