Local peacebuilding in 2020

Local Peacebuilding in 2020

Illustrations by Nash Weerasekera // The Jacky Winter Group

2020 was a year of unprecedented challenge and change. For Peace Direct and our partners, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to quickly adapt and respond to the changing environment. Like many organisations around the world, we have continued to deliver our work in new and innovative ways. As we move forwards in 2021 and beyond, we’ve been reflecting on our successes last year. Here, we are pleased to share some of our highlights:


Growing our collective action


We continued to develop flexible approaches to fund local peacebuilders this year. We delivered three grants programmes – the Digital Inclusion Fund, the Local Action Fund, and the Youth Action for Peace project. This work enables us to support collective action whilst demonstrating local impact for peace across different countries. This year we supported over 330 organisations through these programmes. 

  • Digital Inclusion Fund – To support local peacebuilders to adapt their work during the pandemic, we awarded micro-grants to 233 peacebuilders to purchase technology, software and to gain access to the internet. Peacebuilders found new and innovative ways to continue their work in the crisis. They took their work online, brought communities together on Zoom, and monitored violence with Whatsapp.
  • Local Action Fund – The Fund supports local peacebuilding initiatives by giving out swift, small grants. In 2020, we partnered with four community-led organisations in Myanmar to help build social cohesion during a time of crisis. We provided grants to 34 initiatives helping to build peace across the country. In Nigeria, we worked with a local organisation and provided funding to 28 community-led initiatives to end violence. We supported a community group bringing women into the peace process, and helped set up a truth and reconciliation panel for people to speak about the effects of violence.
  • Youth Action for Peace – We worked with hub organisations in Mali, Pakistan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project enabled them to lead peacebuilding work with wider local youth networks and projects. We gave funding to 69 youth-led initiatives around the world.


Early warning networks


We supported partners in Eastern Congo to strengthen the role of civil society in preventing atrocities. These partners launched an early warning, early response (EWER) network in the African Great Lakes region. Partners also expanded existing work in Beni, Eastern DRC. The network in DRC now has 121 citizen reporters. They report on incidents of violence, working in 23 local protection committees. 

In DRC, close to 500 people received training on human rights, advocacy and early warning systems in 2020. Whilst violence in Beni has increased, so too has our partner’s capacity to respond. The expansion of early warning networks resulted in over 2,100 verified alerts of violence last year.


Influencing policy and practise 


We made important progress in our influencing, advocacy and policy communications work this year. We kept up high levels of dialogue with key policy makers and we published research on the main priorities for local peacebuilding. 

  • Responding to COVID-19 – As part of Shift Power for Peace we consulted over 300 activists globally to explore the challenges they faced in undertaking peacebuilding during the pandemic. Following the publication of our COVID 19 & Peacebuilding report, we shared our findings with policymakers, partners and coalitions as well as the UN. Our recommendations also helped inform our successful Digital Inclusion Fund. 
  • Championing young people and peace – We played a leading role in demanding greater support for young people in peacebuilding. Through the #Yes4YPS campaign, we called for more support for young people to be actively included in peacebuilding activities globally.
  • Calling for more flexible funding for local peacebuilding – We completed the first phase of the Stopping As Success (SAS) project. This project is exploring and evidencing international non-profit organisations’ transition to be more locally-led and is funded by USAID. In November, we published a book compiling 19 case studies from the project.


Our other highlights from 2020 include:

  • Distributed £1.6 million directly to local peacebuilding partners
  • Helped to support 370 local organisations and projects in 50 countries
  • Launched our first Global Advisory Council to provide strategic advice & guidance to our leadership teams
  • Convened over 1,000 local peacebuilders online for a series of global consultations to improve practice and policy
  • Published over 50 articles from local peacebuilders and practitioners on Peace Insight, our analysis website
  • 9 reports published in 4 languages, highlighting the role that local peacebuilders play across the world and the risks that they faced during the pandemic.


These achievements would have been possible without all those who supported and funded our work. We are grateful first and foremost to our partners, who are working on the frontlines of conflict, at great personal risk, to stop violence and build peace. We also want to thank the hundreds of people who continue to support Peace Direct with gifts of all sizes. From our institutional donors, to committed individuals, the generosity of all our supporters is so important. It helps us to respond quickly and flexibly to the needs of local peacebuilders, and keep our work going. 


You can read more about the impact of our work here:


Batoul's story

In Syria we partnered with the Hurras network to provide urgent protection for Syrian children  Read more »

Lotsima's story

In DR Congo, we worked with two artisanal and small-scale mining cooperatives Read more »

Envision's story

In Zimbabwe, our partners have been working with the police to reduce violence and increase awareness about COVID-19 Read more »


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