Peace work worldwide

Whether in Sudan, East Congo, Timor-Leste or Columbia, civil wars and similar conflicts are smouldering in many of the world’s crisis zones, leaving in their wake highly traumatised societies and fragile states – for the most part unheeded by the rest of the world. In other countries, conflicts over resources and other contentious issues are coming to a head, increasing the threat of violence and war.

Groups with economic, religious or political motivations use violence to advance their interests. The ultimate victims are invariably those people who are already exposed to severe poverty, who end up caught between the fronts or forced to join in the fighting. The Civil Peace Service (CPS) works to resolve conflicts constructively and without recourse to violence – this work is largely of a preventative nature and involves the deployment of specially trained CPS workers to crisis regions. Our development workers assist local partner organisations that work to prevent violence and to help communities come to terms with past violence.

For me, peace is when conflict parties are willing to enter into dialogue during an escalating conflict in order to discuss their points of view and to find problem-solving approaches together.

As a CPS worker, Patricia Henning assists the Peace & Justice Office in the diocese of Kotido in Northern Uganda in the peace work that it undertakes in its communities.

The CPS programme is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Inland and a total of eight organisations active in the field of peace and development work, including AGIAMONDO. Around 20 percent of all AGIAMONDO development workers work in the Civil Peace Service personnel programme.

Responsibilities of development workers in the Civil Peace Service

Development workers in the Civil Peace Service assist local partner organisations in all stages of conflicts: in preventing conflicts, reducing violence and providing post-conflict care. Their central responsibilities include:

  • Communicating methods and concepts of civil conflict management
  • Training local experts
  • Doing away with the notion of an “enemy”, e.g. by developing suitable curricula for schools
  • Strengthening local legal safeguards
  • Providing psychosocial support to victims and preparing them for a peaceful life in society
  • Resocialising former combatants
  • Bringing conflicting parties to the negotiating table and promoting dialogue
  • Enabling disadvantaged groups to voice their concerns
  • Setting up radio programmes which, for example, give people in rural regions a voice as well as promoting dialogue and democracy
  • Training journalists to use reporting to ease tensions rather than increasing them
  • Working to uphold human rights

Partner organisations and development workers are both well aware that lasting peace can only grow from within, i.e. that local people alone can shape and safeguard the peace process. Because of this, peace work activities are primarily partner-oriented and focus on supporting local initiatives that aim to bring about stability and reconciliation. The development workers contribute qualifications, know-how and resources that are not available locally (or not to the same degree). They use their external status (credibility, legitimacy, impartiality, protection) and contribute their personality (working style, creativity, solidarity) to the intercultural cooperation with the local partner organisation.

Interested in working for the Civil Peace Service?

A CPS worker should have the following:

  • Expertise in the field of adult education, management and organisational and individual consulting
  • Knowledge about setting up networks
  • Experience in PR work
  • Skills in planning, monitoring and evaluation (PME)

The CPS also aims to convey Christian values credibly through its concerted efforts. Because of this, our development workers must be a member of a Christian church – for example Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Old Catholics and Roman Catholics.