32 armed conflicts were reported globally in 2021 with Ethiopia (Tigray), the DRC (east), Somalia, South Sudan, Myanmar, Syria and Yemen among the most seriously affected countries.
People caught up in conflict suffer violence, displacement, hunger and psychosocial impacts. Their livelihoods are often disrupted and access to basic education and health services are compromised. Violent conflict creates the worst of situations, preventing progress and development.
Peacebuilding is a key intervention to de-escalate tensions, rebuild trust and enhance peaceful coexistence among conflict-affected communities around the world. Trócaire supports peace building to prevent, resolve or transform a conflict situationeither before violence erupts (as a preventative measure), or after violent conflict ends (as an effort to rebuild a more peaceful society).
Why Peace Building
Trócaire’s ultimate aim is to tackle the root causes of poverty, injustice and violence and create peaceful, stable communities and societies. As an agency of the Catholic Church, Trócaire’s identity provides the organisation with opportunities to harness the peace building capacity of both church and secular society to actively promote social justice and peace.
Trócaire promotes a coherent approach in communities combining humanitarian response where it is needed, fostering long term development to address the causes of conflict and supporting peace which is essential for development to be sustainable.
How do we work on Peace Building?
Peacebuilding takes the form of activities that increase tolerance, promote coexistence, and address structural sources of injustice such as poverty. We work to enhance capacities for peace at the grass roots level, but we also work with leaders to promote peace at regional and national level.
Peacebuilding activities are wide ranging and context specific. For example:
- We involve community members or leaders in dialogue forums on contentious issues
- We build local capacities for conflict resolution through the formation of peace committees
- We support leaders to become active advocates of peace and involve them in alternative forms of conflict resolution processes
- We support community members to organise social cohesion activities like football games, music events or coffee ceremonies aimed at building trust between divided groups in a community.
The roles men and women play in peacebuilding is not always the same, and vary by location and culture. But both men and women must always be involved for sustained peace.
What Impact are we having
For almost 50 years Trócaire has supported the peace building efforts of leading figures such as Archbishop Oscar Romero from El Salvador, Archbishop Denis Hurley from South Africa, Bishop Carlos Belo from East Timor who in 1996 won the Nobel Peace Prize and others.
Today in eastern DRC, Trócaire is supporting communities to stand up and challenge injustice, promote a culture of peace in their own villages, and call for local authorities and the wider community to build towards a more cohesive society. This includes facilitating inter-religious dialogues in Mambasa to promote a culture of religious tolerance, establishing 27 peace farms as an economic model to empower women and promote peaceful and gender equitable communities .
In South Sudan, Trócaire is working with our local partners TOCH (The Organisation for Children Harmony) and POF (Peacebuilding Opportunities fund) to support community led peace dialogues, bringing armed youth from the cattle camps together with local chiefs with the aim of diffusing tensions, deescalating conflict and creating conditions for peaceful cattle migration to pasture and water points in Rumbek and Tonj.