Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders Awards 2018: meet the winners

Over the last few months, the Peace Direct team has reviewed over 300 Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders applications from local organisations around the world; the highest turnout to date. Hosted at #PeaceCon2018 in Washington DC, we announced the three winning organisations, and celebrated the nine finalists who all demonstrate the most exciting and innovative peacebuilding activites.

Each organisation offers a fascinating snapshot of local action to resolve conflict and build peace. They come from every corner of the world, and despite their diverse backgrounds, they all share a drive to tackle the root causes of conflict and build lasting peace within their communities.

Run for the past six years, the awards identify the best emerging locally-led peacebuilding organisations in conflict-affected countries, and recognise the inspiring individuals building a better tomorrow for war-torn communities across the world.

From over 300 applications submitted to Peace Direct, a shortlist of nine was presented to a panel of international experts to make the final decision.

The 2018 finalists are illustrative of the competition’s diversity of organisations and peacebuilding approaches. Hear more about their work in our video:

 

Meet the winners

This year, the winners conduct their peacebuilding activities in Colombia, Uganda and South Sudan.

 

Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN) – Colombia

Winner of the Women-led peacebuilding award

Photo by PCN

 

PCN seeks to empower Afro-Colombian women and girls to overcome marginalisation, the trauma of conflict and sexual and gender-based violence, and to support grassroots leaders.

They plan to send trained observers to remote regions of Colombia to collect testimony of Afro-Colombian experiences of conflict and help survivors find justice and healing.

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Finalists in the Women-led peacebuilding award

 

Kareemat – Turkey / Syria

Based in Turkey, Kareemat works to support Syrian refugees by helping women find opportunities for work, dissuading young men from taking up arms, and combating stereotypes towards Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Their peacebuilding activities include counselling, workshops on the dangers of war, discussion groups into the impact of violence against women, and film screenings to raise awareness of women leaders solving conflicts.

Activate Labs – USA

Activate Labs uses storytelling, media, and the arts to tackle injustice and promote peace in the USA. Their work has included marches, intersectional iftar dinners, and training for female leaders in the border towns with Mexico.

Led predominantly by women, their projects bring together social justice organisers and peacebuilders to discuss and develop work on issues relating to immigration and criminal justice systems.

 

Young-adult Empowerment Initiative (YEI) – Uganda / South Sudan

Winner of the Youth-led peacebuilding award

Photo by YEI

 

YEI is a youth-led organisation working with South Sudanese refugees and their host communities in Uganda. They work to empower young people through different programmes including training, sports and community dialogues.

They plan to address sexual and gender-based violence by providing training to young women so they can tackle violence in their communities and participate in peace processes, ultimately building their own activities.

 

Finalists of the Youth-led peacebuilding award

 

Save Youth Future Society (SYFS) – Palestine

Since 2001, SYFS has worked to address conflict and divisions within communities in the Gaza Strip. They focus on engaging young people through volunteering.

Their project proposes to develop their Youth Councils initiative; groups of volunteers spread across Gaza who play a key role in promoting civic engagement and the values of peace and non-violence in their communities.

Volunteers for Peace and Culture Foundation (VPCF) – Yemen

Since 2015, VPCF has been working to stop conflict in Yemen through community projects including advocacy campaigns, drawing competitions and a ‘Peace Library.’

Their project plan is to share the human experience behind the numbers associated with conflict in Yemen. They will collect stories that tell the reality of those impacted by war and share them widely to national and international audiences.

 

Movilizatorio – Colombia

Winner of the Non-violent action award

Photo Credit: Movilizatorio

 

Movilizatorio develops projects to strengthen participation in Colombia’s peace process. They work with social activists and civil society to improve their effectiveness, build new technologies, and launch advocacy campaigns.

Their project plan is to strengthen interaction and participation within their El Avispero network, an online community working to launch mass mobilisation campaigns for peace and social change.

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Finalists of the Non-violent action award

 

Nagarik Aawaz – Nepal

Nagarik Aawaz has worked for peace in Nepal since 2002, and seeks to overcome the legacy of a decade-long armed insurgency in the country by working with those affected by conflict to come to terms with their experiences.

Their proposed activities are to work with ex-combatants and those affected by conflict through storytelling sessions, and to provide micro-grants to young people to initiate their own non-violent movements.

Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) – India

SEWA’s activities are based in Gujarat, a region with a long history of inter-religious conflict between Hindu and Muslim communities. They work with women and their families who have experienced inter-religious violence.

Their project seeks to expand the Peacebuilding Centres Programme with three new centres, providing peace education to women in the area, trauma counselling to victims of inter-religious violence, and supporting children’s access to education.

 

Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders Photography Prize

Sudipto Das, India 

This year, we also held a photography competition, to find the photo that best illustrates local peacebuilding in action, and captures the essence of local people actively building peace in their communities, anywhere in the world.

We asked the entries to demonstrate people preventing conflict, resolving conflict as it happens, healing the effects of conflict, engaging in nonviolent action. 

The photos were reviewed by our judge, Greg Funnell, an editorial and advertising photographer based in London, working globally for a roster of international publications and clients. Greg is a full member of the Association of Photographers and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society..

The winning photo was taken by Sudipto Das in India, and was selected because:

“The image itself stands out because of the attitude and body language of the subjects – it gives a sense of a real team, standing together and tackling some serious issues. The setting provides yet more context, and hints at where this team is operating. I also like the fact that this a womens initiative and the compostion reflects that, bringing them to forefront of the photograph.”

 

Winning photo in the Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders Photo Prize. Taken by Sudipto Das in India

 

We offer our congratulations to all the finalists of the Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders Awards this year and for their work and commitment to building peace. We are delighted to reward innovative ways of promoting peace, led by local people striving to develop their own communities.

 

We are grateful to our generous sponors the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Away, the United States Institute of Peace, Humanity United, and the Pickwell Foundation for supporting this year’s awards and award ceremony.

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