Theme: Civil society and peacebuilding

PCi work in Syria

Peaceful Change initiative have worked with civil society in Syria, working in both Opposition and Government-controlled areas of the country. Our work has included:

  • facilitating dialogue between Syrian Arab, Kurdish and Assyrian community leaders on coexistence in Hassakah Province
  • convening and building the capacity of a network of community leaders to prevent, manage and resolve local conflicts and maintain/expand civilian space. 470 human security and community safety initiatives were  implemented, including through small grants
  • capacity building for civil society actors, focusing on transformational leadership for peace-building; cross-divide dialogue between youth
  • convening conflict-sensitive assistance capacity building and reflection process for international donor governments, international aid agencies and Syrian NGOs

We have worked with partners to introduce innovative technology-based solutions to support their work in conflict-affected areas. This has included the development and management of a Community Peacebuilding Training Portal with written and audio-visual material designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of a network of 60 track-three peacebuilders based in Syria and in refugee communities in Turkey and Jordan.

Leadership and governance video resources in support of peaceful change in Syria can be found in Arabic with English subtitles here

Video One: Leadership and Transformation

Video Two: Transformational Leadership

Video Three: Peace Capital

Video Four: Good Governance 1

Video Five: Good Governance 2

A peacebuilding agenda for Libya

Libyan society is undergoing significant change as a result of the revolution/conflict in 2011, bringing substantial opportunities for a more inclusive political system and more accountable security services. At the same time, the revolution/conflict has weakened relationships between some communities in Libya, as well as exposing longer-term inter-communal conflicts. As such, successful transition depends on a comprehensive peacebuilding approach that helps communities to share perspectives, overcome grievances and map out a common future. PCI and AFAQ Libya have developed a policy brief that outlines an agenda for such an approach in Libya.

Download the policy brief in English

Download the policy brief in Arabic

Supporting community peace resources in Syria

PCi is providing support to community peace resources – those individuals and organisations involved in local initiatives to prevent, manage and resolve conflict. The first task of this work was to map such peace resources; this was done in March 2014. PCi captured learning from this research and outlined an agenda for supporting the development and strengthening of community-level resources for peace in Syria.

Download the report in English

Download the report in Arabic

Libya: ‘Peacemakers Network – Libya’ hosts ‘Peacemakers Awards’ in Benghazi

PCi’s partner, the Libyan Peacebuilders Network, organised and hosted the ‘Peacemakers Awards’ in Benghazi on 8 February 2019. The event was planned to bring attention to the work being done by Libyans throughout the country to manage conflict in their communities and promote peace for Libya. The event recognised the work of a number of groups and individuals including the elders from the Tebu and Zawiya tribes in Kufra, elders of the western Mountain tribes, the Social Council of the Werfalla tribe and the elders of Cyrenaica. A special award was presented to Aisha Aizadma from Harawa for her role in addressing the conflict between the Al-Gedaddfa and Awlad Sulaiman tribes in Sebha.

Ukraine: A peacebuilding agenda to bridge the divide

This policy briefing, reflects on the present situation in the east of Ukraine as experienced by the populations on both sides of the line of contact in the east – in the NGCA of LNR and DNR, and with areas under government control. The paper seeks to contextualise these differing experiences and offers a set of recommendations, with the aim of proposing a peacebuilding agenda for local and international organisations.

Download the policy brief in English here

Armenia: Improving youth participation in Armenia by learning from Scotland’s experience

Peaceful Change initiative accompanied leaders of youth organisations, government representatives and members of the Armenian National Assembly on a visit to Scotland from 18-22 November 2019. The delegation met with Scottish youth leaders, government officials, business leaders and academics, gaining insight into how they might strengthen the ability of young people to participate in decision making at different levels on their return to Armenia. Highlights included meetings with Members of the Scottish Parliament (Edinburgh), the Scottish Youth Parliament (Dundee) and youth working alongside police officers at the ‘Community Safety Hub’ in Dundee.

Artur Ghazaryan from the Youth Cooperation Centre of Dilijan, and PCi’s Armenian project partner, said: “This has been a great experience … young people [in Scotland] are involved in different channels, such as the Youth Parliament, the local council and other informal initiatives and are educated to be civic-minded so they can contribute to political and economic affairs and other areas of life. This is a great example and when we return to Armenia we can seek to try and adopt and improve youth representation in different sectors of life as well.”

Libya: PCi’s snapshot on COVID-19 response

PCi conducted a Rapid Assessment in 14 communities to gain insight into the COVID-19 response, implemented through the Social Peace Partnerships, with three individuals from each Partnership interviewed over the phone (March 2020) in the context of the government working-from-home order.

The findings include the most common source of information on COVID-19 across the 14 communities is social media (Facebook), with half of the communities indicating they use social media (Facebook) for information as opposed to official sources.

Municipalities are demonstrating varying degrees of engagement in a COVID-19 response, with responsive municipalities establishing an emergency crisis committee, collaborating with relevant agencies (for example, health), and mobilising local awareness campaigns. However, some municipalities appear to be largely absent from any COVID-19 prevention, management and/or response planning.

Local civil society organisations (CSOs) are implementing awareness activities in some municipalities. However, a lack of resources will make it hard for CSOs to scale up their response. PCi’s Social Peace Partnerships are engaged in a response in six municipalities.

Understanding divisive narratives in Serbia and Kosovo

Peaceful Change initiative is pleased to present research undertaken by Ipsos in order to understand how divisive narratives are generated and disseminated in mainstream media in Serbia and Kosovo. The research is available here: Understanding divisive narratives qualitative research – online focus groups

The findings and recommendations of this research Understanding divisive narratives – media analysis will be used to guide a number of Media Consultation Dialogues (MCD), which will engage media professionals from a variety of backgrounds in order to discuss ways and means of ensuring that divisive narratives become less prominent in mainstream discourse.

This research has been commissioned in the framework of a two and a half year project ‘Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development’; funded from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).

PCi supports civic responses in Kosovo to support the mitigation of COVID-19

In Kosovo, the measures taken by governing authorities to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 has mirrored other governments across Europe. However, ensuring such measures don’t negatively impact Kosovo’s non-majority communities has further tested the government’s capacity.

Peaceful Change initiative’s project ‘Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development’ (supported by the UK Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund) has worked through their partner NGO Aktiv, working in Kosovo and Serbia, to establish a Rapid Civic Response Group.

The Group is made up of  22 civil and community activists from across Kosovo representing the Serbian, Albanian, and Gorani communities. It is creating vital channels for the real-time flow of information, thereby facilitating the identification of problems which may otherwise have remained ignored. They include:

  • Poor information dissemination in non-majority languages
  • Poor and/or lack of translation in non-majority languages
  • An increase in security incidents in Serbian communities
  • Challenges accessing economic-aid
  • Inadequate and/or lack of institutional response

Aktiv and the Rapid Civic Response Group have taken steps to lobby the Kosovo government and other relevant actors for urgent steps to address these problems. Their approach includes:

  1. Request to improve communication with non-majority communities addressed to the Government of Kosovo
  2. Op-ed calling for better cooperation between Belgrade and Pristina
  3. Press release on translation challenges, highlighting non-compliance with the Law on the Use of Languages
  4. Open letter to the Ministry of Health and the Ombudsperson regarding the problems faced in accessing institutions
  5. Publication on Covid-19 institutional challenges and proposed solutions
  6. Public statements requesting the broadcasting of RTV MIR and to address non-majority communities’ security concerns.
  7. Public statement on non-majority community challenges accessing the Pandemic Economic Aid package and on the lack of translation to non-majority community languages
  8. Infographics on ‘COVID19 Crisis – Active Citizens Response’and ‘Rapid Response Civic Group – Incidents
  9. A video-cast informing greater audiences on the findings of the RRCG through social media

PCi supports isolated communities in Georgia, Abkhazia to mitigate COVID-19 impact

COVID-19 is highlighting vulnerabilities among marginalised communities around the world.  In Georgia, Abkhazia remote communities, situated far away from urban centres have learned to cope with their isolation, even though they face additional challenges when situated adjacent to conflict-affected areas. The introduction of measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 have stretched livelihoods and coping mechanisms to breaking point. For example, travel restrictions have led to a shortage of essential goods and the lack of water supply has made it difficult to maintain good hand hygiene; in addition, the distance from decision making is challenging the effectiveness of public health mechanisms. Peaceful Change initiative and their partners have been supporting schools in isolated communities in this region to deal with these challenges, filling gaps in COVID-preparedness and supporting local groups to organise and meet the challenges of the pandemic.