For it isn’t enough to talk of peace, one must believe in it.
And it isn’t enough to believe in peace, one must work at it.
Over the course of history, society, economy, and political affiliations have all exhibited devastating impacts sought on by violence in conflict. As seen in the media, violence in all forms, whether it be direct violence or structural violence, have had reoccurring themes of halted or negative development and have been linked to psychological trauma in those who have personally witnessed or been a victim of violent acts. Although conflict is inevitable in a world with a variety of different cultural beliefs, political systems and resource availability, there are a variety of ways in which conflicts can be resolved without resorting to the use of violence. Within many fragile contexts, or "state structures that lack political will or capacity to provide the basic functions needed for poverty reduction, development and to safeguard the security and human rights of their population,” (OECD DAC, 2007), communities have maintained impressive resiliency qualities. Through the development of community-based peace building organizations, communities that exist within fragile contexts would have the tools to maintain resiliency and sustainability during violent conflicts.
The term peace building was originally coined by Johan Galtung in the 1970’s and has since been redefined by several international institutions and NGOs (United Nations, 2007). In 1992 the UN adopted the term from the Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s report, An Agenda for Peace, which defined it as an action to solidify peace and avoid relapse into conflict (Boutros-Ghali, 1992). Institution have implemented ranges of peace building styles including, but not limited to: security, socioeconomic recovery, multimedia, communication, civic education, traditional justice, reconciliation, and heritage and cultural preservation. Within all forms of community-based peace building, the role of the institution is imperative; an affiliated institution acts as an intermediary between community and national authorities by instigating discussions, decision-making and the implementation process (Haider, 2009).
Community-based approaches to peace building are relevant in many different sectors; it is equally applicable in small-scale, grassroots movements as it is in larger, international movements. As it stands, a myriad of actors from the international to state sector and local governments have all utilized peace building strategies to end conflict and promote healthy communication that bridge the gap between conflicting entities. Community-based development utilizes its role in order to foster elements of good governance and provide an inclusive culture that incorporates widely marginalized groups such as women and children, minorities, elderly, disabled and homeless. In order to maintain a state of transparency and accountability, all...