Peace Direct will be ten years old in 2014. In that time we have grown into an award-winning organisation that funds programmes around the world. Here are some milestones:
2004 Peace Direct became a charity and launched to the public. A group from Lucknow toured the UK speaking about how they prevented mass atrocities when the Ayodha Mosque was torn down, by holding demonstrations for peace. We began funding peacebuilders in Iraq.
2005 What If? Fallujah considered how non-violent alternatives could have been used in the Iraq war. It aroused interest among senior military in the UK and USA, and formed the basis of the verité play Fallujah. We also began funding the Centre Résolutions Conflits in DR Congo, our longest-standing partner.
2006 The Collaborative for Peace in Sudan was formed when Peace Direct brought together peace activists from north, central and south Sudan. The Canadian Chargé d’Affairs commented: ‘You have achieved in three days what others would have taken a year to accomplish.’ We are still funding the Collaborative, now two separate organisations.
2007 In the wake of the London bombings, Young Muslims Speak brought together young Muslims from different ethnic backgrounds to learn from Muslim peacebuilders from Kenya and Palestine. The Truce 20/20 project was launched in east London, and our website Insight on Conflict started to show the world what peacebuilders were doing in different conflict areas.
2008 We launched a rapid response fund in Nepal. One of the partner organisations commented: ‘£100 from Peace Direct that I can use with my discretion, is worth £100,000 to carry out a donor’s project.’ Funding from Peace Direct also enabled Dekha Ibrahim Abdi to mobilise Concerned Citizens for Peace, which played a major peacebuilding role during the post-election violence in Kenya.
2009 Peace Direct won a core grant from the UK’s Department for International Development, which funded the expansion of our partners’ work in four countries. The Independent newspaper featured eight of our projects in its Christmas appeal, leading to a surprise donation of $100,000 from a US foundation.
2010 We began funding Aware Girls’ work to persuade young people in Pakistan’s Swat Valley to reject violent jihad. A Peace Exchange conference in Goma led to the creation of a network of organisations in DR Congo, working together to prevent violent conflict from escalating.
2011 We launched our US affiliate with a performance by award-winning actor Mark Rylance of The Peacebuilder, a dramatic monologue recounting the life story of our Congolese peacebuilder Henri Ladyi. Henri’s organisation was the subject of a Channel 4 TV documentary.
2012 Local First, an initiative which argues for development and peacebuilding to be locally led and make use of local capacity, was launched in Switzerland and in London. Some 1.9 million people heard John Le Carre make a radio appeal for our work on BBC Radio 4.
2013 The Department for International Development acknowledged our Congolese partner’s model of community-based disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration as the most effective basis for a major reintegration programme. The Norwegian Government funded Insight on Conflict to develop its work in the Sahel. We were invited to contribute a strand on ‘local ownership’ to Viking 14, a major peacekeeping simulation exercise.
2014 Keep in touch with developments in our next 10 years via our blog. And do tell us what you think.