There are courageous people living amidst conflict who work to find solutions every day. Conciliation Resources works directly with them, as well as with their governments, to understand and address the root causes of violent conflict and create opportunities for dialogue.
Peacebuilding is a long-term endeavour, but situations of violent conflict can change rapidly. Activities need to be flexible and adapt. However, many existing grants that fund peacebuilding work are inflexible and restricted.
That is why we have launched a new Peacebuilding Response Fund.
Responding to crisis
Within the last year, Conciliation Resources and partners have responded to numerous crises around the world.
At times we can’t be as responsive as we need to be due to inflexible funding or contractual requirements. The Peacebuilding Response Fund is designed to give our programme teams and partners the flexibility to adapt the way they build peace. And respond as new crises emerge or existing situations decline.
This could mean quickly establishing a new dialogue process within a community or across a divide; undertaking conflict analysis to better understand an emerging crisis; or evacuating staff, partners and participants from a war zone in order to keep them safe.
How the Fund will be used
This designated fund will be available for our staff and partners to call on urgently as violent conflict erupts or new risks emerge. It can be spent as required – whether on salaries, logistical support or new peacebuilding activities.
Thanks to a successful pilot, we have already used the Peacebuilding Response Fund to respond to two new crises:
Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan after the US withdrawal in August 2021, the country was thrown into turmoil. Those we work with in Afghanistan became at greater risk and the important community peacebuilding work we deliver was jeopardised. We used the Peacebuilding Response Fund to provide direct assistance to our partners – ensuring daily contact, advice and support, and helping those who wished to leave to evacuate. Despite exceptionally challenging circumstances, we were able to secure the safety of our partners, as well as continuing activities aimed at strengthening local capacities for peace.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and war between 1992 and 1993, conflict over the status of Abkhazia has persisted. Due to the proximity and connection to Russia, the war in Ukraine has severely complicated an already dire situation for the population of Abkhazia, which is becoming more isolated. This war so soon after the pandemic, is increasing pressure on our local partners. As some of the few organisations able to undertake humanitarian, development and peacebuilding work, they face an increasingly hostile environment – including online attacks and safety risks. The Peacebuilding Response Fund enabled our partners to coordinate activities, share information, plan dialogue and mitigate some of the risks they face, providing solidarity and support to continue their work during this difficult time.
We are closely monitoring other volatile conflict situations, where the Peacebuilding Response Fund might be needed:
The Central African Republic
Despite a 2019 peace accord in the Central African Republic (CAR), disputed elections in December 2020 sparked fresh violence and the forming of a new coalition of armed groups. Violent clashes continue to threaten lives and livelihoods. Conciliation Resources’ staff and partners in CAR work with communities to respond as the conflict changes and new violence breaks out. We have provided training to young people, stopping them joining armed groups and enabling them to mediate community conflicts. We are now organising dialogue sessions and securing peace agreements directly between communities and armed groups – connecting these to national level processes to ensure a more sustainable peace. In such an unstable location, it is vital to understand and adapt to the changing factors that lead to violence.
In northeast Nigeria, the security situation dramatically worsened over the course of 2021, with increasing intensity and geographic range of attacks from armed insurgents. In an area long-affected by Boko Haram, more recently Islamic militants have gained greater power and influence. We work with young people, women and other community members, including those most marginalised – establishing dialogue spaces and providing training on how to identify, analysis and mediate conflicts. This is helping them to anticipate attacks, prevent violence from breaking out and save lives. The volatile situation faced by many of the communities we work with, means at a moment’s notice we could be called on to respond to a new threat of violence and provide vital support.
Jammu and Kashmir
In Jammu and Kashmir, COVID-19 continued to add to security concerns and instability throughout 2021 and into 2022. Despite a fragile ceasefire across the Line of Control in Kashmir between the two nuclear states of India and Pakistan, tensions remain. In addition, the populations of Kashmir continue to face severe restrictions. We have been working with partners since the start of the pandemic to adapt to the changing circumstances – creating opportunities for Kashmiris to contribute to building peace and enabling dialogue to take place between the different sides. This has included creating a virtual platform for sharing information about the spread of COVID-19, which helped build connection and trust between the divided communities, and taking an important dialogue across the Line-of-Control online when face-to-face meetings were not possible. As tensions continue to fluctuate, we monitor the changing dynamics in the region and look at where our support is most needed.
How you can help
Peacebuilders are needed now more than ever, and they need to be able to respond fast to changing conflict situations.
Please donate to the Peacebuilding Response Fund. Your support will enable us to accompany peacebuilders when crisis hits, preventing violence and saving lives.
Find out more: email@example.com
Join us, and stand with peacebuilders who are risking their lives to create a peaceful future.
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With our courageous partners, and the vital support of our donors, we are helping people living with conflict to reduce and prevent violence in their communities. And we are guiding countries that have suffered decades of war, on to the path to peace.