There’s a lot of organizations and grassroots groups out there working tirelessly to build peace. Many of us work in places affected by violent conflict or other challenging contexts; others are working to challenge militarism or to prevent war at higher levels.
Regardless of our approach, it is common that we work in silos, disconnected from similar efforts working towards the same goals. A common challenge I hear from peacebuilders I work with is that they feel alone in their efforts. People in their communities and wider society often do not support or understand them, or worse, are fiercely opposed to them.
The systems and structures we are seeking to transform are powerful, and working in silos, it can feel impossible for any of us to make a difference.
You may feel alone in your efforts, but it doesn’t have to be like that. We peacebuilders are everywhere. And there are a broad array of global peacebuilding networks that can support you.
Connecting with global peacebuilding networks can provide you with resources you need (often in different languages), link you to larger-scale campaigns, connect you with like-minded individuals, and support you and your efforts in a variety of other ways.
There are so many different types of peacebuilding networks out there. Each is different. You’ll need to know what networks are out there, find which ones are right for you, and connect.
Some are new, and some have been around for over 100 years. Some are for individuals, some for grassroots groups, and some are for large organizations. Some are for activists; others are associated with the global aid industry. Some have a specific focus like de-militarization, human rights, environmental peacebuilding, faith based and inter-faith peacebuilding, or other social justice issues. There are some networks for women peacebuilders… quite a few actually.
Some of these operate regional networks, and some have thematic working groups. On some, you may find organizations mapped by country or theme. Some have collaborative spaces and events.
Global Peacebuilding networks
Take a look at the ten peacebuilding networks I have profiled below to find which networks are right for you, then connect. Note that these below are not international NGOs with global operations, but networks for groups and individuals. Also, while each is unique, all of these below are generally peacebuilding networks.
There are huge amounts of other networks focusing on specific peacebuilding themes like demilitarization, women peacebuilders, and many more. Also, there are immense amounts of national and regional networks. All of these can be useful for you as well, so I’ll be writing about thematic and regional networks soon. Scroll to the end to get informed about these.
So below, 10 Global Peacebuilding Networks, in no particular order. Enjoy…
1. International Peace Bureau (IPB): The IPB is a global network of over 300 member organizations in 70 countries, who together with individual members, share the ultimate vision of building a world without war. A lot of their efforts focus on demilitarization, and more broadly, reducing funding for the military sector. They host global events, engage with governments and international agencies, support education and training activities, and as a network, they link experts and advocates working on similar issues to build strong civil society movements. They have many resources on their website.
2. Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP): AfP is a network of 130+ organizations working in 181 countries working to end violent conflict and build peace. Network members include predominantly large development organizations, academic institutions, and humanitarian and faith-based groups. They build coalitions on broad-ranging strategy and policy to elevate the entire peacebuilding field within the global aid industry, leveraging the network to address broader issues in the field of peacebuilding and its involvement in the global aid industry.
3. Geneva Peacebuilding Platform: The Geneva Peacebuilding Platform is a knowledge hub that connects peacebuilding actors, resources, and expertise in Geneva and worldwide. The Platform’s network comprises more than 4000 peacebuilding professionals working on building peace directly or indirectly. They facilitate interaction on peacebuilding between different institutions and sectors, and advance new knowledge and understanding of issues and contexts related to building peace. The Platform ensures the continuous exchange of information through seminars, consultations, and conferences, and facilitates outcome-oriented dialogues on peacebuilding practice. They have a strong focus on bottom-up peacebuilding.
4. United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY): UNOY is the leading global community of young peacebuilders with 111 youth organizations in 67 countries, united around the vision of a world free from violence. Supporting the network is a collective of specialized teams committed to amplifying youth voices, strengthening the UNOY network, and advancing the Youth, Peace and Security agenda. The website also hosts several resources published by UNOY.
5. Peace Direct: Peace Direct is an international charity dedicated to supporting local people to stop war and build lasting peace in some of the world’s most fragile countries. A key focus of their work is to developing and maintaining a network of local peacebuilding partners operating around the world. Their website hosts profiles of over 1,500 local peacebuilding organizations in 22 countries working on the frontlines of war. They also have a network of Local Peacebuilding Experts who share firsthand insight into 44 conflicts raging around the world.
6. Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC): GPPAC is a global network led by civil society organizations (CSOs) actively working to prevent violent conflict and build more peaceful societies. The network consists of 15 regional networks, with priorities and agendas specific to their environment. Their activities focus on knowledge and resource sharing to support members. Their website hosts Peace Portal, an open platform that maps network members, over 300 at the time of writing. The purpose of Peace Portal is to provide visibility and promote partnerships and collaborations amongst network members. GPPAC also develops online campaigns and highlights the efforts of network members.
7. The Earth Charter (EC): The Earth Charter (EC) is a document with sixteen principles outlining an ethical foundation for actions to build a more just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. The document itself powers a global movement of individuals, with over 100 partners and affiliates. Those who support the EC can apply the EC to their business, schools, and communities.
8. Peace and Collaborative Development Network (PCDN): PCDN is a network for social change career professionals. It further includes a broad range of resources to prepare you for a social change career and shares information to help members advance their social change careers, access educational opportunities, and find jobs.
9. +Peace: +Peace is a campaign platform supported by a broad coalition of members, allies, and partners. They run collective action campaigns to amplify the efforts of peacebuilders and more broadly make the case for peacebuilding in the world.
10. People Building Peace: People Building Peace is an online network and a community of individuals passionate about building a more peaceful and just world. Created and supported by me and associated with the coming launch of my website Everyday Peacebuilding, People Building Peace is a community space where members can find creative ways to build peace and connect with like-minded peacebuilders from all over the world. The community offers a space for members to support one another, share resources, discuss a range of topics, and collaborate.
How to connect with the networks that are right for you
If you are involved in any peacebuilding effort or are interested in getting involved, you should get connected with some peacebuilding networks that are right for you. Try to choose two or three of these networks that most align with you.
Here is a little summary of each of the above to help you see the differences and figure out which are right for you:
- International Peace Bureau (IPB): global advocacy for a world without war
- Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP): for large organizations in the global aid industry
- Geneva Peacebuilding Platform: peacebuilding knowledge hub
- United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY): for youth/young peacebuilders
- Peace Direct: local peacebuilding in conflict-affected contexts
- Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC): civil society organizations (CSOs) for prevention of armed conflict; with regional networks
- The Earth Charter (EC): a global movement for peace and sustainability
- Peace and Collaborative Development Network (PCDN): job boards and resources for social change career professionals
- +Peace: a campaign platform
- People Building Peace: for individual (experienced and aspiring) peacebuilders
Now, once you find the networks that are right for you, you’ll need to connect. Networks for organizations often have a formal application process, but these don’t tend to be complicated. As an individual, most networks have eNewsletters you can sign up for, and most are active on social media. Most have downloadable resources on their websites, and many host events and collaborative activities.
Check out the links to each I included in this blog post and get connected!
I’ll be putting out more blog posts about regional peacebuilding networks, also posts mapping other networks with specific themes like demilitarization, women peacebuilders, etc. You can get updates about these and get access to other free resources I’ve developed to support peacebuilders by signing up for my email list I put together as I plan to launch my website www.everydaypeacebuilding.com.