The need for protection globally
Fragile and conflict-affected areas are in every part of our world. We receive numerous requests around the world from community leaders and organizations seeking support for their vision of peace and protection in their communities.
Nonviolent Peaceforce needs to reach community leaders around the world, even if we do not have a program site nearby. In response, NP developed an Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) course to reach as many people as possible—whether online or in person.
NP’s work around the world
The UCP course makes the work of protecting civilians and enhancing nonviolent responses to violent conflict widely accessible around the world. More specifically, it offers an introduction to the foundations and practices of UCP, its principles, sources of guidance, methods and required skills as well as offering an overview of UCP in practice. Each session is designed under the supervision and support from those local to the students taking the course.
Additionally, the training includes a coaching period by an experienced UCP practitioner who mentors individuals or groups to develop their own locally-led UCP projects.
The UCP course has been used around the world:
- In support of the African Union's Silencing the Guns initiative, NP offers online training in unarmed civilian protection to youth peacebuilders from selected countries on the continent of Africa, such as Sudan and in the region of the Sahel, and provides follow-up mentoring and advisory services.
- Ahead of the May 2020 elections in Burundi, the Quaker Peace Network organized a group of 100+ "peace messengers" who were trained to identify early indicators of violence and how to intervene with various UCP methods. One example of success: one of the participants successfully intervened and prevented violence when two members of the ruling party started to beat a person from the opposition in the days leading up to the election.
- NP has collaborated with the Institut Catholique de Paris and. Merrimack College to develop and offer courses in Unarmed Civilian Protection for students and peace professionals alike aimed at equipping the next generation of peace leaders with the practical and theoretical knowledge to build lasting peace.
The future of NP's global work
While physical presence is—and always will be—central to our approach, we believe training represents an unparalleled opportunity to increase access to unarmed civilian protection. In the coming years, NP will be expanding the training component of our unarmed civilian protection work to reach even more communities around the world. In doing so, we aim to equip course participants with skills not only to protect themselves and their communities, but also, ultimately, to make the shift away from militarized, armed approaches for protection and violence prevention.
“This course allowed me to demystify the protection of civilians
because I thought it was the prerogative of armed actors only.
Understanding that this protection must be done by civilians
reinforces my desire to contribute to it.”
- Mariam, course graduate from the Sahel region