BENEFITING: Search for Common Ground
ORGANIZER: Search for Common Ground
Search for Common Ground wrote -
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Why do we believe we can end violent conflict? Especially with reports of riots, gun violence, domestic abuse, and civil war filling the news each night.
We believe because of Innocent. Innocent – a Rwandan genocide survivor, slashed by machetes 15 times and grieving 36 murdered family members – did not become friends with the man who had hunted him by singing Kumbaya. He did so by searching within himself, finding the strength for a new answer, and then beginning a small business with his former enemy. Every day, he chooses to forgive instead of retaliate.
We believe because of Aliou. Aliou – the former leader of a youth gang known for their violence in Kindia, Guinea – turned his gang into a youth association committed to making peace in their community through music. Aliou and his friends now channel the potentially dangerous energies of unengaged youth in their hometown toward constructive activities. They opened the first local recording studio, encouraging youth to create music with messages of peace and social conhesion. Then they started a radio station to spread those messages as far as possible.
We believe because of Janet and Fatima. Janet, a Christian, and Fatima, a Muslim, are two young Nigerian girls living in neighborhoods plagued by inter-religious violence for over a decade, claiming thousands of lives. Janet and Fatima, breaking barriers of segregation and stereotype, wrote a play together about the violence and how to change things. Hundreds of students have watched the girls' play, learning from their words and their friendship.
Help unleash the power of people like Innocent, Aliou, Janet, and Fatima to end violent conflict around the world.
About Search for Common Ground:
End Violent Conflict
It's our purpose – Our call to action.
We strive to build sustainable peace for generations to come. We work with all sides of a conflict, providing the tools needed to work together and find solutions. We're an international team, with 83% of our team working locally, in the countries they are from - across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the USA.
The three main avenues we use to end violent conflict are:
Whether at the local or national level, we bring people together across dividing lines to discover and achieve shared goals. We work with those traditionally in power and those without a platform, like women and youth. Examples: leadership workshops, town hall meetings, back channel diplomacy, and more.
While a dialogue affects dozens, media impacts millions. We use media to stir up thoughts and discussions across a whole society about the root causes of violence and how to overcome differences. Examples: TV dramas, call-in radio shows, music videos, comic books, and more.
We provide a safe space for people to work out their conflicts at the local level. With some creative thinking, we bring divided communities, neighbors, and families together to discover their common humanity. Examples: participatory theater, shared business ventures, soccer matches, and more.
At the end of the day, we believe that conflict and differences are inevitable. Violence is not.