In 2019 we continued to strengthen our partnerships and consolidate our work with local peacebuilders around the world.
We also had a number of firsts!
Funding Local Action
In 2019 we launched the Local Action Fund, our innovative new grant-making programme, providing swift and direct support to local organisations responding to early warning signs of violence.
The programme includes funds for locally led violence prevention and response interventions in Myanmar and Nigeria, as well as for youth peacebuilders in CAR, DR Congo, Mali, and Pakistan.
Working with a large number of local organisations, we are able to support more community and youth-led organisations to collaborate and lead their own peacebuilding initiatives.
In 2019 we started to work with partners who play the role of “hub organisations” – organisations which identify local groups and support them to collaborate - for the Local Action Fund in four countries. Through this initiative, we are creating a growing ecosystem of peacebuilders who share common goals and have the connections and support that they are often unable to access due to their size.
The first grant given through the Fund was to a community association in Kano, Nigeria. This support enabled boreholes to be drilled as part of a project to address the water shortage – something that often leads to inter-communal violence and can quickly escalate. In the area where the project was implemented, they have already seen a reduction in incidences of violent conflict. In addition, a possible exacerbator of violent conflict has been removed - in this case, access to drinking water – so the long-term effects of this work will be felt for many years to come. Secondly, the project was successful in engaging young men and women in community peacebuilding through the work – supporting young people to act as a catalyst for peace in their communities.
The flexibility of the Fund allows us to respond quickly where support is needed urgently, allowing communities to respond and react to incidents of rising violence at the first signs of tensions, preventing violence before it begins.
Providing rapid support where others don’t
We supported peacebuilders on the front lines of some of the most challenging circumstances. We are dedicated to providing the right kind of support at the right time.
We know that when crisis strikes, urgent and immediate support is invaluable to be able to respond to the immediate signs of violent conflict, and support communities in the immediate aftermath of crisis. In 2019, we strengthened our ability to support partners in crisis situations; dedicating specific funds for partners in emergency situations.
This enabled us to get funds to our partners quickly, when there was no time to lose.
Supporting Sri Lanka
On Easter Sunday, Sri Lanka was rocked by a series of bombings that killed more than 250 people at churches and hotels, the worst violence the country has seen in a decade. The attacks triggered a dangerous backlash against the country’s Muslims, and a feeling of fear and mistrust across the country.
For almost fifteen years, we have been supporting the Centre for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation (CPBR) – a remarkable local organisation at the forefront of interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding initiatives in Sri Lanka. Following the attacks, and with thanks to the quick support from a number of individuals, trusts and foundations, we were able to send CPBR funds immediately to support their efforts in responding to the attacks.
We raised over £30,000 in total. This allowed CPBR to go out and continue their work and to collaborate with other groups trying to protect Muslim communities from further violence, and to protect those at risk of attack.
Working on the ground, they are helping communities to heal from trauma, rebuilding the relationships damaged by violence and convening people from all different faiths to restore trust and build the foundations for long-term peace.
Crisis response in DRC
In 2019, we provided an emergency grant to our partner, the Fondation Chirezi (FOCHI) in Eastern DRC, to respond to outbreaks of violence. A spike in unrest in Uvira led to people fleeing their homes to escape violence, and increased pressure on local communities to provide for larger numbers of inhabitants.
Reacting quickly, FOCHI provided 100 food kits to vulnerable households, including essential supplies such as corn, oil, salt and flour to over 700 people at risk of running out of food. They also provided 50 kits including seeds and agricultural equipment, providing affected communities with the tools to make a living and grow their own food beyond the initial crisis. FOCHI also led an awareness raising campaign on peaceful coexistence between host and displaced communities. 1,033 people were involved, and interest in the sessions was high. Bringing both groups together to discuss how they can live together peacefully meant violence was avoided – and will continue to be - and trust and understanding can be forged.