When violence broke out between Christian and Muslim militias in the Central African Republic in 2013, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was able to leverage money from the Complex Crises Fund (CCF) to immediately address the violence.
Peacebuilding is a long-term process that transforms cultures and institutions that generate violent conflict to enable sustainable peace to take root.
USAID contracted the international NGO Mercy Corps to train 391 community leaders from diverse religious and tribal backgrounds in mediation, conflict analysis, and conflict resolution skills. The project also launched 91 economic projects that benefited both Christian and Muslim communities in the Central African Republic.
At the end of the 18-month program, Mercy Corps reported a 451% increase in community members’ perceptions that conflicts were being resolved peacefully and an 178% increase in the number of people who trusted the ‘other’ group within their community. In December 2014, 220 fighters led by 10 separate commanders voluntarily disarmed to support nonviolent social change.
Projects like this prove that peacebuilding is a critical tool in addressing the seeds of violence at the local level. Peacebuilding is a long-term process that addresses the causes of violent conflict by resolving injustices in nonviolent ways. It transforms cultures and institutions that generate violent conflict to enable sustainable peace to take root.
You can find the rest of the September/October Washington Newsletter, including the rest of this article, in the sidebar to the right.