12 days of peace

12 days of peace

Greg Funnell

We won’t forget 2020 in a hurry. The pandemic put an end to many things – but not the lifesaving work of peacebuilders, and all those working to make the world safer.

Staying home and social distancing have strained family and community ties. Yet, we’ve remembered the importance of solidarity and kindness – and we’ve seen plenty of it.

This festive season, we’re looking back on all we’re proud of this year. Here are 12 ways we’ve been reminded that no matter the circumstances: people can build peace with the right resources, courage and determination.

 

1. Our partners continuing their work amid the pandemic

Dylan Mathews, Chief Executive of Peace Direct recently told supporters this about our partners:

“We are their cheerleaders and supporters…but they are the experts”.

We’ve been humbled by their strength and dedication this year.

Around the world, the organisations we work with have adapted their activities to support communities at risk of violence and the spread of COVID-19. In DR Congo, Mali, and many more places they have provided communities with practical resources whilst raising awareness about hygiene and virus prevention.

 

2. Increasing digital inclusion for peace through 233 grants

People building peace in their communities expressed a need for technological tools to bring much of their work online this year. As part of the “Shift Power for Peace” collaboration, we responded by creating the Digital Inclusion Initiative.

Through the initiative, peacebuilders collaborated online to access learning tools for digital peacebuilding and to apply for grants to purchase technology.

We are proud to have awarded 233 grants, enabling local organisations to transform their work in this trying time.

 

3. Developing vital resources for local peacebuilding

This year, we published 11 reports, papers and summaries – sharing our research and analysis on various topics, from local peacebuilding in DR Congo, to racial justice in the U.S.

Our publications are informed by the perspectives of our partners as well as the Peace Direct team.  We aim to make publications on what peacebuilders are doing around the world, and how they can be supported, more accessible.

We also launched two new books this year – additional practical resources for peacebuilders, and those wishing to ensure local ownership in aid transitions.

Explore all our recent publications

 

4. Relaunching our analysis and mapping platform – Peace Insight

This year, we were proud to relaunch our platform for locally-led peace journalism – Peace Insight. Our new and improved website shares expert analysis on local conflicts around the world and maps those working to prevent war.

It now reaches over 50,000 readers every month in 127 counties – championing forgotten voices and shining a light on what works when building sustainable peace.

Visit the new site

 

5. Recognition where it’s deserved

We were delighted that Centre Résolution Conflits (CRC), our partners in eastern DR Congo, were awarded the UNESCO peace prize for 27 years of life-saving work.

CRC support communities to heal divides, build trust, and reintegrate former child soldiers from armed militias.

Read more about their work

 

6. Witnessing the power of local action

In the last few months alone, tensions have flared in Ethiopia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and we have seen threats of violence during the U.S elections. Citizens in Nigeria, Sudan, Belarus, Lebanon and Mali took to the streets, demanding an end to violence, brutality and hardship.

In all instances, we’re encouraged to see communities turning away from violence and laying the foundations for reconciliation and peace.

At the end of a challenging and uncertain year, we stand in solidarity with local efforts to end conflict, build bridges and lead change.

 

7. Building community where we least expect it

During periods of isolation, we’ve seen communal support grow in new places.

This year, we asked people to take on our 500 Sun Salutations (a yoga sequence) challenge to raise money for Peace Direct. Over 2,000 people joined the challenge, motivating each other and helping people of all abilities, ages and lifestyles to take part. Together they helped raise over £25,000.

At a time of physical distancing, it was a reminder that kindness and compassion can be truly transformational, and that a shared aim can build connections and strength.

Read more about the challenge

 

8. Discovering an amazing organisation in Sri Lanka

The annual Peace Direct Awards celebrate the work of some of the world’s most creative and inspiring local peacebuilders.

This year, DreamSpace Academy in Sri Lanka applied. Their journey has seen them grow from a nine-person youth group to an established organisation bringing people from diverse backgrounds together on a unifying issue: how to protect the environment.

We were delighted to announce the DreamSpace Academy as the winners of the 2020 Peace Direct Awards.

Meet them here

 

9. Building a movement for peace

Peace wouldn’t be possible without people who believe in it, which is why the continued support and commitment to our mission makes us grateful each day.

This year, over 12,000 people stood with us in our mission to make the world a more peaceful one, by signing our Peace Pledge.

Every donation (however big or small), every share on social media, every person who reads our emails or signs our peace pledge – helps amplify the voices of people working tirelessly every day in areas of conflict.

We thank each and every one of our supporters for their contributions in 2020.

Sign our peace pledge now

 

10. Teamwork

Millions of charities, businesses and self-employed people have seen huge changes in their working lives this year. And we’re no different.

The entire Peace Direct team have worked so hard this year despite the challenging and uncertain circumstances. So we want to say kudos to us, a big thank you to everyone for their dedication, commitment and spirit this year!

 

11. Establishing new partnerships

We are proud to have started working with 10 new peacebuilding partners.

Based in Myanmar, Pakistan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Syria and Sudan, their work promotes the best and most impactful examples of peacebuilding around the world.

We look forward to developing work together in 2021; preventing political violence in Zimbabwe by enhancing access to justice, building intercultural communication in Myanmar, and so much more.

 

12. Coming together online

COVID-19 has compelled millions of us to take our everyday activities online – hosting meetings virtually and attending conferences online.

This year, hundreds of people took part in 15 online consultations, sharing perspectives on peace and conflict even though the virus kept us apart.

Over 2,000 people registered to attend this year’s PeaceCon, where we heard from peacebuilders around the world on collective efforts to shape a more just, secure and peaceful future in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

There’s much more that we’re proud of, and so as we take stock of the year just gone and look ahead to 2021, we hope it brings with it a renewed opportunity for recovery, hope, reconciliation and peace.

 

 

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