Peacebuilding usually focuses on elite-level negotiations. However, without social change at the grassroots level, this is unlikely to achieve sustainable peace. Instead, interventions at the community level are needed. This involves helping communities understand the nature of a conflict, their role in perpetuating it, and how a shift in their attitudes and actions can bring lasting peace.
GraceWorks Myanmar's (GWM) work in everyday peacebuilding is ground-breaking and world-leading. This includes the training and equipping of village leaders as ‘everyday peacemakers’, rather than the unsustainable top-down approach from government.
One of the ways we do this is through participatory arts activities. These create spaces outside of daily living where people can safely talk about taboo issues and begin to imagine new ways of acting and thinking.
In regions affected by deep poverty and conflict, peacebuilding and community development need to work hand in hand – and this is what we are trying to achieve. As such, we see peacebuilding as an integral component of the community development education (CDE) work we do in conflict-affected areas.