Tagged: civil society

  • Peaceful and inclusive societies

    A little more than a year ago, the world rallied around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a historic plan to improve the lives of people everywhere. This past year was a reminder of just how ambitious these goals are and how achieving them will test the commitment of the international community.

    The year 2016 turned out to be a time of political, economic and social upheaval — from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the U.S. election of a president vowing radical change to America’s domestic and foreign policies, to ongoing war and conflict in the Middle East and a global refugee crisis. We also witnessed extraordinary achievements, including a peace agreement that ended Colombia’s 50-year civil war and the discovery of a vaccine for Ebola — progress made possible by people working together for the common good.

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  • Peacebuilding through practice and partnership

    Why is the PEACE IQC significant?

    Through the PEACE IQC, USAID can draw upon experienced and trusted partners to respond to crisis and fragility and to develop a comprehensive program across sectors. Task orders issued under the PEACE IQC will ensure that USAID and its partners understand the causes of conflict, identify the best approaches for mitigating conflict, and gather learning and evidence to inform future programming against conflict and extremism.

    What is unique about the approach of FHI 360 and the PEACE Consortium?

    FHI 360’s PEACE Consortium, comprised of 18 member organizations, is uniquely able to assist in conflict-affected contexts because we bring an integrated approach to addressing the varied root causes of social and political tensions. With almost two decades experience, we have learned there is never a single driver of conflict, and we have developed the tools to identify the sources and then design cross-sectorial interventions that address the real needs on the ground. We offer an integrated model that encompasses experts working across 122 countries, with the ability to mobilize high-quality teams in quick response to crises.

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  • Addressing grievances and giving everyone a voice are key to peacebuilding

    How does conflict affect a country’s long-term development?

    Violent conflict sets a country’s development back decades, especially when it is protracted as it was in Sri Lanka and as it is currently in the Casamance region of Senegal. Even countries that create peace agreements but do not address the grievances or the sources of conflict are more likely to experience conflict again within 10 years. It is critical to work on mitigating and managing conflict in countries. Otherwise, we are simply pouring hundreds of millions of development dollars into a country and seeing those gains wiped out by violent conflict. That is why working on conflict is so critical.

    How do we deal with conflict?

    The first step is understanding the grievances that led to the conflict. Grievances can arise in a number of areas and can be found across many sectors. Because we are a global organization that works across sectors — such as health, education, economic development and the environment — we are able to address specific grievances in these different sectors.

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  • Why do we need civil society?

    What is civil society? My children always ask me that. Think of what makes a good school. A good school has good teachers, a good curriculum, a good principal, and good buildings and classrooms. It also has extracurricular activities, including student government and clubs where kids can pursue their interests, voice their views and connect with other kids whom they might not meet otherwise.

    Civil society is similar to those extracurricular activities. Usually, a country’s government takes care of the basics, such as defense, education and health care. But it doesn’t provide citizens with a way to organize themselves to do what is important to them or express their views. That’s where civil society comes into play. It is the groups that people form to advocate for the things they believe in and to solve problems in their communities. Societies that do not allow people to connect with one another to solve problems or monitor their governments are less effective, less democratic and less resilient than those that do.

    In very poor schools, kids often stop believing they can succeed. They no longer try to start clubs. Similarly, in societies that have been torn apart by war or authoritarian rule, people often lose faith in their ability to improve their situation. The goal of our work is reigniting that confidence and reactivating people’s capacity to solve their own problems. One key is finding change agents — organizations or individuals who can help rebuild people’s confidence. We try to identify change agents, train them and help them organize to improve schools, the government, the environment or whatever their communities need.

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