Our Impact in 2017 Peace: The front line is local

Local peacebuilders are taking action every day to keep not just people, but hope, alive.

2017 was one of our most successful years yet, thanks to people like you. Together, we supported 22,393 people to stop war and build peace

Here are some of the highlights.


620 young people at risk of military recruitment were reached and supported to become active promoters of peace.

In the conservative tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we support local organisation Aware Girls, a network of young volunteers dedicated to supporting their peers to turn away from radicalisation and extremism. Through a 'Youth Peace Network' 497 were directly reached through peer to peer education. Aware Girls are raising awareness among young people of alternatives to radicalisation and violence. Given that educational institutions are fertile ground for recruitment into extremist groups, this engagement is critical.


The brutality of the conflict in Syria has shocked the world. 12 sessions in psychological support have enabled 84 people left disabled as a result of conflict to receive vital assistance.

In Syria we support local organisation Zoom In, whose focus is training young people to gain a livelihood and reduce social isolation. Zoom in equipped a dedicated vocational training centre and ran training courses for over 80 disabled people, with courses from mobile phone maintenance to computer programming.


491 young people were trained to be plumbers, electricians, tailors, beauty technicians and office administrators, doubling the number of trainees from 2016.

In 2017 we continued to support our local partner SADO to reach young people at risk of joining al-Shabaab. SADO helped changed the lives of young women like Sahra, whose father wanted her to marry a militant fighter, shattering her dreams. Faced with no other option, she ran away to a new city. Thanks to a training programme, Sahra now runs a small tailoring business with three girls she met on a skills training course. She is now free to plan her own future, away from violence and fighting.


We support a network of 162 local activists, who reported on 2,353 incidents of violence collected across all 18 provinces of the country.

Thanks to the far-reaching activities of our local partner's network for monitoring and reporting violence, local activists went on to implement over 150 peacebuilding activities, including negotiating the release of people detained without charge, to youth mobilisation campaigns. Due to the rapid transmission of information from citizen reporters, lives have been saved and tensions have been eased.


The regions of South and West Kordofan still experience high levels of violence. Our local partner focuses their work with local Peace Committees spread across the regions to immediately respond to outbreaks of violence.

In 2017, our local partner implemented 6 rapid response activities to immediately mobilise, mediate and de-escalate tensions which could potentially turn violent. In rural communities, these committees are often the only option to respond to conflict, and they are an important way to prevent further outbreaks, and make communities safer.

"Together, they managed to resolve a dispute between herders and citizens.”

DR Congo

Kakule's story

“My name is Kakule Wassi. I'm 14 years old. I've been attending a vocational training centre for seven months. I'm learning skills to build motorbikes and repair bicycles. The training centre has had a very positive impact on my life, it has changed my mind about joining militia groups.

I almost joined.

So far, I feel well accepted and valued in my community and I'm thankful for the training programme. It has made such a difference in my life."

DR Congo

Across the year in the region of South Kivu, attacks on villages, abductions, mass shootings and entire villages displaced was a common occurrence.

We continued to support our local partner FOCHI to strengthen the resilience of war-affected communities. 606 people participated in agricultural cooperatives, boosting income-generating activities among communities, and enabling families to send their children back to school and pay for health care.


Since an outbreak of violence in May 2017 in the city of Marawi, three million people have been forced to flee their homes. The conflict has left a legacy of suspicion and mistrust between Christian and Muslim communities.

We support local organisation KI to tackle prejudice and build peace. We supported a project to empower female ex-combatants to participate more fully in their communities and the wider peace process. 1,202 women took part in training sessions on women's rights and advocacy.

“Joining the women’s group I became more aware of reality and to recognise the things I had been blind to."


President Mugabe departing political office after 37 years has left behind a trail of uncertainty. In this chaotic environment, our local partner worked to address a deeply embedded culture of violence.

Our partner carried out training sessions on conflict transformation with 60 traditional leaders and village heads to ensure communities are resilient in resisting violence. We also held a 'Peace Exchange' in Zimbabwe, to bring together 21 local peacebuilding organisations to analyse the causes of violence and future prospects for peace.

In Sri Lanka, mounting tensions and anti-Muslim demonstrations have continued to stifle the opportunity for dialogue and reconciliation between different religious and ethnic communities. In 2017 our local partner organised a photo exhibition to encourage discussions within the community about difficult issues such as the civil war, religious tensions, and the difficult task of reconciliation.

In 2017 we also began some exciting new projects.

We established new partnerships with effective and innovative local organisations in Nigeria...

In Nigeria we partnered with local organisation, Peace Initiative Network (PIN), based in Kano, northern Nigeria. We will support their training, sports and research activities, working with vulnerable young people to improve their livelihood opportunities and prevent them from turning to violence or groups like Boko Haram.


In Yemen we supported a number of pilot projects with the aim of exploring how civil society can play a role in supporting local peacebuilding efforts in a country bombarded daily by war. This work included an ‘Art for Peace’ project which sought to raise awareness of the effects of the war on children.

...and Mali.

In late 2017, we began working in Mali in collaboration with the national office of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP). We look forward to supporting their aims to increase the sense of security and social cohesion among communities across the country, and to enhance the number of peacebuilding activities implemented by local civil society.

The establishment of new partnerships is exciting for Peace Direct.

It furthers our goal to expand the number of strategic partnerships worldwide and support local people building peace in some of the most difficult war zones in the world.

These are a handful of the powerful stories and statements that our partners shared with us in 2017. As the front cover of this year's report reminds us, local people around the world are are the forefront of action to tackle the causes of violence and rebuild lives after war has torn them apart.

We are grateful for the crucial role you have played in this. Thank you for believing that peace is possible, and that the front line of action is a local one.

To support more incredible people and work like this, visit our get involved page or make a donation today.

Created By
Sarah Phillips


Photo: Greg Funnell, Dania Ali/Stars Foundation/Aware Girls, International Citizen Service, Peace Direct.

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