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Creating fairer, more peaceful societies

Across the globe, conflict causes widespread insecurity, poverty, and mass displacement. It uproots the lives of millions of people who are forced to abandon their homes, their livelihoods, and often, their families to survive. Conflict frequently leads to humanitarian emergencies and human rights violations, whilst fuelling further violence in a seemingly endless cycle. 

Our Peacebuilding projects

Funded by the Swedish Government’s International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), our peacebuilding projects engage local communities in fragile places to help them build social cohesion, manage the impact of disasters and build sustainable livelihoods and partnerships for development with local governments. 

We centre the programme on improving the participation of women and young people in local dispute resolution, conflict prevention and peacebuilding processes because they are often the most excluded. Their economic and social marginalisation can end up fueling conflict, but our holistic approach helps women and youth to build sustainable livelihoods that generate a good income.

Islamic Relief also strengthens the capacity of community structures and rights committees to address root causes of conflict and tension, to handle and refer human rights cases, and to train women’s groups in helping members build reliable livelihoods.

The Triple Nexus approach 

The Triple Nexus Approach is at the heart of all our programming, and involves three main areas:

  1. Enhancing community conflict prevention and peacebuilding processes
  2. Helping communities to prepare for disasters and manage their response when they occur, to prevent conflict arising in the aftermath
  3. Building viable livelihoods for the most economically vulnerable to reduce the impact of conflict and prevent further participation in conflict

These three elements compliment one another to support real, sustainable, community-led change.

Examples of our work

Championing Human Rights in Kenya 

In Kenya, reliance on so-called ‘kangaroo courts’ often leaves survivors of human rights violations unable to access justice. Islamic Relief supports human rights defenders in Wajir County, Kenya, who are working to change this situation. Facilitating a human rights group which lobbied for the stalled Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Bill, we helped get this vital legislation passed in January 2021. This led to the establishment of a board that manages funds to support victims of sexual and gender-based violence, and to develop recovery centres for survivors.

In collaboration with the local government, we also trained 20 child protection volunteers to help improve child protection services. Supporting communities to speak out against gender-based violence and child protection issues has seen more than 200 cases reported to the relevant authorities, which has helped reduce the number of early marriages.

“As activists, we will not allow the rights of the young girls, women and children to be violated,” says Sofia, a human rights defender. “We are grateful for the training received from Islamic Relief. I believe we have the right skills and knowledge to tackle the issues of gender-based violence and child protection in Wajir County. This month, we have reported five cases of rape and early marriage.” 

Lady sat in her wheelchair.
Human rights defender Sofia is a child protection volunteer who was trained by Islamic Relief.

Conflict prevention, community dispute resolution and reconciliation in Mali and Niger 

Islamic Relief’s triple nexus programming in Mali and Niger works with Community Hope Action Teams (CHATs) as they develop and implement social cohesion action plans. 

A project in the Circle of Gourma Rharous in Mali, for example, has empowered ten CHATs (consisting of women and men, people with disabilities, internally displaced persons, youth representatives, faith leaders and traditional leaders) by providing them with context sensitive training in social cohesion. The CHATs are supported as they work in their communities to address the roots of conflict and tension by facilitating dialogue, raising awareness, and strengthening inclusive participation in community and administrative structures. 

Empowering vulnerable groups

Conflict frequently results when people and their rights are excluded or marginalised, and when justice is not available for all. 

Supporting community responses to violence and injustice, therefore, not only helps and empowers those most vulnerable, but it is also essential when working towards sustainability  fairer and more socially cohesive societies. 

Read Islamic Relief’s ‘Introduction to Peacebuilding’ publication here, as well as ‘Understanding an Islamic framework for Peacebuilding’. 

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