By partnering with communities to achieve sustainable peace, World Vision works to respond to the immediate needs in conflict zones and offer longer-term efforts of integrating peacebuilding and reconciliation activities into the development process.
The challengeAround the globe, war, violence, and ongoing civil strife continue to devastate the lives of millions of people. Entrenched poverty, inequalities, and natural disasters all contribute to creating a weakened environment for conflict situations to take root. Today, nearly 40 countries, or some 100 million people, are experiencing internal conflicts, ethnic violence, and guerrilla warfare. Since 1989, 97 out of 103 armed conflicts have been internal, and 90 percent of all war casualties have been civilians.
War and violence often impede development in countries where civil strife flourishes, in some instances, reversing social and economic progress. Increasingly, communities around the world are in need of support systems to defuse potential and existing conflicts and to help foster enabling conditions for peace to take place, including strengthening traditional reconciliation mechanisms.
In the Pader district of war-torn northern Uganda, a father and son watch a soccer game that is part of a "peace tournament," organized by World Vision.
World Vision's response
To respond to these challenges, World Vision is engaged in peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts in conflict-prone areas around the world.
Using a rights-based approach to development, World Vision works from the premise that every human being is a holder of rights, which governments are obliged to respect, promote, protect, and fulfill. Thus our approach works to prevent conflicts and maintain peace by supporting civil society through dialogue, mediation, advocacy, and building awareness and tolerance among the groups in conflict.
In post-conflict settings, peacebuilding and reconciliation activities are a critical part of World Vision’s relief response to maintain lasting peace in war-torn countries.
- Reconstructing and creating civil society structures—Community-based human rights and peace education initiatives strengthen civil society by enabling citizens to identify root causes of poverty and injustice and advocate their concerns to their local, regional, and national governments.
- Strengthening traditional conflict resolution mechanisms—By supporting traditional reconciliation councils, local institutions are strengthened to reconcile opposing groups and to build the capacity of community structures to mitigate and prevent future conflicts.
- Peace education activities with children—Peace education programs work with children as “agents of change” to lay the groundwork for a more tolerant and peaceful future.
- Local Capacities for Peace (LCP)/Do No Harm Framework—This framework analyzes and addresses the root causes of conflict and examines ways in which humanitarian assistance may exacerbate or mitigate conflict. Through the application of this framework, it aims to improve how NGOs deliver disaster relief and development assistance by attempting to limit any harm done by humanitarian interventions.
World Vision's expertise
- Extensive knowledge and training in the Local Capacities for Peace (LCP)/Do No Harm Framework—World Vision offers expertise and training in application of the Local Capacities for Peace framework, which assists nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to achieve the goal of doing no harm while providing relief and development assistance and support of local peace initiatives.
- Resource centers on peacebuilding—The Centers of Learning in conflict zones in Southeast Asia, established by World Vision, can help organizations to understand the context of conflict and how the LCP Framework can bolster development in conflict-ridden areas. The centers also seek to incorporate peacebuilding tools into the development process.
- Regional peacebuilding networks—Peacebuilding and advocacy networks, already operational in Asia, East Africa, Balkans, and Latin America, inform programming and policy staff with lessons learned, trainings, and issues of mutual interest from the field.
- Long-term sustainability—World Vision makes a long-term commitment to the areas it serves—typically 15 years in development projects. Our work in conflict resolution provides a unique opportunity to foster a lasting peace that is embraced by each community.
Making an impact
In war-torn Colombia, children are taking the lead in fostering peace and reconciliation in the South American nation. The Peacebuilders Movement, initiated by World Vision Colombia, was created out of the desire by Colombian children and youth to participate in building and sustaining a culture of peace in their country.
The movement, comprised of some 8,300 girls, boys, and youth between ages 6 and 18 years from various ethnic groups and regions, have come together for one common goal: “To be active agents in the construction of peace.”
Through peacebuilding activities, children learn about peace and human rights from other children through workshops on arts, ecology, moral values, and personal and social formation. Armed with new knowledge, each child goes back to their local communities and works with a group of at least five children to teach concepts of peace.
Through the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Peace Builders Movement, nearly 3,000 girls and boys in Colombia made a commitment to building peace in their communities. And the children have taken their advocacy to the halls of the U.S. Congress and high-level international conferences.