Mother and child in South Sudan

International Day of Peace 2018

How to move from violence to peace - six key steps

In 2016, more countries experienced violent conflict than at any time in nearly 30 years.

If current trends persist, by 2030 - the horizon set by the international community for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - more than half of the world’s poor will be living in countries affected by high levels of violence. However, much of this is due to reoccurring violence and protracted conflicts.

To mark the International Day of Peace Christian Aid, alongside 83 peace-building organisations, have signed a statement calling governments and the international community to embrace the commitments to peaceread the letter here.

In November 2016, we updated our global peace building strategy, to work towards our vision for more peaceful reality free from poverty, violence and injustice.

To do this, we believe there are six key drivers that are crucial to moving from violence to peace.

1. Leave no one behind

If peacebuilding processes are inclusive at all levels and actively involve the participation of people at risk of violence then the key drivers of violence and justice are more likely to be addressed.

Mother and her child embrace in South Sudan

In South Sudan, we work to equip communities with the knowledge and tools they need so they can successfully address key drivers of conflict and engage with credible spaces for dialogue and inform political peace processes. We encourage church leaders to represent grassroots voices to advocate for peace and lay the groundwork for long-term reconciliation.

Photo: Andreea Campeanu

2. Respect for human rights and international law

If we can influence power holders and states to improve protection, challenge violence (including GBV) and provide access to justice then people we work with will be protected, safe and can achieve justice for human rights violations.

Judith Maldonado Mojica, former director of Christian Aid partner the Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers Collective (CCALCP), speaks about the threats she has faced as a human rights defender. Judith was a recipient of the Defender of the Year award at Colombia's first National Award for the Defence of Human Rights in 2010.

3. Make peace a priority

If we deliberately and intentionally work on peace, then we are more likely to transform from violence.

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... are newly displaced every minute

4. Build an economy for the greater good of many

If we address the socio-economic inequalities that countries affected by violence face then we are more likely to sustain peace.

Ebanyinle was born with a disability and participated in skills training through the GEOP project. She was trained in bead making and learnt how to produce necklaces, bracelets, earrings and slippers.

The Growing Economic Opportunities for Sustainable Development (GEOP) project, funded by the European Union and Christian Aid, aims to promote job creation and increase environmentally sustainable economic activity. Since the project began last year, it has created significant change, particularly in the lives of people with disabilities. Amina Issah Ebanyinle was born with a disability and participated in skills training through the GEOP project. She was trained in bead making and learnt how to produce necklaces, bracelets, earrings and slippers.

Photo: Christian Aid

Participating in the training was the best decision in my life as I can now use my hand to work and provide the basic needs of my family

Amina Issah Ebanyinle

5. Enhance resilience and conflict prevention

If those living in violent contexts are supported to survive, thrive, develop and prevent conflict then they will be resilient in spite of the risks they face.

 ‘Ecumenical Accompaniers’ work on the ground and work to accompany, offer a protective presence, monitor human rights, and advocate for a just end to the occupation.

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) acts as a non-violent presence and human rights monitor, which aims to protect Palestinians in their daily lives. ‘Ecumenical Accompaniers’ work on the ground and work to accompany, offer a protective presence, monitor human rights, and advocate for a just end to the occupation.

Photo: Christian Aid

6. Challenge unequal power and gender dynamics

If we work with individuals, communities, state institutions, media and others to address unequal gender and power dyanmics that lead to violence then we can build peace across society.

Ana is determined to deliver support to the community of Mejicanos with the help and support of our partner FESPAD.

Ana Jeannette Mejia works to educate other women on their rights and helps give them strength to end domestic violence, all while she was dealing with abuse from her own husband. Ana has also been threatened by gang members before - they threatened to kill her husband because of her work helping female victims of violence. Despite all this, Ana is determined to deliver support to the community of Mejicanos with the help and support of our partner FESPAD.

Photo: Christian Aid

Find out more about Christian Aid's work on from violence to peace.

All information sourced from the upcoming report 'Pathways of transformation: From Violence to Peace': a Christian Aid policy paper.