Peace Direct is continuing its support of Coalition for Peace and Unity in Afghanistan (CPAU) by providing core funding for the Farza Peace Council. Farza is a district outside of Kabul and in 2005 was declared the most peaceful district in Afghanistan. Originally, the council was supported by the Centre for Peace and Afghan Unity (CPAU) and CPAU continues to be closely involved with the councils and Peace Direct.
Traditionally, the council has acted as a local resource for resolving disputes, from marital problems to issues of unpaid debts. Whilst these disputes may appear small in comparison to what is reported in the news from Afghanistan, the absence of such high levels of violence is, in part, due to the council not allowing smaller disputes to escalate to blood feuds. This stability is important to resist the encroachment of armed militias into areas nearer Kabul.
In order to provide the council with a sustainable income, previous Peace Direct donations have funded the core costs of the council whilst setting up a computer training centre, which in the future is hoped to provide a steady income.
The main activities for this year will be continuing to send the council £8,000 to support core costs and preparing local communities for the elections to be held in August. The council will be taking on additional duties of preparing people to engage in the elections peacefully, avoid violence and support fair representation. With the support of CPAU trainers, six training workshops will be conducted for the peace council and civil society actors, including madrassa students. The workshops will be in conflict resolution, basic advocacy training and advocacy for participation in good governance.
Currently, Peace Direct is supporting CPAU to conduct research for DfID to investigate why young men are joining armed groups and what kind of support they receive from their communities. The findings of this study, expected in the coming months, will provide CPAU, DfID and Peace Direct with a greater understanding of the situation in Afghanistan and shed more light on the role of the peace councils.
Head of International Programmes