This year we complete our first decade as a charity. In that time, our peacebuilders, staff and supporters have together created a unique platform for peacebuilding led by local people. We look forward to taking that work and that vital message into the next ten years.
In 2013 our life-saving work to support local peacebuilders worldwide was recognised internationally. In Sweden, we were invited to join the Viking 14 international peacekeeping exercise in order to promote the role of local peacebuilders in post-conflict scenarios. In Congo, the British government acknowledged our example of community-based handling of ex-combatants as a model for a major international programme to disarm and resettle rebel fighters. In Norway the foreign ministry decided to fund our information website Insight On Conflict to showcase local peacebuilders in the troubled Sahel region of Africa. And in London the Observer newspaper devoted a whole page to profiling our peacebuilder Saba Ismail, who works to prevent young people from joining violent extremist organisations in Pakistan.
Extraordinarily, our Pakistani peacebuilders were recognised three times this year in the USA. Firstly with a Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy in the US Congress. Secondly with an invitation to deliver a keynote speech at a women’s rights confer- ence on Capitol Hill. And thirdly with attendance at a global summit hosted by Barack Obama on the role of civil society organisations in developing countries.
Meanwhile the independent Keystone Survey of international aid agencies ranked us top, for the second time.This ground-breaking piece of research assesses the performance of NGOs according to the views of those they fund – local organisations in the developing world.We were rated best agency out of 62 NGOs including Save The Children, Christian Aid and VSO. It was a strong endorsement of our approach, which is to listen to local people and support them to lead their own programmes.
To strengthen recognition for local organisations, this year we launched a global competition to find and showcase the next generation of local peacebuilders. The Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders award attracted 244 entries from 54 countries.The winners included a Ugandan project rescuing child soldiers from Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, and a Colombian community that has said no to the drug-related violence surrounding it.
These examples illustrate the range and impact of our work.We find dynamic local people who are running peacebuilding projects in conflict-affected countries, and we fund them to do what they know needs to be done. Then we promote their work and their ideas to the wider world, so that others will support and spread the concept of local peacebuilding – which we believe is the key to creating sustainable peace and prosperous societies.