Nonviolent Peaceforce Receives Grant to Start Syria Project
an article by Mel Duncan, Nonviolent Peaceforce Director of Advocacy and Outreach
Nonviolent Peaceforce has some very exciting news
to share. In December Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP)
received notification of a grant from the European
Union to commence a project in support of people in
Syria affected by the crisis.
Syrian youth standing in the street. Photo by Mel Duncan
click on photo to enlarge
This exciting news comes to NP after almost two
years of program exploration and development,
training for local activists, and relationship building
with Syrian civil society leaders and organizations.
The goal of the NP project is to strengthen Syrian
civil society capacity to protect civilians from
NP will be partnering with Madani, a
Syrian civil society organization promoting a peaceful
and democratic Syria and Cure Violence, a
Chicago-based violence-reduction non-
governmental organization. Through this partnership
we will train and support civilian protection and
violence interruption programs. These programs will
be locally-tailored to fit the context of up to 45
Working in tandem with these organizations, NP will
offer intensive training for Syrian civil society
organizations and leaders across the entire political
These trainings will be followed by ongoing support
and consultation with the local Syrian groups, as
plans are implemented in the areas they
serve. Periodically, we will bring people together to
reflect on their experience, identify lessons learned,
and strengthen relationships among each other.
Nonviolent Peaceforce believes that a strong and
active network of civil society organizations, working
across political, religious, and ethnic boundaries,
provides a foundation for a future pluralistic and
peaceful Syria. When appropriate and safe, we will
consider sending in international unarmed civilian
protectors to further this mission.
The project, scheduled to begin in April 2015, will
last for three years.
While the EU project will cover operational costs, we
need donations to help with the start up. We will be
sending a development team by the end of January.
To help the Syria project get started right please
(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for
Question(s) related to this article:
Can peace be guaranteed through nonviolent means?,
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Latest reader comment:
We have the advantage of an independent evaluation of the Nonviolent Peaceforce initiative in the Philippines conducted by Swisspeace. The evaluation is very favorable, although in the end, as one reads through it, gets the impression that such initiatives can help but cannot bring peace by themselves.
Here is the executive summary:
Nonviolent Peaceforce in the Philippines can look back at more than two years of unique, relevant contributions and constructive engagement in one of the most difficult, political and volatile, contexts to work in: Being the only international non-governmental organization working with and living in close proximity to the most conflict-affected population in Mindanao, NP in the Philippines was able to support and enhance local structures of cease-fire monitoring, early warning, cross-community dialogues, human rights protection, to offer civilian protection and help to reduce the high levels of community violence.
The accepted offer to NP in the Philippines in late 2009 by the conflict parties GRP and the MILF to join the International Monitoring Team1 (IMT) and its Civilian Protection Component is a direct expression and result of its successful contributions to non-violence and violence reduction of the last two years.
To keep up the important work of NP’s project in the Philippines in the years to come, it is essential to ensure that the activities and objectives of NPP are based on a strategically and conceptually sound footing. This seems even more important given that NPP is going through a remarkable consolidation and expansion phase at the time of report-writing.
The re-focus on its key mandate, strengths and strategic advantages in Mindanao gives NP the opportunity to further enhance its unique work in the area of nonviolence, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.