Our approach

About us

Our approach

We believe that local people have the power to find their own solutions to conflict. Our mission is to help them to make this happen.

Local people are the key to preventing, resolving and healing conflicts. They are the best way to break recurrent cycles of violence and make peace last. And increasingly they want to move away from depending on outside help, towards building their own futures.

We help this strategic shift, and we add value to their efforts on the ground. Firstly, we raise funds for their programmes and offer management support and advice. Secondly, we build recognition for their work, to put them in touch with those in the wider world who can assist with funds and influence. And thirdly, we promote the concept of locally led peacebuilding to the international community, so that others will adopt our approach too.

You can read more about our approach in detail below.

What’s special about local peacebuilders?

The peacebuilders we support are remarkable individuals doing life-saving work. They are disarming rebels, Show more

The peacebuilders we support are remarkable individuals doing life-saving work. They are disarming rebels, resettling refugees, uniting communities and reviving economies. They work at great personal risk, on modest budgets, to build a safer future for their own communities.

Local peacebuilders bring personal courage and dedication. They also bring many advantages over outside ‘experts’ from the international community:

  • They understand their own communities in real depth – including the causes of conflict, the key players and the possible solutions.
  • They are known and respected within their communities – giving them access, trust and moral authority among those involved in conflict.
  • They can monitor and reach areas and groups that outsiders cannot – allowing them to respond to conflicts early and effectively.
  • They are committed for the long term because this is where they live – so they continue when outsiders withdraw, and their work has sustained impact.
  • They run programmes with local facilities and at local rates – costing far less than expensive international operations.

Hide

Taking our lead from local peacebuilders

At Peace Direct we take our lead from the local peacebuilders that we support. They direct their own Show more

At Peace Direct we take our lead from the local peacebuilders that we support. They direct their own programmes, they decide the most effective ways to tackle conflicts, and they build their own solutions to their communities’ problems.

Our role is to support this self-help. We do so by raising funds for their work, by introducing them to people with influence (in governments, multilaterals such as the UN, and the media), by helping them to grow their organisations, and by enabling them to learn from each other’s experiences. We also bring them to the UK, so that young British people can learn from them, in the London-based Truce 20/20 youth project.

Our approach is practical, local and vocal:

  • Practical, with a bias towards action rather than research, looking for impact on the ground that we can measure and communicate.
  • Local, because we believe that local people are best able to understand their conflicts, and most motivated to end them.
  • Vocal, because we want to get the voices and stories of local peacebuilding into media reporting on conflict and political decision-making at all levels.

Hide

Finding our partners

We look for partners who can show that they are already reducing conflict in their area Show more

We look for partners who can show that they are already reducing conflict in their area, and who have a vision of how they could do much more with greater resources and backing. Often we find them among the organisations we track on our information website Insight on Conflict, and also through recommendations from organisations and individuals that we trust.

At this stage, these organisations are generally quite small, with one or two external funders at most. We carefully assess the motivation and sacrifices their staff have made to pursue their vision of peacebuilding. We screen out individuals who regard running an NGO as a business, and take on those who see it as a vocation. Hide

Funding our partners

We first meet potential partners when we invite them to a Peace Exchange Show more

We first meet potential partners when we invite them to a Peace Exchange – regular events where our peacebuilders meet to learn from each other, influence Peace Direct’s strategy and share their experiences with Peace Direct staff.

We may then offer them a small initial grant. This enables us to see how we can work together, and how effectively they report. If this goes well, we invite our supporters to help their work, giving monthly donations that provide essential core funding that is so hard to find elsewhere.

From there, we progress to working with them to raise larger project grants from foundations and governments. Our ultimate goal is to enable them to develop the status and contacts to raise these funds directly for themselves, without Peace Direct being involved at all. Hide

Promoting our partners

We want the international community to recognise that without the efforts of local peacebuilders, peace will never be secure Show more

We want the international community to recognise that without the efforts of local peacebuilders, peace will never be secure. This recognition is even more important than funding. At present, ‘outsider’ organisations – such as the UN, the World Bank and international NGOs – can get a seat at the table where decisions are made, but local organisations are left outside the door.

We aim to change this by:

  • Identifying and overcoming the obstacles that prevent international organisations from working on an equal footing with local organisations.
  • Proposing and testing new ways of working between ‘outsiders’ and ‘insiders’.
  • Introducing our partners to people in power.
  • Getting peacebuilders’ stories into the media as part of the narrative about how conflict can be resolved.

Hide

Seeing the change

It is vital to ensure that our partners’ work has real impact Show more

It is vital to ensure that our partners’ work has real impact. We monitor this continually, taking our measures of success from the factors that matter most to the civilians they are helping on the ground. You can read more about this here. Hide

Theory of Change

Peace Direct was born out of a passion to provide local peacebuilders, often risking their lives on the front line of conflict, with the resources they need to carry out their work. But Peace Direct’s own contribution will always be limited. In addition to what we can do on our own, we also need to shift the balance of power and resources in the wider world – towards those who have the deep local knowledge of a conflict and its causes, the moral authority to challenge people to change, and the long-term commitment to fight for peace.

Through our theory of change (below), we integrate our work in finding and funding partners, with our promotion of the concept of local peacebuilding. We demonstrate the viability and impact of local peacebuilding by evaluating our own projects, while showing, through our wider work in promotion, that these are representative of thousands of similar projects across the world.

Insight on Conflict’s blogs, monthly summaries of research and practice in peacebuilding, as well as the increasing traffic to this website, demonstrate a growing recognition of the limitations of externally driven interventions, vital as these may be in some situations, and thus a growing interest from many quarters in local peacebuilding.

The Local First initiative, which we launched with others in 2012, takes the concept of ‘locally led development’ beyond the peacebuilding sector, and suggests practical changes in behaviour that will translate into more effective action on the ground, drawing on our own experience in working with local partners.

theory-of-chnge-chart

Peace Direct newsletter

Keep up to date with our newsletter.