MA in Human Security and Peacebuilding alumna Jane Lawson recently wrote about breaking the cycle of violence with peace programs. Her piece was published by Insight on Conflict.
From her piece:
Peace programmes play an essential and positive role in conflict torn regions, working at the lowest level of society to create an economically viable and secure society, however these programmes are consistently underfunded and underutilised. With sustainability quickly becoming the buzzword for many funders, is it time to readdress the imbalance in funding for these programmes and give them a chance to work?
I can still feel the heat of the Ghanaian sun on my face as I said goodbye to the Liberian refugees I had been working with in the Buduburam refugee settlement. The tears that fell were not entirely full of sadness, but hope and resolve. I would pursue the knowledge needed to help bring peace to individuals and communities who have suffered violent conflict. I would learn how to rehabilitate those who had lost their sense of security and structure from violence. In Buduburam, I had seen the importance of dialogue in the peacebuilding process; how to bring elders, religious and tribal leaders together after years of division. I saw how a small peace programme could provide invaluable information to, and support for, national refugee agencies, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and UN bodies. However, I also realised I had just scratched the surface of peacebuilding. How far do these peace programmes reach? If these programmes were supported on a large scale, what would be the impact? Would people continue to use these skills after they repatriated or were resettled? After five years of study and research, I am able to answer some of my questions. We must keep hope that the international development community learns the value of supporting peace programmes in order to help individuals, communities and nations break the cycles of violence.
Read the full blog here.