Community Peace Building
In traditional Sri Lankan communities, conflicts were resolved through a process of dialogue and consensus, but over the past 30 years, this culture of dialogue has been replaced by a culture of violence in both the north and the south of the country. Disappearances, political violence and personal jealousies have taken some of our brightest students, civil society leaders and politicians. These experiences have taught the younger generation that problems are resolved, not through dialogue and consensus, but through threats and shows of forces, through suicide bombs, tanks, and guns.
We do not see peace as the absence of war. Peace is a continuous, dynamic and participatory process. Peace means encouraging dialog, honouring human dignity, rights and equality and solving problems in a spirit of respect, mutual understanding and cooperation. Each of us can work on building peace in our hearts, our homes, our communities and our country.
Our community peace building programs focuses on integrating these principles of non-violent social change into all of our operations and programs. Activities include:
Training community workers and civil society leaders in non-violent communication skills, facilitation, mediation, participatory decision-making, community conflict analysis and conflict sensitivity
Ensuring that all emergency response, rehabilitation and development initiatives are conducted in a conflict sensitive manner
Organizing residential training programs and workshops around topics of common interest to bring together community leaders from all over the country
Working with networks of socially engaged clergy
Supporting youth groups and youth initiatives that contribute to non-violent social change
Coordinating residential workshops and training programs for youth leaders from around the country that help to build understanding and relationships across linguistic, religious and regional divides.
Creating opportunities for Sri Lankan civil society leaders to share experiences with people who are working for non-violent social change in other countries