working with the international community
We work for a more peaceful world every day
What we do
Our goal is to stop conflicts before they happen. We work on conflict prevention projects on the ground. Time and again we see that if a country is not in the daily news anymore, the attention of the international community turns away quickly. Until the cycle of conflict starts again. We want to break that cycle. Our work therefore seeks to prevent armed conflicts.
Non-state actors continue to pose great challenges to security and stability, particularly in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Those groups range from various al-Qaeda affiliates in the Sahara and Sahel to ethnic militias in Central Africa or the Middle East. Often times, those non-state actors access weapons seized from government stockpiles or looted. We are currently advocating for a new, innovative mechanism that gives UN member states access to destroying small arms before they can fall into the wrong hands. To that effect, we conduct high-level conversations with UN member states, fellow NGOs, and other actors. Please click below to learn more:
On the ground: Ghana
Ghana is one of the success stories on the African continent. The West African nation enjoys relative prosperity and stability. Despite these achievements, Ghana is not immune to conflict. Tensions between farmers and herdsmen sporadically erupt into outright violence. And the country produces more small arms than any other in West Africa. Peace in Ghana cannot be taken for granted. That’s why we work on armed violence prevention by reducing the number of locally produced weapons in several communities across the country. This does not only benefit Ghana as these arms spread to neighbouring countries, where they claim lives in active conflict areas. We offer Ghanaian gunsmiths a positive, bright future where they can use their remarkable skills in a way that does not hurt society. Find out more about our unique project here:
Learn more about our projects on the ground:
Our work on the ground in West Africa seeks to increase community safety by addressing the massive issue of locally made weapons used in conflict areas. Read more here.
There is a unique moment in history in the Pacific right now: to create yet another nation free of armed violence. The nation in question is Bougainville. Read more about this project.
We are currently rolling out a campaign in Ethiopia that gives communities useful farming equipment & knowledge in return for their weapons. See our project description here.
Lessons learned: Why our work matters.
Mali was long seen as a poster child for democracy and peace in West Africa. Despite long-standing tensions in the North, feuds between different ethnic groups never boiled over into outright armed conflict. Communities settled their differences in a largely peaceful way and skirmishes never turned into war. Then, in 2012, everything changed. After the fall of Libya’s strongman Gaddafi, Libya’s army depots were looted and arms flooded into Mali. Now, people in Mali had the means to settle their differences through violence. And so they did. The ensuing conflict cost thousands of civilians and children their lives.
Conflicts & violence against women
Most people will know that sexual violence and abuse is shockingly common in conflict zones. What many don’t know is that sexual violence has become a tool of war in itself. Perpetrators seek to impose fear on the community by terrifying its vulnerable members. According to the UN, 18-40% of women in conflict zones are subjected to sexual violence.
Our projects on the ground do not only aim to reduce violence against women through our core mission of preventing conflicts in the first place. We go further and encourage & empower women to take a leading role in peacebuilding and community leadership. We work together with local women’s and children’s rights groups on the ground. By putting women in the lead, their communities realise that they are just as much able to lead the way as any man.
We focus on conflict prevention. Preventing conflicts does not only save lives; it also saves a lot of money as it is much cheaper than intervention later! Hence, your donation has a high “return”.
We work on the ground as well as on an international level. This gives us the advantage of having an impact for the local communities while also undertaking efforts to change the bigger picture.
We do not only think project-based. After we have accomplished a mission on the ground, we follow up with local communities and want to make sure that our work brings benefits long after we are not there anymore.
stories from the field: community meeting
Release Peace met with community elders in Ghana to build trust and identify gunsmiths in their areas. The purpose of the meeting was for us to learn what the issues regarding armed violence in their communities are and how we can work together as equal partners to address them. The communities learned about our programme to offer local gunsmiths a new livelihood and a better future where they can use their skills to the better. We were honoured by the attendance of chiefs, queen mothers and assembly members.
Work with us in a variety of fields
We regularly look for people in various fields, such as helping to manage our projects, supporting our international advocacy, fundraising, or other outreach activities. We recruit on an ongoing basis. From the beginning, you will be able to take on serious responsibilities and we hope to offer you a steep and exciting learning curve. We primarily work remotely and offer plenty of flexibility, so that you can combine your work with us with other responsibilities you may have.
How do we contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals?
What are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? In 2015, the UN defined 17 goals to achieve a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. We are convinced that supporting stability and peace needs to be at the heart of any credible strategy to accomplish the SDGs. There is a clear link between how well a country can prosper and how peaceful it is. It is therefore clear to us that virtually none of the SDGs can be achieved without peace. Please see how the SDGs are connected to our work and how we contribute to 6 of them specifically:
We always put the communities themselves in the lead
We do not believe that we can go into a community, fix their problems for them and leave again. Even with good intentions, fixing the problems of others can create dependency. Our approach is to empower the communities themselves! We work together with community leaders, women’s groups, local civil society and other partners to find a path toward improving the situation together, with the communities in the lead, not us.