Building livelihoods - Peace Direct

Building livelihoods

When war breaks out, it tears lives and communities apart. Jobs and livelihoods are destroyed.

But having a job or running a small business is one of the most effective ways to rebuild lives and support communities to live in peace, for the long term.

Led by local people, we work in some of the most fractured communities to train people in skills so they can get jobs or build small businesses. With our local partners we rebuild lives and strengthen communities, one person at a time.


Building livelihoods

For peace to be sustainable, there must be long term support to local communities emerging from violence. Without livelihoods and the chance to earn an income and build a stable future, millions of people risk being drawn into violence, or suffer poverty as a result of instability.

It is one of the reasons why 50% of countries return to war within ten years of a peace agreement being signed.

Our work takes place in some of the most devastated communities in the world. Places few organisations or international services reach.

With our local partners, we directly access war torn areas and provide long term support so people affected by war can rebuild their lives.



Why this matters

Communities emerging from war are fragile. Returning fighters are feared, and often excluded from jobs and social activities. Child soldiers have missed out on an education, lacking the skills they need to thrive. Women, often heads of households, have the pressure of looking after families without the means to put food on the table or send children to school.

Too often outside interventions do not tackle the root causes of instability, and exclude those at most risk of marginalisation.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We are determined to support local people to rebuild shattered communities for as long as it takes.


Between July – September 2016, 447 ex-combatants and 231 civilians received training to help them develop agricultural cooperatives.

This supports them to reintegrate into their communities and makes them less likely to be drawn into violence in the future – a common problem among fighters returning home from the bush. 

604 men and women working on agricultural cooperatives growing produce like cocao increased their income – many now able to earn $2 a day.

Mahabari, 21 and Kakule Katina, 24, part of the Community Mobolization Group (CMG) work in a shared garden supported by the CRC in the village of Irango, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. July 2016. Photo by Greg Funnell.
Mahabari, 21 and Kakule Katina, 24, work in a shared garden supported by local organisation Centre Resolution Conflits in the village of Irango, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Greg Funnell.


What we do

DR Congo

In DR Congo we support local partner Centre Résolution Conflits (CRC) to support ex-combatants, child soldiers and women affected by war to gain skills and earn an income. Community agricultural cooperatives bring together community members and ex-combatants, helping break down fear and mistrust. CRC teach child soldiers to become electricians, mechanics or tailors, or help them return to school. Tailored business training and small loans help women affected by war to begin small businesses, or grow existing ones so they can earn an income and support their families.


In Somalia, a lack of jobs and economic security often drives young people into hands of militant groups like al-Shabaab. We support local organisation SADO to teach those most at risk to become tailors, electricians and mechanics, providing an alternative to a life in the militia. This creates a stable future for them and their families.


Research and evidence of the importance of locally led, community based approaches forms an important part of our advocacy. We share the learning from our partners with decision makers around the world.



Voices from the ground: DR Congo


My name is Kambale and I am 33 years old. After my military career, I lived a very difficult life, often discriminated against by members of my family and society.
For any case of theft in the village I was still pointed to be the one who stole the property despite my innocence. It was a hard time for me.

In 2015 the leader of local organisation CRC came to our village. I took the opportunity to present my situation and they admitted me into the programme. I started working with other members of the community, but they always treated me with much difference.

After following several training courses on new technology and investment, I went into my father’s field to cultivate my own beans. I successful used these techniques to produce four bags of beans and generate $390. From this, I initiated business activity selling my products to different shops.

Now my life is better. Members of the community buy my produce and cooperate with me. I am no longer subject to discrimination of any kind.

-Kambale, an ex-combatant working on an agricultural cooperative in DR Congo


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