21 Organizations Supporting Grassroots Peacebuilding

Find great opportunities for grassroots peacebuilders and learn how to bridge the gap between international and grassroots peacebuilding.

by Taylor O’Connor | 30 May 2024

grassroots peacebuilding activity

Photo by tribesh kayastha on Unsplash

“We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.” – Bayard Rustin

I’ve worked with grassroots and local groups since my early days in peacebuilding. Often it was youth groups or women’s groups, or local interfaith groups. And I always have been inspired by the passion and creativity of peacebuilders, peace activists and social justice advocates from local communities wherever they may be.

And in my transition to working with larger international organizations and began to get more involved in bureaucratic processes, I quickly began to miss being surrounded by passionate individuals. I started to see peacebuilding as operating in two different worlds: the one of grassroots groups and the one often lost in the bureaucracy of international aid industry of which peacebuilding is one small piece.

And I found there to be very few organizations and initiatives bridging the gap between the two. That is why I started my own initiative here at Everyday Peacebuilding and it is why over the years I have always noted and documented any initiative I could find that supported grassroots peacebuilders.


What I’ve learned in documenting organizatinos that support grassroots peacebuilders

What I’ve learned in the process of researching and documenting any organization or initiative that supports grassroots peacebuilders is this:

  • First – there are few organizations and initiatives whose main focus is to support grassroots peacebuilders
  • Second – many organizations provide funding for grassroots peaceubilders, but their approaches are not bottom-up. These are not included in this list.
  • Third – key approaches of grassroots peacebuilders and those who support them focus on bottom-up peacebuilding, and on transforming or struggling against top-down systems and processes that dominate global peacebuilding funding mechanisms. Some use the term grassroots, others focus on local peacebuilding or community oriented peacebuilding, while others take the approach of decolonization of peacebuilding
  • Fourth – many, thought not all, grassroots peacebuilding groups include anti-militarist approaches in their peacebuilding efforts, which is a stark contradiction to mainstream, top-down peacebuilding systems
  • Lastly – many organizations operate and support small networks of grassroots peacebuilders (as individuals), groups or organizations


Organizations supporting grassroots peacebuilding

Below, I have mapped organizations that support grassroots peacebuilding.

I have not included grassroots peacebuilding initiatives themselves as they would naturally number in the tens of thousands, each operating at the local/community or national levels. I have only included organizations with a regional or global focus that supports grassroots peacebuilders. Also, I have not included groups that focus on social justice, human rights, nonviolence, or other related topics. I have only included groups that explicitly build peace.

I have organized my list of 21 organizations into four categories associated with the main focus of their efforts to support grassroots peacebuilders. Some organizations have multiple focus areas, and in that case, I have selected the best fit for organization purposes.

  • Organizations that train grassroots peacebuilders and manage networks
  • Organizations that directly implement programs with grassroots peacebuilders
  • Organizations focusing on systems change to promote grassroots peacebuilding
  • Organizations focused on research and content production to support grassroots peacebuilders


Organizations that train grassroots peacebuilders and manage networks

There are nine organizations outlined below whose main focus is to train grassroots peacebuilders and manage networks of grassroots peacebuilders. Often these two activities are interlinked. Networks tend to be quite small and focused. Most of the networks focus on training individual peacebuilders and supporting them, while others focus on grassroots peacebuilding organizations.


Euphrates Institute

Tagline – Equipping, connecting, and uplifting peacebuilders worldwide

Euphrates Institute  believes in the power of grassroots global citizens to become peacebuilders who come together, support one another, and advocate for peace. They focus on training, connecting and supporting a network of grassroots peacebuilders worldwide. They believe that building a critical mass of everyday peacebuilders will effect systemic change globally.  Their flagship program the Peace Practice Alliance trains one cohort of peacebuilders each year and this forms the foundation of their global network of global peacebuilders. Their training curriculum and general approach covers personal, interpersonal, community and global dimensions of peacebuilding.


Mindanao Peace Institute

Tagline – A training and resource center for peacebuilders in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world.

Mindanao Peace Institute is a peacebuilding training institute based in Mindanao, Philippines. They train diverse peacebuilders from around the world and provide them with a nurturing space to come together, share their experiences, and learn in an environment that celebrates and respects all viewpoints. As a dedicated resource for peacebuilders, MPI equips them with essential skills, conducts research, and fosters solidarity within the Asia-Pacific Region. The Annual Peacebuilding Training is their flagship program that brings peacebuilders to Mindanao for a three-week training each year.


The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers

Tagline – Grassroots efforts for sustainable peace

The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers  connects grassroots peacemakers and global players in peacebuilding to strengthen sustainability of peacebuilding around the world. The Network amplifies the positive role of religious and traditional actors in peacemaking and peacebuilding processes, and they train grassroots peacebuilders in traditional approaches for peacebuilding and peace mediation. They do a great job of conducting events that connect religious and traditional peacebuilders, collecting inputs from participants, and then producing simple resources to share learning and insight from participants. More recently, they have been leading regular thematic events to promote inclusivity of all types in peacebuilding.


The Peacemakers in Action Network of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding

Tagline – Combating religious prejudice

The Peacemakers in Action Network supports network members to address religious bias, promote religious understanding, and build peace. Tanenbaum provides network members with support, resources, and a framework for connection. Peacemakers in the network are nominated and selected. Some are educators, some clergy; others are NGO directors, government officials, negotiators, and activists. Once selected, the Tanembaum Peacemakers receive some limited financial support, publicity, training and ongoing support from the network to advance their peace efforts.


Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)

Tagline – A network of people building peace

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is a global network of civil society organizations (CSOs) that actively work to prevent violent conflict and foster more peaceful societies. Their peacebuilding efforts concentrate on locally-led action, the inclusion of women and youth as agents of change, and addressing climate security and emerging threats. The network consists of 15 regional networks connecting over 250+ civil society organizations worldwide, with priorities and agendas specific to the contexts of each region. Strategy and key decisions are made by the International Steering Group which is made up of representatives from each regional network.


Rotary Action Group for Peace (RAGFP) and the Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association

Tagline – Peace through service

Rotary Action Group for Peace is an initiative within Rotary International. They serve as a resource to the Rotary community to engage, educate and empower the Rotary network to advance peacebuilding worldwide. RAGFP works to Raising the profile of peacebuilding in Rotary and beyond, they support peace action of Rotary Clubs and Districts, and they educate the wider rotary network about peace and peacebuilding. The Alumni Association of the Rotary Peace Fellowship is of note because they do a great job of supporting Rotary Peace Fellows in their peace efforts after graduation. And they also host great events, including an annual peace conference.


Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS)

Tagline – Strengthening strategic interventions into armed conflict with the overall goal of reaching sustainable and positive peace in the Asian region

The Center for Peace and Conflict Studies offer academic, diplomatic, and peace leadership courses to develop peace leadership in Asia. They offer MA and PhD programs in Applied Conflict Transformation Studies (ACTS) that blend academic research, practical peacebuilding, and leadership skills for peace practitioners from across Asia to strengthen their peace work. They conduct research and publish reports on conflict and peacebuilding in Asia and they host regional events to provide spaces for practitioners and academics to share and learn from Asian peace processes and conflict transformation.


Everyday Peace Initiative

Tagline – Bridging peace research community action  

Everyday Peace Initiative supports ordinary people all around the world do to resist violence in its many different forms – to be agents of peace. Their main focus areas are on researching grassroots peacebuilding and supporting community-level peace action. The Everyday Peace Initiative includes a blog, a free downloadable toolkit, and a community platform. The community platform supports registered community members in learning, connecting, co-creating knowledge, collaborating, reaching out to a broader audience.


Everyday Peacebuilding

Tagline – Helping dreamers & idealists find creative ways to build a more peaceful, just world.

This is us! We at Everyday Peacebuilding believe in the power of individuals to change the world, and we think that supporting informal networks of peacebuilders is the most effective tool for driving change. We support peacebuilders from all walks of life to find creative and effective ways to build a more peaceful, just world. We create content, resources and trainings to help ‘everyday peacebuidlers’ to discover how they can use their unique talents and abilities to make change on the social issues they care most about. And we create spaces for community members to connect with one another.


Organizations that directly implement programs with grassroots peacebuilders

There are five organizations that directly implement programs with grassroots peacebuilders. Each has their own way of working directly with grassroots peacebuidlers to support program and activity implementation. While many organizations fund or support grassroots peacebuiders, what makes these different is that they focus on an approach whereby the launching of projects and activities tend to be focused on local decision-making. In this way, local peacebuilders have control over decision-making that forms and manages projects.


Peace First

Tagline – Address the world’s most urgent issues

Peace First believes that young people hold immense power to create systemic change and shape a future filled with hope and possibility. They support young people worldwide to create meaningful change in their communities. They provide training, mentorship, and resources to help young people in over 160 countries to plan and launch projects that have an impact locally, regionally, and globally.


Life and Peace Institute

Tagline – We are people from different ethnic groups coming together to discuss key issues affecting all of us

Life and Peace Institute is a grassroots initiative that actively works with civil society actors to promote nonviolent conflict transformation. LPI prioritizes inclusive community-based peacebuilding processes, with a special focus on empowering youth and women. LPI’s principal aim is to support local partners in building and maintaining peace, transforming violent conflicts into peaceful coexistence. They lead collaborative engagement in research, action, policy influencing, and capacity development for peace. They create spaces and promote dialogue amongst diverse civil society actors to uplift collective voices of peacebuilders. And they are also involved in knowledge creation through collaborative conflict analysis and peace research.


Master Peace

Tagline – Creating peace together

Master Peace is a grassroots movement that supports grassroots peacebuilders. They support grassroots peacebuilding groups to launch all types of creative projects, often using arts and music to build peace. They manage a network of Peace Clubs in over 45 countries and provide them with technical support, resources, and coaching. All operating decisions are driven by MasterPeace Clubs at the local level.


Service Civil International (SCI)

Tagline – Volunteering for peace since 1920

Service Civil International (SCI) is a historic peace organization that takes challenges war and militarism worldwide. The main focus of their work is recruiting, training and mobilizing volunteers to take actions for peace that challenge war and militarism, organizing international volunteering projects with local and global impact. SCI consists of 40 branches and groups all over the world and coordinates activities through longstanding alliances with anti-militarist peace networks such as War Resisters International and International Fellowship of Reconciliation.


American Friend Service Committee (AFSC)

Tagline – We work for a just, peaceful, and sustainable world free of violence, inequality, and oppression

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) brings together people of all faiths and backgrounds to challenge injustice and build peace around the world. They are committed to a future that is free from violence and militarism. They operate programs around the world with local peacebuilders and their programs are often very creative. Creative programs that meet local needs are often a product of local collaboration.


Organizations focusing on systems change to promote grassroots peacebuilding

The four organizations below focus on advocating for systems change to promote grassroots peacebuilding. Some conduct research on grassroots peacebuilding, some focus on advocacy, while others produce resources that highlight approaches for the promotion of grassroots peacebuilding. All have some focus on localization and/or decolonization of peacebuilding. Some emphasize collaboration with grassroots peacebuilders and policymakers.


CDA Collaborative Learning

Tagline – Improves the effectiveness and accountability of peacebuilding, development, and humanitarian action wherever communities experience conflict

CDA Collaborative Learning is a longtime thought leader in peacebuilding that works to advance local leadership in peacebuilding and across the wider international aid industry. They believe that this will enhance the effectiveness and accountability of aid in communities affected by conflict. They help policymakers, practitioners, and organizations improve the relevance and accountability of programming through development of quality tools for conflict analysis, program strategy design, and assessment.


Principles for Peace

Tagline – We are advancing the approach and the narratives of peacebuilding

Principles for Peace brings together local peacebuilders and international leaders in an effort to bring about systems change in peace and security sectors. They focus on building multi-stakeholder collaboration across international governance structures for peace and high-level diplomacy. They seek to influence catalytic change in global peace and security by building authentic partnerships, involving diverse stakeholders, and championing evidence-based decisions to reshape peace engagement narratives, policies, and practices, creating robust, inclusive, and sustainable peace processes.


Inclusive Peace

Tagline – Setting change in motion

Inclusive Peace describes themselves as a ‘think and do tank’ supporting civilian-led peace processes. Inclusive Peace promotes peace and justice through their three main focus areas: peace process support, generating knowledge, and agenda setting. Their in-country peace process support promotes the inclusion of local peacebuilders in peace processes. They conduct research to inform peace process inclusion and provide policy recommendations that shape global and national policy processes associated with peace processes. They embrace a localized and decolonial approach to peace process support and research.


Conducive Space for Peace

Tagline – Do peace differently

Conducive Space for Peace works to transform the global peacebuilding system by connecting and offering collaborative spaces for individuals, networks, and organizations seeking to make change in the system. They work to bridge the gap between rhetoric and practice and take systemic approach to change systems for the advancement of local peacebuilding. They create spaces, conduct research and produce publications to frame the advancement of local peacebuilding within global systems and outside of them.


Organizations focused on research and content production to support grassroots peacebuilders

The primary focus of organizations below is to produce content and resources to support grassroots peacebuilders. Some document stories of grassroots peacebuilders to amplify their actions while others produce content to be used directly by grassroots peacebuilders.


Peace Direct (and Peace Insight)

Tagline – Amplifying the voices of local peacebuilders in conflict zones around the world

Peace Direct supports local peacebuilders on the front lines of conflict around the world. They do this by providing them with practical resources and amplifying their voices. They support a network of local peacebuilders through funding, knowledge-sharing, networking and more. They also raise global awareness about locally-led peacebuilding and advocate for international support to local peacebuilders. In recent years their research, publications and advocacy around decolonizing peacebuilding has been one of their great achievements. They also host a separate website called Peace Insight, a platform dedicated to amplify the work of local peacebuilders around the world.


Peace Science Digest by War Prevention Initiative (WPI)

War Prevention Initiative Tagline – We support peacebuilding to resolve global conflicts and create a world without war.

Peace Science Digest Tagline – Informing and educating about alternatives to war and violence

Peace Science Digest is a project of War Prevention Initiative (WPI). WPI works to transform the global peace and security paradigm to one that is built around viable alternatives to war and all forms of political violence. To achieve this they research, advocate for and advance knowledge on practices that demonstrate the effectiveness of nonviolence and challenge militarism. Their Peace Science Digest project publishes easy to understand summaries of key research on peacebuilding with an anti-militarist perspective in an effort to make peace science accessible to policy makers and peacebuilding practitioners. I selected them here because they are the only group that I know of that are dedicated to making academic peace research accessible to grassroots peacebuilders.


Peace News Network

Tagline – We present stories from conflict zones we often don’t hear. Our stories are about people taking risks for peace.

Peace News Network publishes peace-oriented stories from conflict zones not often covered in mainstream media. While mainstream international news emphasizes killings, bombings, and the views of violent extremists from conflict zones, Peace News Network takes a different approach. They present the other side, sharing stories that are often overlooked – stories of people courageously working for peace. Through their storytelling, they showcase the voices of ordinary individuals who advocate for non-violent solutions to political differences.


Bridge the gap for grassroots peacebuilders

Whether you are a grassroots peacebuilder, a peacebuilder working at international levels, or are peacebuilding curious, I hope that these resources are helpful for you.

And I encourage any of you who are involved in peacebuilding at any level to do what you can to support these groups and/or to bridge the gap between international and grassroots peacebuilding. You may take an approach to decolonize peacebuilding, or promote the localization of peacebuilding, or you may have another approach to bridge the gap between grassroots and international peacebuilding.

Whatever approach you take, I hope this blog was helpful to raise awareness about the gap between grassroots and international and international peacebuilding, to learn of new organizations that are bridging this gap, or to give you ideas for how to bridge this gap. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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