The Central African Peace Exchange will take place in CAR's capital city, Bangui. Image credit: Kayikwamba. The Central African Peace Exchange will take place in CAR's capital city, Bangui. Image credit: Kayikwamba.

Next week, Peace Direct will bring together 25 local peacebuilding organisations in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). They will be taking part in a Peace Exchange, which helps local groups make international connections, working together to help tackle violence.

Central African Republic: in dire straits?

More than anywhere, this work is needed in CAR. The armed conflict which has scarred the country in recent years has blurred political and religious boundaries, leading to a spiral of violence that has killed or displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

With some hope that the worst of the violence may be over, next week's Peace Exchange follows the Central African Government's recent National Reconciliation Forum. This nationwide project gathered views from across the country on how CAR should rebuild and repair.

The key aims of our Peace Exchange are simple:

  • To enable local organisations in CAR to connect with one another: sharing information and exploring how they can work together to tackle the conflict.
  • To link local organisations with the international community: specifically the UN, international donors and international NGOs.
  • To provide follow-up support: for continuing, on-the ground collaboration between local organisations working to stop violence and build peace.

Global meets local: UN support

The Peace Exchange has been organised by Peace Direct with the support of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in CAR, MINUSCA. This tie-up is a fantastic endorsement of the work Peace Direct and local organisations do. High quality does not necessarily mean high profile, so we are delighted to be able to bring these groups together with one of the world's most important international organisations.

Indeed, as we at Peace Direct know very well, there are thousands of local groups around the world dedicated to building peace from the ground up. And this is no different in CAR, where, thanks to the work of our fantastic Local Correspondent, Martine Kessy Ekomo-Soignet, more than 40 organisations responded to our call for applications.

Peace Direct: supporting local peacebuilding around the world

The peacebuilders gathering in Bangui next week will be participating in the latest in our series of peace conferences. Having previously held events in DR Congo, Pakistan and London, among other places, this is Peace Direct's first direct work in CAR. Ruairi Nolan, our Director of Emerging Programmes, is in CAR to participate.

"This Peace Exchange shows the scale of local peacebuilding work taking place here," he said.

"We are delighted to have received such strong support and interest in this event. It shows that beyond the bad headlines, there is good news in CAR. Everyone is looking forward to working with these inspirational peacebuilders."