Promoting Peace Activism, Tolerance, and Non-Violence
Promoting Peace Activism, Tolerance, and Non-Violence among Young People to Counter Extremism
Throughout the last few decades the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, once known for its secular politics, has changed and become the hub of religious extremism and militancy. Radicalized education, media, non-secular politics, economic issues, lack of good governance, and regional as well as international politics have played a vital role in indoctrination of the youth and prevalence of religious extremism. The society is at threat of further destabilization by the emerging intercommunity, intertribal, sectarian and ethnic conflicts, lack of good governance, economic insecurities and continuous radicalization.
Because of the prevalence of religious extremism in the society, economic insecurities, lack of good governance and exposure to biased education, media, and politics which promote radicalization, the young people are more at risk of responding violently to the issues in community and recruitment by the militant and extremist organizations.
Aware Girls is working in the most fragile regions of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and FATA by developing a “Youth Peace Network” which promote peace activism among young people, identifying potential peace activists, organizing them in district groups, and strengthening their capacity in peacebuilding, conflict resolution. The trained peace activist then work at the community level using peer education, study circles, peace education, conflict resolution through dialogue, and through other creative ways to promote a culture of pluralistic discourse and to challenge the intolerant militant discourse.
The overall goal of the project is to promote an alternative pluralistic discourse based on the values of tolerance, non-violence, peaceful co-existence. The project’s specific objective is to promote peace activism among young people, identify potential peace activists, and organize and strengthen their capacity in peacebuilding, and conflict resolution, which will lead to countering extremism in the North Wes of Pakistan.
The strategy used by Aware Girls is to identify potential young peace activists in each target district, conduct one week training on skills for peacebuilding, conflict transformation, non-violence and pluralism. The training strengthens the knowledge of young people about the origin, current status, dynamics, and politics of extremist groups, will promote peace activism enabling the young participants to respond effectively to emerging conflicts in their communities. It develops the notion among young people that they have the responsibility to build peace in their communities by playing an active role. The trained young people of the peace groups then conduct post training activities to promote peace and non-violence. Each train person works and with 10 young people in their local communities to educate them on non-violence conflict resolution, pluralism, and tolerance of others believes and thoughts.
The young people use different innovative strategies to promote peace, conflict resolution, and non-violence in their communities, the young people are provided with mentorship support. Furthermore, the trained activists work together in teams to resolve local conflicts through mediation and dialogue to set a role model for other people in the community. These conflicts may range from interpersonal conflicts to inter-family conflicts or inter-tribal conflicts.