Local Networks for Peace: Lessons from Community-Led Peacebuilding

Meeting organized by Women for Peace and Good Governance in Badulla, Sri Lanka, 2010. (Sujeewa de Silva/Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH)

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In recent years, there have been increasing calls to ensure local ownership of peacebuilding design and practice, to take local knowledge fully into account in designing peacebuilding programs and assessing conflicts, and to strive for the meaningful participation of local peacebuilding actors. In the search for new approaches to connect local-level initiatives to international programs and to move local knowledge from the bottom up, community-led peacebuilding networks may have a key role to play.

This volume includes case studies of community-led peacebuilding networks in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Kenya, Liberia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe to identify approaches for more inclusive and integrated peacebuilding. These case studies, written by local peacebuilders working in each of the countries, underscore the organizational, political, and financial advantages and risks to operating as part of a broader network.

The aim of this report is to enhance understanding among international peacebuilding practitioners and policymakers of peacebuilding network structures, including their comparative advantages and challenges. In doing so, it aims to guide efforts not only to incorporate local knowledge and expertise into international initiatives but also to identify how these efforts can support and magnify local efforts. By better understanding how local peacebuilding networks operate in their communities, the international community can begin to better understand the challenges local organizations face, how to support and strengthen peacebuilding work on the ground, and how such initiatives contribute to building and sustaining peace.

The chapters in the volume include the following:

  • “Women- and Youth-Focused Peacebuilding Networks in Burundi,” by Senzwesihle Ngubane and Patrick Kanyangara
  • “Lessons from Community-Led Peacebuilding Networks in the Central African Republic,” by Kessy Ekomo-Soignet
  • “Multi-Level Collective Efforts for Building Peace amid Conflict in Colombia,” by Nicolás Chamat Matallana
  • “The Role of Local Networks for Peace in Kenya,” by Stephen Kirimi
  • “Building Networks for Peace in Liberia,” by Aaron Weah
  • “Lessons from Community-Led Peacebuilding in South Africa,” by Masana Ndinga-Kanga
  • “Youth and Women’s Networks for Peace in Sri Lanka,” by Hasini Haputhanthri
  • “Civil Society Organizations Networking for Peace in Zimbabwe,” by Webster Zambara