A huge thank you to everybody who has supported Peace Direct in 2013. For everybody who has donated, volunteered, fundraised or told a friend about Peace Direct, your support has made a genuine contribution to a more peaceful world.
By supporting us this year, you have directly impacted the lives of our local peacebuilders in some of the most fragile countries in the world.
Below are just some examples of the inspiring work that has been carried out in 2013…
Burundi – In September we held our annual Peace Exchange meeting in Burundi, where we brought together all of our peacebuilding partners from around the world to share knowledge and network. We also wanted our partners to help us with our overall vision for the next five years. These meetings are of vital importance for both us and our peacebuilders, to learn from each other and to help bring a successful and peaceful future.
DR Congo – Barazas (traditional courts) have been created in nine villages, providing successful resolution to conflicts through participatory processes of dialogue and reconciliation. The Barazas have had a positive impact on the community by reducing violence and increasing collaboration, trust and empowerment – within the communities and also between villagers, ex-rebel fighters, local leaders and authorities.
India – Our Kashmiri partner Yakjah, in partnership with Pandies Theatre, invited 16 stonepelters aged 13-19 to a three-day theatre workshop. Its aim was to allow them to express themselves publicly in a more peaceful way. Over the course of those three days, the young men tapped their creativity to devise and perform short theatre pieces. By the end of the workshop, all of the participants had pledged to never again take part in stonepelting.
Pakistan – Peacebuilder Gulalai Ismail, founder of Aware Girls, was recognised with three invitations to the USA. In July she received an award from the National Endowment for Democracy in the US Congress, and in August she attended the Obama Civil Society Summit in Washington, hosted by the President. At the end of October she addressed a peace conference on Capitol Hill, led by the distinguished Congresswoman and women’s rights campaigner Eddie Bernice Johnson. It is fantastic to see that Gulalai’s determination, courage and hard work have won such international recognition
Sri Lanka – Voices of Image is a project set up for young people by our partner, Centre for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation (CPBR). It uses the power of photography as a tool to capture the various cultures, ethnicities and voices throughout the country. This is bringing communities together through understanding.
UK/Burundi – Burundian peacebuilder Landry Ninteretse, who runs our partner program Action for Peace and Development (APD) in Burundi, visited our London project Truce. There he shared his experiences of conflict management and peace education with young people who are learning about conflict management. This is an example of how peacebuilders can learn from each other and share ideas and methods.
Also this year we were ranked best in Keystone’s global survey of aid agencies.
We held our annual Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders awards, with 244 applications from 54 countries.
We would also like to take the time to thank Scilla Elworthy, co-founder of Peace Direct, who has stepped down from the board of trustees after ten years.
Peace Direct and these amazing peacebuilders rely on your help. Not only financially, but for the moral support that comes with knowing that people half a world away are prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with them on the long road to peace.
Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year, from everybody at Peace Direct.