Climate change and misuse of natural resources could jeopardise peace around the world, we must work for peace and planet. Here are three local organisations doing just that.
Since 1970, Earth Day has called upon people to take action for the planet. More recently, concerns have grown around the relationship between the environment, conflict and war.
This Earth Day we showcase three local peacebuilding organisations whose work encompasses environmental issues in bringing about peace, and show the importance of peace and planet.
Association Burkinabe d’Action Communautaire (ABAC) – Burkina Faso
Winner of our 2016 Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders award for the Environmental Peacebuilding category, ABAC is a community organisation that encourages peace between different members of communities. Their work takes place mainly in Gourma province, Burkina Faso, but stretches into parts of neighbouring Benin, Togo and Niger.
According to ABAC, 80 per cent of the population are directly dependent on natural resources for their livelihood, meaning that good environmental management and respect are essential. Conflict often flares up between agriculturalists and herders over the way in which land is divided and used, exacerbated by a lack of compliance to central advice and legislation.
ABAC work to alleviate this conflict between community members by teaching them about each other’s ways of life and their needs from the land. They provide information booklets in local languages about land management and cooperation, as well as facilitating theatre groups, forums and radio broadcasts to share information and encourage cooperation.
Visit their website at http://www.abac-bf.org/
Association Ngauobourandi (ASNGA) – Chad
The population of Moundou region and the surrounding areas in Chad suffer from appropriation and monopolisation of the land by the authorities.
Problems relating to the environment and communities to not end there, with conflict between agriculturalists and herders, as well as other authorities, water shortages in some areas, and a lack of unemployment opportunities for young people due to corruption.
Additional challenges are faced by these groups due to the development of oil infrastructure in Chad. As a result, violence breaks out.
ASNGA’s aim is to create a constructive space for those facing these challenges, providing information bulletins, local and national radio broadcasts and online information to educate these groups on the issues.
This gives them the opportunity to learn about others in the community, and how to live harmoniously, reducing the risk of conflict. They have also engaged in drilling projects to help reduce water shortages, and empower women in various communities to lead these projects. They engage in research on land-based issues in order to lobby local authorities.
Visit their website at http://www.peaceresources.net/
Green Future for Sustainable Solutions – Jordan
A significant part of reducing the risk of conflict is reinforcing social cohesion and resilience. Jordanian social venture Green Future for Sustainable Solutions do just this, through delivering sustainable waste management solutions.
The innovation of the organisation is twofold, as they focus on raising awareness and demonstrating the effectiveness of sustainable waste management, and they do this through empowering young people who might otherwise be marginalised.
Giving young people training, opportunities in responsibilities for encouraging greater and better recycling in Amman means they are less likely to turn to crime or low level conflict. With its two-pronged approach, the organisation are alleviating conflict and encouraging respect for the natural world.
With instability in many nations around Jordan, and increasing numbers of refugees in the country from Syria, the need for strengthening social cohesion is becoming greater. With organisations like Green Future for Sustainable Solutions, both peace and the environment can be the first priority.
Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/Green-Future-136453403078687/
In Zimbabwe, we work with a local organisation, Envision Zimbabwe, whose work focuses on reducing political and gender-based violence, and building community cohesion. Recently, they ran Conflict Transformation Training for Traditional Leaders in Hurungwe, bringing together 70 people. Read more »