Zambia, in southern Africa, has been ruled by three parties since independence in 1964. In 2015, Fellowship of Reconciliation Zambia (FORZA) began a project to reduce tension between supporters of rival political parties. Worried by a growing number of violent clashes, and a fear that the 2016 Zambian elections could be ‘the bloodiest if nothing is done’, FORZA developed training in active nonviolence and peaceful coexistence, and set up spaces where people could come together to meet peacefully. Thanks to a grant from the International Peacemakers’ Fund, the project was a success.
A centrepiece of their work was to train young adults (aged 18-35) from different parties, who were often poor and poorly educated, and felt marginalised and excluded. Over the course of three days, they learnt how to run election campaigns and debates, educate and mobilise voters, and of the importance of accepting multiple political viewpoints. These practical examples of nonviolent behaviour were welcomed by participant Moses Kanyambi, a member of one of the newest opposition parties in Zambia, who said “This training has really helped me appreciate the fact that we need to respect divergent views without resorting to physical confrontation. What we have learned here is that even with serious differences, there are always nonviolent means to deal with the situations. Even if these differences are with the party in government…”
Members of the governing party were there. One of them, Lane Sakuwunda, said afterwards, “This training has made me realise that as young people we need to play an important role in the affairs of the country and not to be perpetrators of violence. I have learned very important skills such as the steps of organising a nonviolent action and the various forms of nonviolence at my disposal as a youth politician… despite our young ages, we are not leaders of tomorrow, but leaders of today.”
Moses added: “It is a rare chance for young politicians to exchange ideas and positive aspects about our various organisations… I will carry the knowledge I have acquired from this training back to my constituency and spread the word that as youths we should refrain from political violence but instead continue to preach and practice tolerance and acceptance of divergent political views…”
Thanks to people like Lane and Moses, the election passed largely peacefully and disagreements took place in the ballot boxes and courts, not on the streets.
Peace Embassies in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The Kivu District of the DRC suffered not only the First Congo War but the Second (also known as the Great War of Africa as it involved so many other African nations) and subsequent Kivu Conflict. Decades of armed violence has continued to oppress the peoples of this area in such a way that is impossible for modern westerners to fully comprehend. There are incredible grassroots organisations doing work to build a peace, through reconciliation and forgiveness. Femmes et Education des Adultes (FEDA) were one such organisation. The IPF supported their bold Peace Embassy Program, that traveled from village to village creating spaces, ‘Embassies’, through which people got to tell their stories of suffering, meet with the perpetrators, and find common ground through forgiveness. The embassies offered those seeking to re-integrate back into society and those who suffered cruelly at the hands of those fighting a way to co-exist in peace.
Madam Madina Lontina was one such Peace Embassy participant. Her story is so remarkable that I’m going to use her words:
“Our village was attacked by rebels. My husband and sons were taken by the rebels and accused of being collaborate with government all of them killed. Our memory of this loss is till painful to us especially as this has been perpetrated by members of our neighboring families well known to us.” After attending a Chamber (Embassy) of Peace in her village of Buma, Madam Lontina had this to say:
“We are touched by the power of forgiveness. Thanks all youth who conducted peace and non-violence awareness. We went to the chamber for peace in order to solicit it to call our neighbors for discussion. Thanks, they came, that was the occasion for us to talk to them what occurred as we identified them during the attack. It was very sad for us to see them, but through the work of the mediators all went peacefully organized. Finally we forgiven them, now are coexisting and helping each other.”
Just as it is hard for me to relate to the level of suffering Madam Lontina endured, her willingness and ability to tread the path of forgiveness and reconciliation strikes me as nothing short of miraculous. May her decision to do so inspire many others caught in the surrounding conflict, that unfortunately continues to this day.”
Making Peace in the Holy Land
*IPF Local Partner: Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre
IPF Project: Wi’Am YOUTH and CHILDREN Projects. Empowering Youth Initiatives & the Spirit of Voluntarism
Peacemakers Zoughbi Zoughbi – Wi’am Director
IPF partners with Wi’am – The Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre in the heart of Bethlehem. Wi’am is a grassroots organization that strives alongside other democratic forces present in the community to build a culture of nonviolence and promote cross/inter-cultural dialogue.
Their aim is to improve the quality of a variety of relationships in the Palestinian community by: addressing injustices rather than avenging them; dignifying persons on both sides of the conflict; and promoting human rights and advocating for peace among all people.
They also strive to build a democratic and pluralistic society with a focus on active youth participation in community building and the use of non-violent methods to deal with conflicts.
*Wi’am focus on experiential learning, creative involvement, appreciative inquiry and perspective building through interactive workshops, trainings and discussions in conflict transformation, non-violent communication, leaderships skills, mediation and voluntarism as a way of life. These include role-plays, case studies, simulations, group activities, small and large group discussions, personal inquiry and input sessions.
Wi’am Director Zoughbi Zoughbi says:
“The Israeli- imposed closure of Jerusalem creates enormous hardships in Palestinian society.
“People lack the means to meet the basic needs of their families, feeding the cycle of violence on every level of society. As a result of these problems, we are facing a growing demand for the work of Conflict Resolution, Mediation and Reconciliation.”
“We are like an Olive tree, with its roots deeply rooted in the ground, and branches that reach out to the world. Our words produce more than sound, they walk tall to the four corners of earth. For some, the day to day activities are only part of the job, but here-it is a commitment to serve and enrich the community relationships to be an integral part of the future and change.”
And loads more, starting with the most recent (pictures to come):
Location: Tel-Aviv-Yaffo, Israel
Peacemaker: Nimrod Evron – New Profile fundraiser
Local partner: New Profile
Project: Alternative Summer Camp for Youth (ASCY)
The ASCY addressed the different conflicts in Israeli society and tried to encourage critical thinking in youth, by presenting an alternative to militaristic values and to a militarised society. ASCY exposed over 100 youths a per to open discourse on the Israeli occupation of Palestine, on militarism and its effects on the youth, on gender and LGBTQ, on animal rights and environmental issues, and encourages youth to learn and explore nonviolent methods of activism to change the reality around them.
ASCY also created an alternative demilitarised nonviolent environment in which young Israelis could meet their peers, and together to create an alternative way of thinking and acting. It included workshops dealing with different social and political issues, speakers from different nonviolent activist groups and NGOs, film screenings about grassroots activism, a tour to witness nonviolent activism at work and many other activities.
The grant covered training costs for staff, including much-needed feminist facilitation and critical pedagogy skills.
For more information on New Profile, visit http://www.newprofile.org/english
Palestine (story from top of the page)
Peacemakers Zoughbi Zoughbi – Wi’am Director
IPF Local Partner: Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre
IPF Project: Wi’Am YOUTH and CHILDREN Projects. Empowering Youth Initiatives & the Spirit of Voluntarism
The Youth projects consist of weekly meetings and workshops, enabling the Wi’am Center to reach between 30 and 50 youth on a consistent basis, providing opportunities to discuss and learn about topics such as Non-Violence, Democracy, Human Rights, Dialogues of Cultures and Religions, Gender Issues, Civil Society Empowerment, International Perspectives, Regional and Global Issues, Justice, Reconciliation, and Community.
Often these meetings and workshops are conducted by young people themselves. Wi’am encourages the youth to take the opportunity to initiate and conduct trainings themselves within the Civil Society.
More info: http://www.alaslah.org/
Location: Gampaha District, Ragama, Western Province, Sri Lanka
Peacemakers: Susila Silva – Chairperson
Local Partner: Darshanodaya / Interfaith Fellowship for Peace and Development
Project: Gender Mainstreaming in Interfaith Fellowship for Peace and Development
More info Darshanodaya / Interfaith Fellowship for Peace and Development
The training program provided training and ongoing support for 24 women who are presently active in their communities. The training helped develop leadership skills and also focussed on cultural awareness and women’s’ rights.
The training, taking place over three years, covered a range of community, activist and leadership skills and enabled the women to be agents for change especially in the spheres of Human (women) rights within their own community and also at district level.
The largest group in the February training came from the war-ravaged Vavuniya district (a mixed Tamil and Sinhalese community in North Sri Lanka) and the knowledge and skills gained from the program has already helped these women leaders to act as catalysts among affected people in the area.
Location: Russian Federation, North Caucasus, the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Prigorodny District, Russia
Local Partners: Civic Assistance Committee
Project: Conflict prevention and Harmonization of Interethnic Relations in Ossetian and Ingush Society
The project was aimed at the transformation of conflict, conflict prevention and improvement of the psychological atmosphere in two of the most problematic villages where Ossetian and Ingush live separately. They worked with teenagers, teachers, school administrations, parents, and heads of local administration in these villages to restore and strengthen horizontal ties between the local communities, and to increase multicultural education and trust-building among the two ethnicities involved in the conflict.
Specific project objectives:
1. Restoration of communication between young people and teachers in villages with a mixed population – Chermen and Tarskoye.
2. Establish contacts between the children from segregated schools, and ethnically-mixed schools, to share a positive experience of communication and cooperation, and develop tolerance.
3. Enrich the children’s outlook through the teaching of filming and editing skills, and acquaintance with the cinema world, and village history and culture.
4. Strengthen cooperation with schools through involving schools in a film-making competition.
The main target audience of the project were children and teenagers from segregated schools in the villages of Tarskoye and Chermen in Prigorodny District, and the children from the ethnically mixed school in Kurtat.
More info on Civic Assistance Committee www.refugee.ru
Peacemakers: Joy K. Mbaabu – Executive Director – Amani Communities Africa
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
IPF Local Partner: Amani Communities Africa
IPF Project: Basic Non Violence Training for University Students
The grant from IPF enabled ACA to do two main things: 1) Carry out a base line survey across fifteen universities based in Nairobi into the extent and use of non violent strategies and techniques in conflict resolution and 2) Initiate a three day training course for students drawn from seven Nariobi campuses in February 2009 covering basic non violence understanding and skills.
The objectives of the training were to ground the participants in the philosophy, history, principles and practice of nonviolence as a tool for social change; to give them some tools and skills in using non violence, to help them identify resources and build a sense of community and to prepare an action plan for an upcoming situation – such as how to respond to a demonstration moving towards violence, as well as how pass on their knowledge and skills.
‘I am inspired by Martin Luther and Mahatma Gandhi’s works, all it takes is strategy, courage and selflessness ‘ – Carol Mithi, participant.
‘Amani Communities Africa, Thank you! You have ignited a spark in me, instilled a skill in me and I am charged and ready to act in a nonviolent way. I want to lead by example’. – Felix Kimathi, participant.
For more info: www.acafrica.org
Pakistan 2008 and 2009
Location: North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Pakistan
Peacemakers: Raza Shah Khan
IPF Local Partner: Sustainable Peace and Development Organization (SPADO)
IPF Project: 2008 – Peace Building through Youth Engagement
IPF Project: 2009 – Capacity Building and Promoting Tolerance and Non-Violence in NWFP and FATA of Pakistan
Project details: 2008/9 Peace-building Through Youth Engagement.
The involvement of youth and religious scholars in the context of promoting peace and non-violence under Islamic teachings has been a success in meeting the objectives of this project. The activities resulted in developing a first ever Peace Manual under Islamic teachings in Pakistan and through two training workshops educated 118 youth from NWFP and FATA on peace, tolerance, mutual co-existence and non-violence. The past project has provided the basis for future interventions and built the capacity of SPADO to work more effectively in future.
Project details: 2009 Capacity Building and Promoting Tolerance and Non-Violence in NWFP and FATA of Pakistan
The proposed project aims at utilizing the Islamic Peace Manual developed in collaboration with FOR England for promoting peace and non-violence in NWFP and FATA. SPADO has targeted selected teachers, Imams of mosques and madrassas and youth leaders to be trained on the peace manual and then encouraged to utilize it in their teachings and spheres. The major objectives of the project were:
To train and educate 50 selected Imams of the mosques and madrassas on the Islamic Peace Manual and then encourage them to promote non-violence in their Friday sermons and teachings
To train 50 selected teachers of schools and colleges on the Islamic Manual and then encourage them to promote peace and non-violence in their teachings
To actively involve the 10 youth resource persons who were trained in the previous project in the training sessions so that they could act as trainers in future for the youth
To translate the peace manual into local language so that the maximum number of people can understand and benefit from it
To arrange an essay contest on peace and non-violence among the schools in NWFP and FATA in order divert the attention and interest of children and youth from conflict and violence which they have seen towards non-violence and peaceful resolution of conflicts.
To compile the outcomes and recommendations of the project into a report and then disseminate it to the government, policy makers, religious scholars and international organizations in order to provide a productive input at policy level
The project produced trained and involved Imams, teachers and youth which in turn contributed to educating and promoting tolerance and non-violence to hundreds of local communities. The project highlighted the significance of religion as a means for peace not violence among the local and international communities. Lastly, the project provided guidelines and recommendations to the government and others interested in non-violent resolutions of conflicts both within and among the societies.
More info: http://spado.org.pk/
Zambia 2007- 2009
Location: Kitwe, Copperbelt Province, north central Zambia.
Peacemakers: National Training Coordinator – Mr Ignatius Kabale Mukunto.
Mr David Chisanga – FORZA National Chair
Local Partner: Fellowship of Reconciliation Zambia (FORZA)
Projects: Active Nonviolence Project
More about – FORZA http://wwww.ifor.org/FORZA.html
Or else http://www.lokashakti.org/pages/viewgroup/687-Fellowship+of+Reconciliation+Zambia
2007 – The Active Nonviolence Project
Following the 2006 national and local elections in Zambia, International Peacemakers Fund (IPF) was approached by FORZAM to fund a training workshop with the intention of introducing students from the Copperbelt region to active non violence as a means of social transformation. FORZAM felt that many students, disenchanted with the limited educational and employment opportunities that are available are susceptible to violence both as the usual tool for expressing their disenchantment and also because they often experience violence from their elders, both within and outside of college, as a means of dealing with conflict.
As David Chisanga chair of FORZAM said – “If past elections are anything to go by, including that held in 2006, the big challenge is how to prepare young people to participate peacefully in democratic elections. Young people are co-opted into political organizations, and taught violent and brutish behaviors. They are given large amounts of alcohol, political party T-shirts, and cash to intimidate, harass, and brutalize political opponents. Students in schools and colleges are deliberately targeted for these ends.
Through the trainings and consultation in the Active Nonviolence Project, FORZA M ‘will identify & tackle the root causes of this violent culture by equipping youth participants with nonviolent techniques and communication skills for dealing with conflict.’
Five days covering an introduction to the principles of active nonviolence, the basis of faith-based nonviolence (from six religious viewpoints), achieving nonviolent social change, leadership and power, and applying nonviolence to situations in the students own lives.
FORZA were pleased with the student’s enthusiasm and appreciation of the training and subsequently applied to IPF for funding for further training. 35 participants (14 male and 21 female, including 7 teachers). The students came from nine schools and were from year grades eight to eleven.
2008 – Active Nonviolence handbook
A similar format was used for the training carried out over five days in October 2008. The 24 students and 9 teachers (21 female and 12 male) came from nine schools in the three Copperbelt towns of Mufulira, Kalulushi and Lufwanyama.
The training was co-facilitated by three senior members of FORZAM, Mr. Chisanga, Mrs. Kalonga, and Mr. Mukunto.
Through the training FORZAM has increased its visibility to teachers and schools in the region and many schools have expressed an interest in this work as there are so few peacebuilding advocates in learning institutions. FORZAM hopes to be able to offer this training to students in other towns in the region.
The IPF grant supported the design, production and distribution of a training manual suitable for young social activists in Zambia who wanted to lean about the principles, methodology and application of non violence.
The projects is dedicated to “All the young people of Zambia and the Copperbelt Region in particular who feel the need to stand up and speak out against any form of injustice that impedes the improvement of their welfare and respect of their inalienable rights. And furthermore wish to ‘fight for’ and ‘realise’ these two fundamental aspects of their lives through non-violent means.”
2009 – On-going,
Local Partner: FOR Zimbabwe
Project: Focal Point & Nonviolence Education Training Project (NVETP) Three one-day Youth Workshops
The ‘Nonviolence Sensitisation and Awareness Project’ (NSAP) grew out of the training carried out by FORZAM over the previous two years. This project, designed to run throughout 2009, was aimed at engaging teachers and students, encouraging them to lobby and work for the inclusion of Nonviolence Education and Training in the curriculum.
The events throughout the year included meetings with stakeholders to consult and review the aims and strategies of NSAP, exhibition days in participating schools and reviewing and publishing the results of the year’s activities. Three Youth Peace Clubs were established in each district, totalling 3,800 members, with monthly meetings. There were120 Youth participants in 3 workshops. A Provincial Task Force of local community leaders was created to expand number of trainings in the district.
The Fellowship of Reconciliation Zimbabwe (FORZ) has created an exciting new project called “Focal Point”, and is engaging Zimbabwean Youth in a unique combination of both Active Nonviolence and Poverty Reduction Training.
This year, FORZ have selected some 25 young men and women for training in garment making, book-binding, and metal fabrication. FORZ provides materials, pays for school fees, and helps with transport for the students. FoR England’s International Peacemakers Fund has provided some financial support for the last 2 years to meet these costs, and continues to raise funds for this essential work.
While grounding the students in the principles and practice of Active Nonviolence, the project will enable them to start their own businesses, rather than struggle to find employment in an economy where 80% are unemployed. The project’s goal is to free the students from the crushing poverty and economic exclusion that can lead to rising youth violence, and will give them the economic independence and nonviolent skills to transform their communities.
Akadim Chikandamina E: firstname.lastname@example.org
T: +263 457 2538
More info: http://www.lokashakti.org/pages/viewgroup/734-Fellowship+of+Reconciliation+Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe peacemaker briefing: http://www.for.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/PB3WEB.pdf
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Local Partners: War Resisters’ International and House of Peace St. Petersburg
Project: An initiative for Nonviolence in Russia and Chechnya: Training for Russian and Chechen activists in nonviolence
The project, carried out in 2009, linked 20 young activists from Russia and Chechnya committed to a year-long process of work on nonviolence. This work fostered nonviolent ways of working and included nonviolence training, preparation of written training materials in Russian, and the formation of a long-term nonviolence working group as well as. This led to the creation of a core group of Russian and Chechen trainers in nonviolence. It is hoped that their continued work will reduce the amount of violence in the Russian and Chechen activist cultures, as well as widen the discussion of the role that violence plays in their societies.
More info on War Resisters’ International www.wri-irg.org
More info on House of Peace St. Petersburg www.peacehouse.ru/org-en.htm
Location: Great Lakes Region, at Kigali, Rwanda
Peacemakers: Jean-Pierre Massamba – the founder and president of MIR Congo and Maria Biedrawa – co-president of MIR France
Local Partners: Umuryango w’Amahoro/Famillies de Paix and Mouvement international de la Reconciliation
Project: Regional Workshop for Nonviolence in Great Lakes Region, at Kigali, for NGOs from 5 countries (Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Uganda and Tanzania)
Mouvement international de la Reconciliation (MIR) is the French branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR). More info at http://mirfrance.org/
Umuryango w’Amahoro/Famillies de Paix is also affiliated to IFOR.
3. The Project – Regional NGO workshop
The theme for the workshop was ‘Building hearts and Houses of peace in order to act in large family of peace in great Lakes Region’ and it took place over 6 days at the end of January 2008, in Kigali. There were 35 participants (7 female and 28 male) from 20 NGOs working in the Region. Most of the organizations had an explicit Christian background representing at least 5 different churches.
The workshop grew out of the desire of 40+ NGOs who are working in the Region, some for over 25 years, who have never met together despite all working in related areas of human rights, peace, reconciliation, assistance to victims, child soldiers, political prisoners, refugees and development and were keen to share their experiences and practice of Nonviolence.
The workshop was coordinated by Familles de Paix and supported by trainers from MIR.
PHOTO (on the left)
Peacemakers: Brother Jarlath D’Souza Executive Head Bangladesh Inter-religious Council for Peace and justice (BICPAJ) LINK
Location: Dhaka City, Bangladesh
IPF Project: Non Violence Training for Youth in Conflict Resolution
The Conflict Resolution training took place over 7th 9th August 2008 in BICPAJ’s training center in Dhaka. 31 young people (aged 19 31) took part in the training. Almost half the participants were women, 11 of the participants came from five Districts outside Dhaka City. Six ethnic tribes and four religions were represented.
The training covered the role of Nonviolence, and looked at its context and application within Bangladeshi society. It is anticipated that the young people who are trained will become potential leaders of groups in their home community in economically-marginalized slums located in ethnic tribal areas.
To read more about the work of BICPAJ, Go to http://www.bicpaj.org
Location: Katakwi, Amuria and Moroto districts of NE Uganda
Local Partners: Christian International Peace Service (CHIPS) and Teso Initiative for Peace (TIP)
Project: Promotion of cross-border dialogue in the Karamoja and Teso region of NE Uganda
More info on (CHIPS) http://www.chipspeace.org/projects
More info on (TIP) (http://tesoinitiativeforpeace.com/projects/)
The grant from IPF was used by CHIPS and TIP for a range of peace initiatives throughout the year. The objectives of the grant were to:
Strengthen cross border relationships between Political leaders at different levels.
Increase shared understanding of challenges faced by communities in different Districts.
Increase transparent cross border communication on security incidents/matters.
Identify joint practical activities that would benefit the youth in both communities.
Share and agree jointly appropriate sites for resettlement of Iteso and Karamonjong in border area.
During the autumn of 2007 there was significant flooding throughout Uganda which led to widespread road closure necessitated some changes in how the grant was used compared to how it was planned to be used. The actual outcomes that were achieved were:
Four cross-over meetings conducted from village to county level in addition to many meetings at District level (‘shuttle diplomacy’).
The political relationship between Amuria and Moroto districts has greatly improved.
There has been a positive intervention on security matters in the three districts of Moroto, Katakwi and Amuria.
1 Youth exchange visit in mid-December with almost 40 (mostly male) Teso and Karimojong youths taking part.
Identified joint practical activities which would benefit the Kara-Teso youth.
Possible sites for future border settlements have been identified.
A radio talk show that took place on 14th December with two Teso and four Karimojong participants answering each others’ questions on the conflict, future hope and risks of leaving Internationally Displaced Person camps.
Sudan and Uganda – dual phase project
Location: Southern Sudan, Yei District and Northern Uganda, Gulu Province (PHARP), Amuria, Katakwi, & Moroto, NE Uganda (CHIPS)
Peacemakers: Rev. Felicien Nemeyimana, Sebastien Bukuru and Robert Kennedy Lokuda – Project Manager, CHIPS Uganda
Local Partner: P.H.A.R.P (Peace-building, Healing, and Reconciliation Programme), CHIPS (Christian International Peace Service) and FORTY – Foundation for Youth Transformation
Project: “Return to Peace”: Trauma Healing & Conflict Transformation in Southern Sudan; Reconciliation & Healing for Uganda’s People Traumatized by War; Promotion of Cross-Border Dialogue & Positive Interactions in NE Uganda
Relatives, friends, and communities offered counselling by participants
Bereavement counselling by PHARP training graduates
Pastor, Youth, Teachers, and Mothers Union groups trained by participants (90 people)
Dissemination of training content to Church hierarchy (clergy, bishops etc)
Small group sharing for 2 days nonviolence in the family (12 people)
Inter-denominational mediation meetings in Yei & Morobo (20 people) Episcopal Church of Sudan & Charismatic Church in particular.
Nonviolence Workshop for teachers, health care workers, and 4 serving members of the army (34 people)
Dozens of testimonies of individual use of nonviolence skills in interpersonal realtionships
Parish meeting of Church leaders for 3 churches (24 people)
“…we are grateful for the restoration of peace due to support from the peace builders around the world. We seek your prayers for the years ahead as we plan to expand PHARP’s trainings in the Horn and western regions of Africa. .. As long as there is war in some part of the country like Darfur, resources will be spent on weapons, not on welfare. So trainings on trauma healing process, conflict resolution, peace education and community development are needed in those areas, in order to have a common understanding and a lasting peace…May you be encouraged to be one of the peacemakers and agents of transformation in this world full of anger, violence, confusion, and misunderstanding, which leads to serious conflict.” – Rev. Felicien Nemeyimana PHARP’s Director
PHOTO (on the left)
Peacemakers and local partners The Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado in collaboration with FoR Columbia
IPF Project: Memorial to murdered community leaders & their families
Location: San Jose de Apartado, Columbia
In collaboration with FoR Colombia, in 2006 IPF funded a memorial to the community leaders and their families massacred in 2005 by Columbian paramilitaries.
To find out why the memorial was needed, go to……..
Nobel Peace Prize Nomination for San Jose de Apartado
The American Friends Service Committee has nominated two Colombian groups for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their”extraordinary commitment to nonviolence in the midst of that country’s 50-year-old conflict, and their exemplification of organized efforts by many Colombians to end that conflict justly.”
One of the two nominees is the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado. The community, which declared its nonviolent position in 1997, has been supported since 2002 by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) through its permanent Colombia Peace Presence.
The community says:
“The sense of memory in the community is something that goes deep in us and our principles because this memory is founded on the search to construct to a community of dignity and solidarity. The memorial allows us to remember our former members and from them learn about the society that they wanted to construct, and for which they were killed. “The memorial becomes something intrinsic in our daily live. With it we do not lose our sense of community, and in it we remember our hope for justice. It is the motor of our common life. “We thank IPF for the national and international support to our process and know that many will be united in this construction of the memorial and the dignity it brings our struggle”.
We thank all those involved in nonviolence conflict transformation for their work and witness to peace and wish people involved in the projects above every ongoing success.