How to do culture of peace
(operationalization of culture of peace)

In order to ensure practicality and user-friendly character of the research, the following part will illustrate all key values, principles and actions, which will ensure culture of peace sensitivity within the project team and project cycle.

Action proposed:

Brief discuss on the action:

Values, belief and norms are socially constructed principles that govern one’s life and actions, often reflecting dominant modes of thinking around how to relate to oneself, to others, as well as the environment. These values, beliefs and norms can be subject to transformation upon critical thinking and a willingness to analyse and deconstruct one’s role in reproducing certain dominant modes of thinking and relating.

Mechanisms and tools for action:

  • Critical thinking
  • Analysing self and collective identities
  • Deconstructing existing values, beliefs and norms

Upon critically thinking, deconstructing and analysing dominant values, beliefs and norms a number of possibilities for constructing positive modes of relating to one self, to others and to the environment can be practiced systematically. The suggestions in the second column are tools for obtaining justice without violence, and include a personal practice of being harmless to self and others under every condition, as well as rejecting all forms of violence.

Nonviolence includes communication, dialogue (active listening and empathy) and inclusion as methods. Using nonviolent language is part of this approach, being free from hate speech, free from aggression, anger and violence. This approach does not reject anger as abnormal, rather it suggest tools for not allowing it to transform into violence. Here a core belief is that one starts from oneself, following an approach for demanding respect as a way to defend oneself in a nonviolent way.

This approach is also about being aware of power relations and being mindful of not using power over others in a violent way, but rather sharing power/ power with

Mechanisms and tools for action:

  • Breathing
  • Mindfulness
  • Being aware of self, others and environment
  • Initiating communication
  • Maintaining communication
  • Using Nonviolent language
  • Transformation of anger

Following the adoption of a nonviolent approach, it is imperative to act according to values steeped in nonviolence, respect, open and honest communication, transparency, trust, etc. This implies that one’s behavior will reflect these abovementioned values, beliefs and norms based on rejection of violence as a method of communication/action. In order to sustain such behavior, it is crucial to stay committed to constant reflection and (re)evaluation of violent actions and/or attitudes in the present and the past.

Mechanisms and tools for action:

  • Re-evaluating violent actions in the past and under- standing their consequences on the present
  • Acting based on a commitment to a nonviolent approach of relating to self and to others

Having the intention for transformation of situations where conflict is or can become violent is crucial in working with destructive conflicts. Destructive conflict has a negative intention, it aims to destroy or harm people’s physical and/or psychological wellbeing. It is also a method/process of dealing with conflict in a violent way, meaning that a person, a group or an institution practice cruelty, neglect, control, abuse, harassment, bullying, manipulating, withholding, disrespect, physical harm, emotional harm.

Constructive conflict is a way of having disputes, different ideas, conflicting ideologies, but having space for exchanging different ideas to have positive results. Through this method it is possible to transform differences into something that can strengthen relations (you can agree to disagree without imposing your ideas on others), organizations by strengthening teamwork, trust-building and cooperation. All parties involved in a conflict are responsible for the transformation of that conflict by having the intention to do no harm.

Mechanisms and tools for action:

  • Transparent communication
  • Commitment to honesty
  • Collaboration
  • Dialogue
  • Active listening
  • Not judging
  • Being empathetic
  • Understanding one’s needs and the needs of the other
  • Self-awareness
  • Not projecting onto others

Education is one of the most important mechanisms to encourage critical thinking. However, being educated does not guarantee peaceful and nonviolent attitudes. On the one hand, education can be a source for the change, while on the other, it can be a driver of violent structures. Despite the ambivalent nature of education, universal access to the [primary] education is one of the basic human rights. Within the project cycle it is possible to incorporate the importance of education by providing access to resources, knowledge and exchange as well as encouraging critical thinking.

Mechanisms and tools for action:

  • Providing access to educational materials, non-formal education settings, resources and opportunities on peace and justice
  • Incorporating theories, practices and examples of nonviolence, peace and justice from other contexts into project activities

Respect on its own is not enough when it comes to human rights, it must be translated to action and implementation. This means that wherever there is a violation of human rights, a project must not benefit from it and/or an organization must seek to address it, mitigate it, end it.

Respect of human rights also implies that a project team and a project process progresses with the principles of human rights in mind. Respect means not crossing someone else’s boundaries. Human rights does not mean one is free to do whatever they want, one cannot violate someone else’s right to practice their own rights. All humans have the right to be free from violence, oppression and exploitation.

The main principle should be that each person is entitled to human rights, each person deserves to be treated with dignity. In some communities human rights may need to be translated into value based principles that can be understood by people who are perceiving it as a legal term and believing that it contradicts their cultural values.

Mechanisms and tools for action:

  • Acknowledging and actively practicing basic human rights to dignity, respect and integrity
  • Being mindful of others’ emotional and/or physical borders
  • Not demeaning or dehumanizing someone
  • Treating oneself and others with respect
  • Respecting and implementing worker’s rights, the rights of participants of projects, and the rights of communities an organization works with

Equity regarding gender refers to fair treatment, non-prejudice and justice in gender relations and roles. On a very surface level having a balance of gender representation and participation as well as ensuring that people are not violated, harassed or discriminated based on their gender is crucial as a first step. Additionally, constant reflection on how gender, race, class, sexuality, age, and other markers of identity are reflected, projected and reproduced within any given setting is necessary for the transformation of rigid and oppressive structures.

Mechanisms and tools for action:

  • Being aware of gender roles and stereotypes internally and externally and working to transform harmful gender stereotypes
  • Not discriminating based on gender differences
  • Speaking with non-sexist language
  • Being aware of intersectional realities, acknowledging that gender is not binary and people are not only women and/or men, in addition to belonging to various ethnic, racial, religious, class, sexuality backgrounds
  • Being aware of and acknowledging privileges people have regarding their intersecting experiences/identities
  • Gender budgeting to ensure projects have gender balance/equity

Inclusive and accessible participation is an active process of engaging people, sharing responsibility and decision-making power, operating in a non-hierarchical manner, being inclusive of all relevant actors/individuals for whom a project works for and with and working toward decentralization. When aiming to be as representative as possible it is important not to tokenize people and ask individuals to represent a whole group, but rather create opportunities and spaces that can resonate with a diverse contingency of people who would be able to see themselves in those spaces and attend on their own will.

Mechanisms and tools for action:

Ensuring equal access to information for making informed decisions

  • Creating safe space for all to participate and express themselves
  • Sharing decision making power
  • Outreach and promoting activites in communities that don’t have access to information, not relying on internet only, etc.
  • Empower people to take initiative
  • Sharing responsibility/Ensuring that only one person is not dominating an activity
  • Ensure that spaces are accessible for all and if not possible, find alternatives

Structural violence includes social, political, economic and environmental violation of rights/well-being. Often social change actors, organizations and donors connect development and sustainability with progress in social and economic spheres of influence, however the root causes of inequality and structural violence often go unaddressed.

From a culture of peace perspective transformation of harmful structures and practices within socio-political, economic and environmental fields must be at the centre of the work of undoing culture of violence and the perpetuation of structures that contin- ue to cause environmental damage and disadvantage certain populations.

Mechanisms and tools for action:

  • Being aware and acknowledging privileges of class and social status due to having had access to higher education, economic opportunities, etc.
  • Sharing resources with communities that projects are implemented with and for
  • Empowering members of communities to participate in decision making processes
  • Facilitating access to social and economic benefits for communities
  • Awareness of environmental impact of projects and mitigation of harm to the environment by going paperless, decentralizing activities (stay local) so that there are less flights using fuels, having separate funds in some projects to decrease environmental damage
  • An additional tool aimed at donors would be for the donors to be aware of and demand accountability from companies and/or their states investing in environmentally damaging activities in countries where donors have projects with goals for democracy, freedom. equality, etc.