Peace concerns us all. However, often peace discussions only happen at the highest political level, disconnected from the communities concerned. We aim at providing spaces and opportunities for communities and peace practitioners to discuss conflict dynamics and their needs for peace. These spaces do not only enable communities to discuss contentious issues amongst themselves, it also serves a flow of information between communities and decision makers. The aim of these dialogues is for all the different voices to be heard and local realities being taken into account, resulting in more sustainable and inclusive peace processes.
We organize dialogues and peace conversations in many shapes and sizes, depending on the goal and participants. For example, we organized several ‘Peace Lenses’ with the focus on the Bangsamoro peace process. At these conversations, local civil society and community leaders discussed controversial and difficult issues that emerged during the peace process. The outcomes were shared with key decision makers. Another example is the organizing of a Bitiala series. Bitiala is the Maguindanao word for ‘conversation’. Taking place end of 2015 and beginning of 2016, traditional leaders from Maguindanao and local civil society discussed the role of local culture and religion in the Bangsamoro peace process.
Currently, we are using our track record in creating spaces to discuss contentious issues with several youth groups. With increasing attention on the peace building potential of youth groups, we aim to raise their awareness as actors for peace, locally and nationally.