Grace to Heal is an ecumenical grassroots peacebuilding organisation founded and run by the Baptist Church. It was founded in 2003 with the aim of fostering a faith-based process to peace, reconciliation, justice and conflict transformation in Zimbabwe. Besides local churches, the organisation works with women, traditional leaders and ex-combatants, and it has an exciting youth initiative.
The organisation primarily works with primary and secondary victims of violence, building hope and faith for the future, all culminating in a peaceful society. The mission of Grace to Heal is to instil the process of peacebuilding and nonviolent social transformation as both a culture and goal in Zimbabwe.
The organisation upholds the concept of 'principled nonviolence', meaning that nonviolence is not only manifested in the organisation's actions but that the team strive to make it the basis of their attitudes and actions. Thus, they seek nonviolent ways of dealing with problems and settling all forms of conflict.
At the centre of Grace to Heal's work is the philosophy that all human beings are created in God's image and therefore everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity; even those that are the cause of suffering and oppression and those that have committed evil against individuals and communities. They believe that every person has the capacity for good and the team seek to appeal to that good nature in people. It takes a generational approach to peacebuilding, seeking medium to long-term behavioural and attitudinal change focusing at 10-20 years work with each community.
Grace to Heal works to train ex-combatants and youth in peacebuilding techniques. They also collaborate with ex-combatants in personal healing programmes. This is done through their ZPRA Veterans Trust, which has members throughout the country. The aim is to cleanse the ex-combatants they work with of the violent memory of war.
Grace to Heal also carries out human rights awareness training workshops with traditional leaders, especially in the period leading up to elections. The leaders are often manipulated by state agencies to campaign on behalf of political parties. Grace to Heal encourages their neutrality. In times of food shortage the leaders distribute relief aid, and Grace to Heal intervenes to ensure that this aid is not distributed along partisan lines.