Peace Direct has embarked on two major new areas of work to support peacebuilding in Pakistan.
In March and April, Peace Direct staff conducted trainings as part of our continued support to the British Council’s Active Citizens programme, where thirty thousand young people from turbulent regions of Pakistan will be trained in leadership, tolerance and conflict resolution. Our expertise in peace education is providing training in a country where the younger generation will shape an uncertain future.
Over two thirds of Pakistanis are aged under 30, and this is a key group to reach for building peace. The British Council’s Active Citizens programme in Pakistan is now drawing on our experience in London’s deprived East End, where our Truce 20/20 project teaches young people to manage conflict and tension in their communities, streets and homes.
Active Citizens are young, empowered leaders who bring positive change to their communities through constructive social action. The Active Citizens programme promotes community cohesion and improvement through civic engagement and volunteering in 26 countries.
Over 1,000 leaders are planned to be trained, and they will cascade the knowledge to their own groups and communities, often in hard-to-reach areas where extremism is rife.
In April 2012 Peace Direct and the British Council brought together organisations struggling against the multiple different conflicts affecting Pakistan for an intensive three days of learning and sharing of skills.
These peacebuilding organisations are working in many different ways and at different scales, but all were very conscious that all their efforts risk being completely swamped by the number of voices promoting violence. Accordingly, the groups explored new ways in which they could work together.
This Peace Exchange – the latest in our series of conferences uniting peacebuilders to share experience and techniques – attracted 25 local peacebuilding organisations, and was held at the instigation of the British High Commission, who found themselves unable to meet local organisations around the country because of security concerns outside the capital city.
Diplomats and donors were able to meet local groups at our event, gaining grassroots insights on key issues including small-arms control, counter-radicalisation, inter-faith dialogue and youth activism. As a result, we are actively supporting the groups to work together, build upon the Peace Exchange connections and increase their impact.