Syria Programme

Context

The peaceful revolution that began in 2011 quickly turned violent and has descended into a full scale civil war. This chaos, in turn, has provided fertile ground for the proliferation of a range of Islamist extremist armed groups. Splits amongst opposition groups, the intransigence of the government, and competing regional interests have made it difficult to find an overall peaceful solution. 

Our work

Our Human Security work focuses on strengthening resilience to conflict in vulnerable communities and contributing towards stabilisation efforts. We achieve this by strengthening the skills of local and national leaders who are able to (re)build relationships across conflict divides, and by supporting local leaders and civil society activists in practical actions to reduce violence and improve the sense of safety of communities.

Our Civil Society work seeks to support civil society organisations to connect, share experiences, and be part of decision-making, as well as strengthening their ability to negotiate and advocate for solutions to conflict issues more effectively, both at the national and at the international level.

Community Safety

Our research shows that the definition of safety held by local communities goes beyond just physical security, encompassing factors such as their ability to meet basic needs, a strong social fabric, trust in local institutions, and feeling included in decision making processes.  We employ an inclusive methodology to help communities identify, prioritise and resolve their problems using existing resources whenever possible. Through this methodology, we aim to transform the way that conflict is managed the local-level.  

How ordinary citizens experience conflict

LARGE-SCALE VIOLENCE
DISPLACEMENT
INABILITY TO MEET BASIC NEEDS
LACK OF TRUST IN INSTITUTIONS
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
LACK OF ACCESS TO JUSTICE
DESTRUCTION OF SOCIAL FABRIC

What we do to respond to these challenges

At The Community Level

•    Save lives by establishing local peace agreements and stopping local conflict from escalating to larger scale violence, as well as securing the release of civilians, safe passage for civilians, and the safe delivery humanitarian aid.
•    Reduce violence levels by establishing conflict resolution committees that can resolve local disputes before they escalate into violence.
•    Support stability by supporting local institutions to deliver better services and to be more responsive to the needs of a range of local stakeholder groups.
•    Support moderate voices by creating more space for moderate activists and civil society within Syria.
•    Promote coexistence by rebuilding relationships between different groups within communities at the local level.

At The International Level

•    Ensure a focus on the experiences and aspirations of ordinary Syrians by sharing lessons learned from our work to help inform international peacebuilding and conflict resolution policy.

How it works in practice

Peace Resources Network Project

Transforming the ways in which communities manage conflict

Network numbers
366 civilians released from arbitrary detention by armed groups through more than 22 negotiations51,000 displaced civilians in camps have regular access to services and supplies due to the Network’s resolution of community/camp disputes75% of respondents surveyed in target communities attribute increased resilience to conflict to the Network’s activities 
Created by The Center for Civil Society and Democracy (CCSD) and PCi in 2014, the Peace Resources Network comprises 61 effective volunteer community leaders who work to find solutions for managing conflict, in order to achieve a safe and stable society, and to promote a culture of co-existence. The Network works under the values of peace, freedom, humanity, credibility, transparency, understanding others, justice and integrity, and contributes to building national peace through strengthening local peace in different areas of Syria. The Network currently works in 32 communities (28 in Syria; 3 in Turkey; 1 in Jordan).

Civil Society Platform Project

Strengthening the voice of Syrian civil society

The Syrian Civil Society Platform (SCP) aims to include the voice of Syrian civil society in the negotiation process by creating participatory, inclusive mechanisms at the local level in Syrian communities, and connecting those to the national level. The intent is to activate dialogue on issues that are crucial to a negotiated political solution, while building the capacity of grassroots groups to effectively engage in the negotiation process.  The SCP, launched in September 2014, is currently comprised by 191 Syrian organisations and 145 independents across 14 different regions of Syria and refugee communities.

Civil Society Platform’s numbers

14 Local Platforms | 191 Organisations | 145 Independents | 91 Women | 336 Connected representatives 

Resources

To download our Syria learning and research papers, please visit the Resources page.


Note regarding factually inaccurate reports appearing in Dutch and Swedish Media about PCi’s work in Syria (Aug 2015 – Mar 2016)

5 April 2016
Following reports in the Dutch Media suggesting that Peaceful Change initiative (PCi) or staff on its behalf travel into Syria and negotiate with ISIS/ISIL, PCi would like to make it clear that it does not and has not sent any staff into Syria to negotiate with ISIS/ISIL.
Further, statements made about ISIS/ISIL to the media and in other formats by Mr Jonkers, who worked for PCi as an independent contractor for a short time between 15 August 2015 and 6 January 2016, are his individual views and do not reflect PCi’s position, or its views on resolving the conflict in Syria.