Peacebuilder's Resource LibraryA step by step guide to building peace from the comfort of your own home
The Peacebuilding From Home initiative started in April as the Covid-19 lockdown encouraged us to become more innovative and engaged in an online format. Our aim is to make peacebuilding accessible for all from the comfort of one’s own home: here you can find our podcast episodes as well as a collection of resources to strengthen your peacebuilding knowledge and skills.
1. Learn to build peace
2. Stay engaged
3. Inner peace
4. Remote working
1. Grow your peacebuilding capacity
As a peacebuilding organisation that builds on togetherness, communication, and collaboration we know all about the struggle of working from home right now. Practising peacebuilding from home and staying engaged and motivated during this stressful time can be difficult, but we are all in this together. So instead of working on the launch of several activities and events right now (don’t worry, not canceled just postponed!), we will over the next weeks provide you with tips and tricks on how to continue your peacebuilding efforts from your bedroom, kitchen table, or wherever you are social-distancing right now.
You might not be attending any trainings or networking events right now so connecting with like-minded people is difficult (but not impossible, but more on that later!)… But with a lot of time on your hands, and access to the internet you can use these weeks to build your capacities and educate yourself on topics that are important to you. We put together a list of activities and resources that can inspire you, motivate you to actively engage, and boost your peacebuilding skills.
Quarantine “youth peacebuilding” reading list
During times of social distancing, many of us find ourselves with extra time on our hands. Why not use this time to learn more about peacebuilding practices and dive deeper into the youth, peace, and security agenda? Whether you are new to the field and want to get first insights into the practice, or whether you want to deepen your knowledge, here is our go-to list of collected resources and reading materials.
Take free online courses
Online courses are a more challenging but also effective way to learn something new or deepen your knowledge on a specific topic. You can find a great selection of (free) courses offered by renowned institutions from all over the world on platforms like coursera or edx. To make the choice a little easier for you, here is a list of courses that are self-paced and/or about to start:
- Global Diplomacy – Diplomacy in the modern world (self-paced, ca. 9 hours to complete)
- Human rights for open societies (self-paced, ca. 17 hours to complete)
- The changing global order (self-paced, ca. 18 hours to complete)
- Environmental Security and Sustaining Peace (2-4 hours per week, 8 week)
- Ethics in Action (2-4 hours per week, 10 weeks)
- Restorative Justice and Practice: Emergence of a Social Movement – (2-5 hours per week, 6 weeks)
Participate in interactive courses
Although a lot of trainings and workshops are canceled or postponed right now, you can still develop your capacities further by participating in online trainings and interactive courses. Through these courses you can not only learn more about practice in the field of peacebuilding but also connect with like-minded people, virtually of course. Our tips for the upcoming months:
Watch a Documentary
We all know that during this stressful time, watching something light and entertaining on netflix and co. is one of the best ways to take your mind off things. But if you do feel like you need a bit of a break in between season 7 and 8 of Friends, or if you want to guilt-free procrastinate your uni work, why not watch a documentary? Here is a list of 100 awareness-raising documentaries that inspire societal and global change and all easily accessible and free to watch online: The Top 100 Documentaries We can Use to Change the World.
Listen to podcasts
Already spending too much time in front of the screen anyways? Or are you amongst the lucky ones that can still go on walks outside? Here is a list of our favourite podcasts to widen your horizon or deepen your knowledge on global history, international affairs, and peacebuilding practices:
- Stuff You Missed in History Class – The title speaks for itself.
- Smart Women Smart Power – Conversations with women leaders from all over the world
- The Peace Corner – Stories of those working on meaningful inclusivity in peacebuilding practices
- Conflicted – The complexities of history, religion and politics of the Middle East put in a global context.
What are your tips and tricks on how to procrastinate guilt-free? What inspires you to take action during this stressful and often demotivating time? Follow us on instagram or facebook to get in touch and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions! We love to hear from you!
2. Stay engaged
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?
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.
Donate money to worthwile 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.
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.
3. Inner peace
Peacebuilding is often thought of as an activity that takes place outside of ourselves: helping to build peace within a family, a neighbourhood, a conflict-torn country… However, in order to be as effective as possible in these externalised peacebuilding activities, one needs to be truly at peace and comfortable in one’s self. This week’s edition of Peacebuilding From Home dives into the topic of finding inner peace, which later translates into a smoother, more genuine external peacebuilding effort.
There are many articles online that go in depth about how the outbreak of Covid-19 may cause us to feel stressed, depressed, or lonely, and how to effectively deal with these new circumstances. This article, for example, encourages you to identify what is impacting your mood-change, and how you can address it. Or you may want to look at this article that focuses on self-compassion during Covid-19. Here are a few additional tips that we came up with for you to feel your best in isolation, and contribute to your inner peace:
Do things that make you happy
Make the time to reconnect with your interests and passions – what could you spend hours doing? What did you love to do as a kid and never do anymore? What activities make you happy? If you feel like further exploring what your passions and purpose in life might be, you can answer these fun questions in more detail. Alternatively, if you are interested in a longer read, I recommend “A New Earth”, it is a beautiful book about finding your life’s purpose.
Connect with friends, relatives, and strangers
The benefits of social contact are so important, especially when we are physically isolated, and particularly if you are in a difficult position in which you need help and support. Make some time everyday or multiple times a week to reach out to people in your life or those who have slipped out of it. And if you would like to take it one step further, send them a postcard or a hand-written letter – it brings a wonderful feeling to receive something handwritten in the post. Maybe consider challenging yourself by writing a letter to a stranger – I recommend checking out the beautiful peacebuilding project by Bogot’Art for inspiration.
Most of the time, we are drowning in distractions, noise, and mindless scrolling on social media. We don’t often give ourselves the time to be still and in silence, and this is so crucial to our wellbeing and having a more peaceful state of mind. You might want to try a few mindfulness practices, or you can:
- go for a walk (if possible, during this quarantine period) without any distractions: no music or podcast. Absorb the environment around you, and let your thoughts go in wild directions. And stay 1.5 meter away from people of course.
- do some breathing exercises: if you don’t have much time and need a quick moment to catch your breath, try this simple exercise. Or take more time and try a longer breathing exercise. There are endless research papers that go in depth into the benefits of breathing exercises, so I will let you explore how this practice affects you.
- try journaling: journaling can be awkward to start with if you are not used to it, but the benefits are worth the uncomfortable, bumpy start. This is a great practice for self-reflection as it forces you to sit with your thoughts and feelings and work through them instead of casting them aside and distracting yourself from them. You can try following these simple prompts if you need some help with starting this practice, I promise it gets easier and more beneficial the more you do it!
Move your body
This is a classic piece of advice for anyone feeling down or stuck – and it works! The best option is to go outside, get some fresh air, connect with nature, but for many of us this is impossible or highly discouraged at the moment. So instead, make sure you are moving your body at home: you might start an exercise routine if you are motivated, or you might just start implementing a daily stretching practice. There are so many resources online to develop your stretching or exercise routine, so please find what works for you! Here is a link to a simple stretching sequence you can do from your chair while you are working, or you can try out a short yoga sequence for stress-relief.
Take a break from screens
Of course, this had to be mentioned. During isolation, we seem to be spending even more time in front of screens: either you are working from home and on our computer all day, or maybe you have extra free time and end up scrolling on social media more. Not only does this exposure to your screens drain you physically and mentally, it also makes you feel terrible to constantly compare yourself to others on social media. Perhaps try taking regular breaks from your screens throughout the day, and avoid screen use late at night – this will allow for better, more restorative sleep and will make you happier, lighter, and more peaceful overall!
All of us at YPI truly hope that you and your loved ones are doing well during these unprecedented events, and that you can find some form of peace at home. We would love to hear from your experiences on how to work on your inner peace, feel free to exchange with us on our Instagram, Facebook, or Linkedin!
4. A guide to remote working
A Butterfly Works Guide to Remote Working
By Emily Claridge (https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-claridge-996387188/)
To get in contact with Butterfly Works, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website.
Disclaimer: The content is not sponsored by any of the mentioned platforms, we just like them!
Butterfly Works is a social design studio pioneering the use of co-creation and design thinking in international development. Building on almost 20 years of experience in 25+ countries, we create education and communication solutions with social impact.
Co-creation relies on the idea that none of us is as smart as all of us and that problems are best solved by those who experience it. The result is ownership over solutions that shape the future. Over the years, we have developed tools and techniques that can be adjusted to the context and used to tackle almost any social issue. As a facilitator of this process, we connect different people that have different skills, viewpoints and backgrounds. We release creativity, push to innovate and together come to solutions no one thought of at the start.
We have been using remote working tools for many years within our work, particularly in facilitating remote co-creation processes with hard-to-reach communities. We want to share our favourite platforms with you, both those that are tried and tested and our new favourites that we are just getting the hang of. We’ve learnt a few tips along the way, but would also love to hear how you work best remotely.
Slack: An emoji says 1000 words
Slack is the instant messaging platform that we use for all of our internal communication. Working with so many different projects at once and with Butterflies often around the globe, it is essential for us to be able to check in and quickly communicate on a topic. Whether it is a follow-up on a task or just a quick hello, we have learnt over time the importance of keeping communication efficient and accessible. Often you miss that human connection when working remotely, and Slack works well for us as a place for more casual interactions and check-ins, especially since we discovered you can upload custom emojis!
Asana: Organisation is key
Asana is where we organise our tasks, meetings and projects. This is the home of the actionable ‘to-dos’. Asana is described as the application designed ‘to help teams organise, track, and manage their work’. The best Asana quality for us at Butterfly Works is its versatility. We use Asana to outline agendas for meetings, project plans, travel calendars and more. If there is any piece of wisdom we can share, it is that you have to find a to-do system that works for you and stick with it. You might prefer to have your to-do lists in a notebook or in your phone memos; either way, it is important for the whole team to establish a common location/format and to stick with it; otherwise, you end up with 100 to-do lists and thousands of sticky notes dotted around! For most of us at Butterfly Works, Asana is where we keep all of our to-do lists, notes and deadlines. The best part: the little unicorn animation that flies across your screen when you check something off the list.
Miro: The virtual brainstorming room
Most of the time, we are drowning in distractions, noise, and Slack and Asana have been some of our tried and tested favourites over the years but our newest found love is Miro. When in the Amsterdam studio, we love having a team session or brainstorm where we can all come together, close our laptops and sticky note the day away! Since moving to working entirely remotely, we needed somewhere for this kind of activity, and Miro has come to the rescue. On this simple yet dynamic platform you can create beautiful collaborative boards full of sticky notes, bubbles, arrows, frames and so-on to help jog ideas and trigger creative thinking.
We will often have a video call open in one browser and be working on the same Miro board simultaneously. You can even turn on and off the option to see everyone else’s cursors roaming about. As our newest addition to the Butterfly Works tool repertoire, we are just finding out how best to use Miro, and also divisively finding out everyone’s sticky note colour of choice (mine is orange). The possibilities are endless: so our main reminder for you here is to have fun and play around!
Video calls: One size doesn’t fit all
The big debate over which video call platform is best is everywhere right now. We have used Whereby, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, Slack call, Microsoft Teams and more, all at various times at Butterfly Works. We recently tried to pinpoint which exactly is our favourite and best to use. The answer is that one size does not fit all. We held a remote workshop with international partners on gender learning to use the breakout rooms on Zoom last week, but we also had a morning yoga call on Whereby, and a drinks party on Google Hangouts! There are so many advantages and disadvantages of each. You don’t need to pick one holy grail platform and stick to it for life, just see what works best for you, and more importantly for those you are working with.
Google drive: The home of suggestions
I don’t know where we would be without Google Drive! If there was ever a home for the collaborative document, it is here. We love our internal server where we keep archives of projects, completed documents and so on, but when it comes to working remotely and even more so now than ever, the effortless ability to work on a document at the same time and see what others are doing is essential. If you want to edit directly, you can do so, but also toggling modes to ‘suggesting’ is handy for when you are just proof reading or giving some feedback on a piece of work. The important thing we definitely learnt the hard way is to keep everything on the Drive organised! We know all too well what it is like when more and more files are being created and you never established a decent system in the beginning (my laptop desktop is testament to that), but now that our wonderful organisational wizard Rianne has created a system on the Drive that mirrors that of our internal server layout (to keep everything easy and clear), Google Drive has become a Butterfly Works must-have.
Working remotely is a massive learning curve for everyone, and we are learning more everyday what works best for us and those around the world we work with. The best thing you can do, and what we have learnt more than anything, is to keep it human and have fun. Remember to check in with others on how they’re doing; the round-the-coffee machine conversations you miss out on is essential to stay close to, even when working remotely. Play around with tools and platforms and find what works best for you – these applications are meant to make life easier, not keep you up at night with ‘tool anxiety’. And most importantly (well, not really, but don’t forget it) – work out what your favourite sticky note colour is!