The Peace Building programme focuses on advocating for the development of a home grown national framework for peace, reconciliation and healing in Zimbabwe. The programme envisions a society free from violence and actively promotes tolerance and accommodation of divergent views and opinions in the socio-economic and political spheres. Promotion of dialogue as a means of resolving conflicts is also central to the peace building programme. The peace building programme has since 2009 been mainly implemented under the auspices of the Church and Civil Society Forum (CCSF), a collaborative platform of the church and civil society which is being coordinated by NANGO. The CCSF was mandated with knowledge generation through research, supporting member organisations in creation of awareness on peace related issues at the community level, engaging at a strategic level policy makers and SADC member states to influence the national agenda on peace in Zimbabwe, and to facilitate the building of capacities of both state and non state actors to deal with any future resurgence of violence in the country.
Objectives of the programme
Promote justice, peace and violence prevention through advocacy for the development and realisation of a home grown National Healing and Reconciliation framework developed through a participatory manner involving grassroots communities.
- To strengthen the capacities of the Church, Civil Society and policy makers to engage on issues of peace building.
- To facilitate evidence based advocacy on the development of violence prevention mechanisms grounded on sound research working with communities and the academia.
- To create awareness and encouraging participation of communities in all aspects of reconciliation, integration and violence prevention.
Areas of Work
The Peace Building programme utilises a thematic cluster based coordination mechanism for implementation of activities by the current 25 church and civil society organisations which make up its membership. Member organisations collaborate in achieving the goals of the forum through community mobilisation cluster, the violence prevention cluster, and the capacity building cluster.
Community Mobilization cluster
The cluster activities focus on behavioral and attitudinal change of targeted communities regarding perpetration of violence and the impact intolerance has on the socio-economic development of the society.
Activities in this cluster include:
- Commemorative Events: This seeks to engage local structures to participate in issues of national healing on commemorative days such as the Day of Peace, National Unity Day, Human Rights Day and many others.
- Meet your leader community meetings: These are forums where the community members meet their elected leaders such as the councillor or the MP to deliberate on issues of national healing, reconciliation, prevention of violence and peace building in their community. These dialogues ensure people actively participate in sharing views on how to promote peace and prevent violence.
- Multi stakeholder meetings: These facilitate dialogue between local leadership, the community and other relevant key stakeholders. The aim is to strengthen mechanisms for violence prevention and to clarify steps to be taken for community reconciliation. These meeting facilitate dialogue between local representatives and the community on strengthening mechanisms for violence prevention and on clarify steps to be taken for community reconciliation. Targeted in these meetings include councillors, traditional leaders, political party leaders, security sector personnel such as the police, and government representatives at provincial levels. These meetings are building blocks for developing of core values and local violence prevention mechanisms at the community level.
- Prayer rallies: Prayer rallies can make people relate to their spirituality in order to determine possible actions and interventions that promote peaceful coexistence. This activity promotes values of peace, tolerance, love, forgiveness and unity in individuals, families and the communities.
- Peace concerts and musical galas: They provide avenues for people to come together, interact and “find themselves” while music propagates social values that celebrates unity, peace and justice, giving hope and revival of the self esteem.
- Learning centres for peace initiative: These include national dialogues, essay writing, debates, poetry, music, dance, and theatre and peace clubs. Writing competitions serve trigger people’s creativity to imagine the seemingly impossible-living in a society that is peaceful and successful. Poetic expressions create the requisite spirit for engagements in local community healing and reconciliation interventions.
- Road shows: The road shows provide a social platform for peaceful engagement and edutainment. Themed along the promotion of a peaceful coexistence, they are a reliable platform to bring together youths, women and children, special groups that are rarely prioritized when invitations are sent out to discussion forums.
- Sports for peace: Sports have a liberating effect, they bring different people together and such gatherings are maximized with focus driven towards spreading the message about healing and reconciliation and how individuals can actually contribute towards this noble cause.
Capacity Building cluster
Focus for this cluster is on strengthening the capacity of stakeholder groups to engage effectively in building and sustaining peace at community and national level.
Activities in this cluster include:
- Community Capacity Building workshops: These support and strengthen various Church and Civil Society formations already engaged in community capacity building workshop prioritization being given to the hotspots identified during the violence mapping exercise. The trainings target community leaders such as chiefs, headmen, political party activists, pastors and counsellors.
- Capacity Building Workshops for Policy Makers: Peace building is a long term process demanding the involvement of a multiplicity of stakeholders. Accordingly capacity building of policy makers at the provincial and national levels is critical in order to promote sustainable peace and community cohesion.
Violence Prevention Mechanisms cluster
The thrust of this cluster is to strengthen existing violence prevention mechanisms as well as support the creation of new tools for combating violence both at national and community levels.
Activities in this cluster include:
- Research and Documentation: The aim is ignite debate at community level on violence prevention mechanisms and contribute on the essentials of a national healing framework. The final products will inform advocacy and lobbying initiative of CCSF that target policy makers at both national and community levels. The papers produced will facilitate the building of consensus amongst the Church and Civil Society on the various violence prevention mechanisms available, as well as gather views of communities on the institutional and legal arrangements needed for a credible national healing framework.
- Development and promotion of an Violence Early warning and response mechanism: Statistics show that the levels of politically motivated violence tends to increase during the pre and post election period as political parties increasingly resort to violent means to instil fear in communities to vote for their parties. The absence of a violence early warning mechanism that is broadly accepted by both the Church and Civil Society in Zimbabwe has made it difficult in the past to plan ahead strategic responses in the event of outbursts of violence in the country. The CCSF will adopt an early warning mechanism that will be used to prepare for such eventualities and develop contingency measure to deal with the humanitarian consequences of violence. It is envisaged that part of this mechanism address dissemination and sharing of information, with a central hub being created that will link identified information bases together.
- Dialogue with Policy makers: Dialogue between representatives of the Church and Civil Society and policy makers are created on the development of a credible national healing framework, institutional and legislative imperative for prevention of the recurrence of violence and for peaceful transfer of state power in future elections.
- Regional and International lobby and advocacy: The project supports international lobbying and advocacy initiatives within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as its primary target.
- Briefing meetings and press conferences of the church bodies: The Church leadership have high moral authority and have in the past been able to influence politicians to respect the rights of citizens in times of conflict. Churches reach out to grassroots structures and communities making the Church a suitable entrance point for violence prevention initiatives. CCSF therefore supports the church to hold regular meetings as well as make public positions adopted by the Church that highlight their concerns and positions regarding ongoing human rights abuses and instances of violence.