01 August 2018: A monthly selection of the best new research and resources on local peacebuilding worldwide, as chosen by Peace Insight. This month’s edition features resources on lessons from peacebuilding in South Sudan, grassroots peacebuilding in Cyprus, the launch of our new report 'Mali on the brink', and more. Sign up here to receive the newsletter by email each month.

Research this month

Mali on the brink: local voices for peace

"[T]he challenges facing local peacebuilders in Mali are significant. Most directly, they may be physically threatened or targeted by violent actors. They also face resource challenges, including access to financial resources, lack of trained human resources, logistical constraints and a lack of information sharing from government and security forces. Levels of distrust will need to be overcome between civil society and local politicians and new connections will have to be established between the national government, national security forces, international donors and local peacebuilding organisations to ensure relevant information sharing."

Mali on the brink, from Peace Direct, is the latest in the ‘Local Voices for Peace‘ series of reports, the aim of which is to raise the profile of civil society perspectives on peace and conflict. This report presents the findings of Peace Direct’s ‘Peace Exchange’ that took place in Bamako in May 2018, bringing together 20 representatives from Malian grassroots peacebuilding organisations to discuss the drivers of violent conflict, and the local capacities that exist to build peace.

The French version of the report, 'Le Mali à la croisée des chemins' is also available. 


In it for the long haul? Lessons on peacebuilding in South Sudan

"'Local’ does not mean unimportant – the layers of conflict in South Sudan are multiple and intertwined. Sub-national conflict can impact national dynamics of peace and war, not least because national leaders depend upon local constituencies to supply fighting forces and for legitimacy. ‘Local peacebuilding’ is not a soft issue but a hard security concern that should sit at the heart of overarching strategies to help South Sudanese change the political, economic and cultural logics of power at work in their country"

In it for the long haul, from Christian Aid, examines approaches to peacebuilding in South Sudan and seeks to identify key principles or lessons for those who wish to underestand peacebuilding in the country. The report shares 10 such ideas, each alongside a case study demonstrating their impact.

If victims become perpetrators: Factors contributing to vulnerability and resilience to violent extremism in the central Sahel

"One of the key findings of this research is the assertion that violent extremism in the central Sahel is primarily a response to local conflicts, and that the link with international jihadism is more rhetoric than reality. In fragile and conflict-affected states, there are a number of factors that may influence the behaviour of marginalised young men and women who are confronted with violent extremism"

If victims become perpetrators, from International Alert, looks at factors contributing to vulnerability or resilience to violent extremism among young people in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. As well as identifying push and pull factors, the report looks at strategies used to tackle violent extremism in the region.

Communities tackling small arms and light weapons in South Sudan: lessons learnt and best practices

"[T]he positive impacts achieved by this intervention were a result of awareness-raising campaigns, advocacy meetings, training of community action groups and gelweng (cattle protectors) and peace dialogues which helped to address conflict - the main driver of demand for small arms and light weapons (SALW) within communities. Government officials, civil society representatives, and community members who participated in the various project activities appreciated the role of project interventions in reducing conflict and contributing to relative peace and stability in communities."

Communities tackling small arms and light weapons in South Sudan, from Saferworld, explores community-based solutions to the proliferlation and use of small arms in South Sudan. The study draws upon Saferworld's work in the region and shares some of the key lessons learned from the project.

Pre-conditions for peace: A civil society perspective on the Cyprus problem

"Civil society feels that Track I should listen, and that CSOs can and should make it listen. On the other hand, officials in Track I often think that they know better. The truth is that a paradigm change in the peace process, and inter-communal relations more generally, necessitates a top-down initiative as well."

Pre-conditions for peace, from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), looks at pro-peace civil society in Cyprus. Through three case studies, the report assesses the success, limitiation and potential of grassroots mobilisation for peace in Cyprus.

Funding opportunities

Human Rights Prize of the French Republic

Applications are open for the 2018 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic. The Prize is awarded in recognition and support for the completion of individual or collective projects carried out in the field, in France or abroad, regardless of nationality or borders, working to promote and protect human rights. Deadline: 15 October 2018. Find out more

Impact Fund grants program

Applications are open for the Impact Fund grants program. Grants are awarded to legal services nonprofits, private attorneys, and/or small law firms who seek to advance justice in the areas of civil and human rights, environmental justice, and/or poverty law. Deadline: 9 October 2018. Find out more

IPRAF Peace Research Grant Program

The International Peace Research Association Foundation (IPRAF) is accepting applications for its Peace Research Grants Program in order to enhance the processes of peace. Grants of up to $5,000 are available.  Deadline: 31 August 2018. Find out more

From the blog

To build a Syrian house: When poetry and peace intertwine

Poets Antony Owen and Isabel Palmer have written for over 10 years on issues relating to conflict and peace. Here, they reflect on the strength of poetry to provide depth and truth to the first-hand experiences of conflict, and to breath life into dreams of a peaceful future. Through exploring several poems provided by our guest contributors related to conflict in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, this article seeks to present ways that poetry can help people come to terms with conflict, share their lived experience, and communicate stories about peacebuilding from civilians who are often overlooked in conflict zones. Read more »

Sarah Phillips, Antony Owen, and Isabel Palmer
23 July 2018

Mali On The Brink: Local Voices for Peace

'Mali On The Brink' is the latest in our series of 'Local Voices for Peace' reports. It presents the findings of Peace Direct's 'Peace Exchange' that took place in Bamako in May 2018, bringing together 20 representatives from Malian grassroots peacebuilding organisations to discuss the drivers of violent conflict, and the local capacities that exist to build peace. Read more »

Peace Direct
18 July 2018

The 10th KROKODIL Literary Festival: a debate on common language and historical revisionism in the Western Balkans

The 10th KROKODIL Literary Festival, which took place last month in Belgrade, featured several debates in which participants discussed the themes of common language and historical revisionism in the Western Balkans. Read more »

Mirjana Kosic
12 July 2018

Prospects for peace on the Korean peninsula

Over recent months, and particularly with the historic and unprecedented summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jung Un in Singapore on June 12, 2018, the potential for reducing tension and conflict on the Korean Peninsula and moving toward a resolution of the long-standing conflicts emerged. Commentators around the world and the people of Korea welcomed the summit as a new direction and one step closer to peace, but what does that mean for local peacebuilders? Read more »

Daeyoung Kim
10 July 2018

Does life matter to Colombians?

On the 3rd of July, most Colombians were celebrating a stunning performance from their national team at the football World Cup. Yet at the same time, several assassinations and massacres were happening in different regions across Colombia. This article calls for Colombia to denounce violence on this day and every day, and protect its social leaders and peacebuilders by raising awareness of the risks they are facing by serving their communities. Read more »

Lina María Jaramillo
06 July 2018


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23 April 2019

We are asking for submissions of short videos to tell your story. From small initiatives making a difference in your community, to a national awareness-raising campaign, to work at a global or regional level – the best videos will be showcased at an event during the United Nations High- Level Political Forum in July, with selected candidates sponsored to attend in person. Read more »

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