Peacebuilding from home – a step by step guide to building peace from the comfort of your own home
Most of us are either self-isolating or social distancing right now, making it difficult to continue to engage in our usual activities. To inspire you with tips and tricks on how you can use the extra time you might have on your hands to deepen your knowledge about peacebuilding, we published a guide on how to develop your capacity online last week.
In this second edition of Peacebuilding From Home, we hope to give you ideas and inspiration on how to stay engaged in peacebuilding during these times of social distancing. Of course, we do not encourage anyone to put themselves and others at risk by approaching people outside, but instead we recommend to use the beauty of virtual connections! These young activists demonstrate how easily you can engage in advocacy work in isolation. If that’s not motivating enough yet, maybe we can inspire you to take action with these tips put together:
Sign petitions you believe in
This is the easiest way to show your support towards a specific cause, it doesn’t require any effort except filling in your email address. We will let you explore petition sites (change.org, givey.com, and avaaz.org are just a few from the many you will find online) to find the petitions that truly speak to you. And while you’re at it, why not use your social media outreach to engage in some advocacy work, promoting these petitions to your network?
Donate money to worthwhile causes
Similarly to a petition, donating money to a good cause can be an easy way to support ongoing efforts – if your financial situation allows. It does not require very much effort, and you can decide how generous you would like to be. Maybe think of it as spending the money you saved on not going out for coffee or drinks these past weeks. There are currently many individual fundraisers for people suffering from the financial effects of Covid-19, but you can also choose to donate to a charity or organisation to support their work in general. Maybe a local initiative you care about needs support? Just do a bit of research and find a cause you truly care about.
Participate in online movements
Strikes have now gone online, and it’s so easy to join! Moving from the streets to social media, many movements make use of hashtags and visuals to engage in activism. The classic example is the Fridays for Future movement, led by the iconic Greta Thunberg, but a bit of twitter and instagram research shows that many other activists continue to demonstrate online.
Speak up for what you care about
Become an advocate and make use of your social media channels to promote, inform, or generally just speak up for what you care about. Share articles, news information, websites or resources you find useful so that people around you can benefit from and engage with these topics as well. This is the best way to raise awareness around you right now, and you might end up engaging on these topics with unexpected people, or even collaborate with them on a shared interest! Delving into topics you care about and then sharing knowledge about them is the best way to make new connections with likeminded people – or to start a conversation with people who think differently.
Beyond the online world (I know right, does it still exist??) you may also want to engage in peacebuilding activities in your neighbourhood. With this recent radical change to our day-to-day life, it is important to broaden our understanding of peacebuilding: peacebuilding does not have to take place in a war-torn or conflict-ridden region, it can take place within your own family, shared flat or – if you are not in lockdown – neighbourhood as well.
- You might consider offering your services to your neighbours: buying groceries, cooking something for them, working out together at a safe distance, volunteering with your local initiatives… If you’re based in the Netherlands, the website NL Voor Elkaar can connect you with those who need. Many other countries have similar websites, so just do a bit of research to find local initiatives.
- Make a “donations fence” – in some cities in Germany, people have hung up plastic bags filled with food, clothes, or other objects they do not need so that homeless or underprivileged people may have access to them.
- Volunteering opportunities in certain countries are very nicely mapped out on this website, or more broadly on this one.
- I have also seen people leaving piles of books in public areas with a sign saying “stay safe”, which is also a beautiful gesture that is worth trying out (make sure you disinfect the books though!).
If you are based in the UK you can also check out The Neighbourhood Watch for more information about looking after each other locally.
Whether these ideas on how to stay active speak to you or not – with all the different initiatives and campaigns out there, and with a bit of research done, it’s easy to find a way to engage. Of course, some days we too just feel like hiding from the world, escaping into a good book or a gripping series, or distracting ourselves with our work. But with a bit of (joint) effort we can all contribute to ongoing local initiatives, support campaigns and advocacy work, and ensure no one is left behind during this crisis, that, as so many, disproportionately affects some of us who need our support now.