Last night the winners of the Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders awards were announced at London’s Frontline Club, the home of international news journalism. Each will receive $10,000 in prize money to progress their life-saving peace work with local communities.
This year 251 organisations entered for an award, from 51 countries. The final three winners are:
• Combatants for Peace (from Israel-Palestine)
Combatants for Peace was founded by Israeli and Palestinian fighters who had renounced violence. It runs guided tours for Israelis to see Palestinian areas, encounters between Israeli and Palestinian youth, and peace workshops in each community. Storytelling and commemoration days are key to its awareness work. CFP also undertakes humanitarian aid projects in Palestinian villages such as laying water pipelines, planting gardens and playgrounds in villages, renovating schools and protecting workers’ rights.
• Genesis (from Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Genesis helps children and teenagers in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina to overcome ethnic segregation and the psychological legacy of war. It is the only organisation working long-term in Bosnia’s segregated schools to bring together children from different ethnic groups in projects and workshops that combat prejudice and promote tolerance. In primary schools it provides peace education classes, and puppet shows on the dangers of landmines and other unexploded ordinance. For teenagers it offers training in film-making to youths from all sides, creating a vehicle for collaboration and the exploration of identities. Genesis was set up in 1997 to help children still living in refugee camps. It was featured in Michal Palin’s TV series ‘New Europe’.
• Rural Women Peace Link (from Kenya)
Rural Women Peace Link is a grassroots network that stands up for women’s rights and works against gender based violence (GBV). It teaches on FGM in schools, provides trauma counselling for women, and trains police in handling GBV cases. RWPL also sets up local ‘women parliaments’, lobbies local government for women’s rights, and runs peacebuilding forums in Kenya’s most conflict-affected areas.
A special prize was also given for Technology and Peacebuilding. This offers the winners a place at the Build Peace 2016 conference in Zurich and a Fellowship at Build Peace. It was awarded to Paiman, a Pakistani organisation that prevents violent extremism in Pakistan. It won the tech prize for its use of radio and TV programmes to discuss extremism, and for its campaign using mobile phone texts to send peaceful messages drawn from the Quran and Hadiths.
The awards were judged by an international jury of experts: distinguished BBC correspondent Fergal Keane, former Scottish First Minister Lord Jack McConnell, local peacebuilders Landry Ninteretse from Burundi and Ashima Kaul from Kashmir, and Melanie Greenberg, President of the Alliance for Peacebuilding.
The awards are organised annually by Peace Direct. The key criteria for entering the awards is that organisations must be led by local people and directing their own peace programmes, not just fulfilling contracts for outside agencies. We are encouraging local leadership and self-help, a move away from aid dependency towards self-sufficiency.
Full details of all the shortlist and winners can be found here.