Peacebuilding and reconciliation
Currently 40 countries and 100 million people are under threat from conflict, ethnic violence or internal strife. Poverty, inequality and natural disasters are the major causes.
Since 1989 there have been 103 armed conflicts worldwide, 97 of which were internal. War and violence prevent development and in many cases reverse previous social and economic gains.
Over 90 percent of all war casualties are civilians, with women and children suffering most disproportionately.
Communities affected by war and violence need help fostering the conditions necessary for peace.
Our Caritas approach
Caritas Australia’s peacebuilding and reconciliation programs are conducted in countries involved in both domestic and international conflicts. We also work at a local level on domestic violence or social stigmas related to rape – which is increasingly being used as a weapon of war – and HIV/AIDS.
Caritas Australia’s response
Caritas Australia and our partners are currently involved in peacebuilding and reconciliation programs in Brazil, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Papua New Guinea and more.
- Movimento de Defesa do Fevelado (MDF) trains youth to be peacebuilders in Sao Paulo, Brazil in response to an increasing number of children becoming involved in drugs, organised crime and murders. It is hoped these trainees will become the next generation of leaders in their communities.
- The Centre for Communication Training trained 531 people in non-violent communication techniques in Sri Lanka. This program focused on personal transformation and included mediation, peacebuilding and conflict resolution skills which are used to bring divided communities together.
- An integrated peacebuilding program, consisting of community law development, community policing, skills development and community discussions was conducted in the Gor-Nauro community of Simbu Province, Papua New Guinea.
Real life: flowering in the favelas
Caritas Australia’s partner, the Movement for the Defence of Favela Residents (MDF), is changing lives in São Paulo.
Across the city's favelas, up to 70 percent of families experience violence in the home, and there is a dominant gang culture. This culture of violence is closely linked to a lack of self-esteem.
MDF runs workshops in which attendees explore identity, favela history, and issues of drugs, gangs, violence and unemployment. The program promotes peace so young people can attain education and employment rather than join local gangs.
Maristely, who featured in Project Compassion 2014, is now a young leader with MDF’s Youth Empowerment Program, working to promote peace, improve access to basic facilities and increase citizens’ awareness of their rights and dignity. Read more about Maristely and the program.