Well, the first thing to remember is that Proactive Peace Work is probably already happening in your community, so it doesn’t need to be ‘invented’ in that sense. But maybe you want to tell the story of your community’s action. Or maybe you’re looking for ways of improving your Proactive Peace. Or maybe you want to make a case for funding, or resources. Or maybe you want to get your head around how disparate actions are able to work together, for peace. Whatever your reason, I hope that this post can be a helpful guide for thinking practically about your community’s Proactive Peace work.
To be clear from the beginning though, there is no one formula for how to go about it. There are different ways of going about it that will be unique to your culture, time and place. What’s more, to be done well, the process relies on community integrity— on honestly reflecting on how things are (the good and the bad), and on capturing the nuances and the diversity of your community’s situation. No blog post or set of steps can guarantee that for you. What this post will do though, is to outline a general approach, that might be a useful way to get started.
At its core, Proactive Peace is pretty simple really. There are just three main things that you want to end up knowing, to get a picture of your Proactive Peace Work as it stands. These are:
Your next steps can be as complicated or as simple as you like. It could also be the case that risk-factors are beyond your control. Perhaps try and come-up with short-term solutions, or interim measures, to mitigate the effects of the risk-factor, whilst longer-term solutions, such as activism campaigns or legal cases, are established.
I use the word ‘actions’ quite a bit. So just to clarify, when I say ‘actions’, I mean anything that is addressing a conflict risk-factor, regardless of what that looks like in your community.
It could range from an activist campaign, to a lawsuit, to cultural practices, to a social program, to infrastructure, to community networks and relationships, to storytelling, to existing laws, to influential individuals, to particular events, to political parties, to land-holding title systems, to businesses, to education programs to….well you get the idea…..the list is endless, and the specifics will always be unique to your community.
Just remember: It’s important that your actions aren’t in competition with one another. Don’t get so fixated on how one action successfully addresses a particular risk-factor, that you don’t notice how it is making other risk-factors worse.
For those wanting more detail…
This is just an idea for one way you could go about answering these questions. The table below, is to give a visual, of how each of these questions is connected.
Again, I would really encourage you and your community to develop your own way of exploring what your Proactive Peace Work looks like, and designing your next steps to try and strengthen and improve it. You’ll be the ones in the best position to know how to go about doing this in your context. Still, for those who would like even more detail, this is an example of some steps you could follow.
P.S. Keep an eye on this blog. As I get further through my research, I will share what I find about community Proactive Peace Work. There might be something in it that is useful for your community.