A Different kind of Legitimacy
Since the Second World War, conflicts have typically been within states, rather than between states. Such conflicts not only scar individuals and communities over generations, but can also create islands of hate.
Since this violence starts within societies, it is important that solutions are also found within them. That is the only way that solutions will last. The indigenous foundations constituting the network can help find solutions because they have local knowledge and provide the appropriate kind of resources to build bridges.
Small indigenous foundations can also provide local linkage and opportunities for international funders committed to peace building and related issues of social justice.
Evidence of Effectiveness
Evaluation studies suggest that members of Foundations for Peace add value by bridging different parts of the community, drawing participation from everyone, and ensuring that the ‘other’ is heard. Based on non-partisan analysis and local understanding, small but strategically placed grants provide the required thrust to encourage the process along. There are many successes. To take just three examples: in Sri Lanka, the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust has supported a youth group to produce a documentary called ‘the Road to Reconciliation’. The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland has enabled the residents of Parkmore housing estate to reduce the influence of paramilitaries, remove sectarian graffiti from walls, and support young people to reduce crime. Nirnaya has empowered tribal women to counter violence in Jharkhand, which is among the worst Naxalite affected areas in India.
Foundations for Peace shares learning through case studies, policy papers, action research, seminars and conferences, as illustrated on our website.
A Means of Support and Sharing
While the peace building initiatives are essentially local, the efforts benefit enormously from transnational experience and external support. As small foundations, we continue to need the ongoing support of external donors with a genuine interest in peacebuilding, social justice and conflict resolution work.
Full membership is open to independent, indigenous, activist grantmaking foundations currently working in divided societies and addressing issues of peacebuilding, social inclusion and social justice. However, other individuals and organizations are very welcome to support and guide our work and to benefit from our activities by becoming associate members.