COVID-19 has had a drastic impact on the way people live, creating an unprecedented reliance on technology as our lives have shifted to the virtual world. Local peacebuilders, who often must rely on vital face-to-face interactions, therefore faced a unique challenge at the start of the pandemic.
In April 2020, Shift Power for Peace – a collaborative initiative between Conducive Space for Peace, Humanity United, and Peace Direct – hosted a series of online consultations with over 400 local peacebuilders from across the world on the effects of COVID-19 on their work. During these consultations, the peacebuilders expressed an urgent need for access to technological tools, knowledge, and other resources to adapt their work in the face of the global crisis. This amongst other resulted in the report COVID-19 and the Impact on Local Peacebuilding, highlighting how to best support peacebuilders during the crisis.
In response, Shift Power for Peace launched Digital Inclusion for Peace, an initiative designed to help local peacebuilders continue their essential role in building resilience in their communities during the pandemic by pivoting their work to be online. The initiative offered vital digital support to peacebuilders by inviting them to apply for small grants through a Digital Inclusion Fund. For six months, the Fund provided grants with an average size of $640 to a total of 233 peacebuilders who were able to purchase tech equipment, software, and internet access.
The latest report, Pioneering Peace: Digital Inclusion and Adaptation in Response to COVID-19, describes the successful impact of the Digital Inclusion Fund and details lessons learned and challenges faced, as well as opportunities for the future. The report also provides key recommendations for future digital support for communities working to build peace.
Shift Power for Peace hopes this report will provide a roadmap for other funders and INGOs to meet urgent needs to sustain the important work of local peacebuilders around the world.
Read the full report in English, French, Spanish or Arabic here.
Learn more about Shift Power for Peace here.