Refugees and Internally displaced persons (IDPs) face a unique fight when trying to get their voices heard. They’ve left their homes and communities behind, and are often stuck in displacement camps for months or years before finding new homes. Refugees usually don’t have someone speaking on their behalf. At Peacebuilding Solutions, our goal is to make sure that those voices are heard – by the public, by policy makers, and by countries around the world. It’s a big goal, but one that we are fully committed to.
At the core of our philosophy is the belief that no one knows better on what a displaced community needs than that community itself. A simple belief, really, but it’s surprising to see how many aid organizations come in with a one-size-fits-all approach.
Peacebuilding Solutions has trained research teams enter the displaced community we are working with in order to speak with the community. This allows us to conduct culturally-sensitive and appropriate research that builds trust with the community. This trust is a vital part of creating a long-term relationship between the community and Peacebuilding Solutions.
We do two things with the information we gather from our research. The first, of course, is to plan and implement projects that the community identified as needed. This is the hands-on work – digging trenches, shopping for tarps, and handing out shoes to the community’s children. It is also the work that the community needs done for a better life for themselves.
The second is on a much larger scale. Peacebuilding Solutions takes what we have learned and brings it directly to large organizations and to governmental bodies at the United Nations. Our teams have attended UN meetings several times for this exact purpose. Each time, we come with the stories and words of the displaced community we work with. We work to ensure that those displaced voices are heard, even though the community themselves cannot be there. We advocate for a new system, one based on research and cultural understanding, on trust and long-term support. We advocate for those who feel as though there is no one in the world who is listening to what they have to say.
It’s time to change the system from both the ground level and the top down.
Peacebuilding Solutions wants to prove that we are listening. More than that, though, we want to make the world listen. It’s not a task that will be completed quickly, but we will see it through.
It’s time to change the system both from the ground level and the top down. True change must envelop both Through research, we are able to address the immediate needs of communities. Through advocacy, we are able to bring attention to the long-term changes needed to shift how the humanitarian system works. Together, research and advocacy allow Peacebuilding Solutions to stay true to our mission of making sure we are not only hearing the voices of those displaced but that those voices are heard over the entire world.