Rotary Peace Fellowship

Seth has been chosen for 2021-2022 African Peace Fellowship at Makerere University in Uganda, starting this October.

He’ll be studying with 18 other fellows from all over the world for a post-graduate diploma in Peace Building & Conflict Transformation. His social change initiative, the main focus of the fellowship, is an African Peacemaking Database.

He will take 3 separate trips to Africa, two to Uganda, and one to Ethiopia, Somalia, Malawi, & South Sudan for his database research. Any and all donations will be a great help. Thank you so much!

$

African Peacemaking Database

Examining Existing Peacemaking Practices
Making Them Our Own

Dream

  • Create a World Peacemaking Database that focuses on praxis
  • Praxis is the application of theory into engaged practice
  • Invite everyday people to be peacemakers by contextualizing existing peacemaking skills and applying them to our daily life

Background

  • Existing peace databases & academic analyses focus on measurement and institutionalization
  • The local application is opaque and not participatory
  • A database that’s designed to inspire individual and community practice is an important complement to the work already being done by current measurements (fills the gap)

Statement of the Problem

There is no database focused on individual peacemaking.
We need a bottom-up approach for localizing the journey to peace.

Implementation Strategies

  1. Find inspiring peacemakers in each country through intercontinental peace agencies that work in local circles
    • United Religions Initiative: Cooperation Circles
      • Connection: Mussie Hailu – director of URI Africa who lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
      • Various contacts from my time working as Outreach Director for the international interfaith NGO, Monks Without Borders
    • Positive Peace Ambassadors: Institute for Economics & Peace
      • Connection: Trust Mamombe – head of IEP | Absolem Samson Yusuf – Lead Ambassador
      • Ambassadors located in Somalia, Ethiopia, S Sudan & beyond
    • Rotary Peacebuilding Clubs / Rotary Action Group for Peace: Africa
      • Connection: Bi-monthly ‘Peace in Africa’ zoom call connecting peacebuilders working on projects on the continent, with regional leaders in North, East, South, & West Africa
    • Sustainable Futures in Africa
      • Connection: Dr. William Tayebwa
      • Interdisciplinary peace hub located in Malawi & 3 other countries
  1. Connect with & gather qualitative data of indigenous wisdom and peace stories that promote everyday peacemaking
    • Research in four African countries for four months in the Spring, focusing on states with different concentrations of development, national strife, and ethnic diversity; utilizing my existing connections
      • March: Ethiopia
      • April: Somalia (Somaliland & Puntland)
      • May: Malawi
      • June: South Sudan (or Botswana, pending)
  2. Integrate into frameworks of active non-violence that is “de-academized”
    • Language is intended to be simple, clear, understandable. Let the data lead to teachings.
    • What small things can we do each day to visualize peace? What beliefs & practices are helpful? How do we live a nonviolent life? How do we seek friendship and develop community?
    • Storytelling element places the spotlight on ‘being’ rather than on ‘studying’ peace.
    • Provide linguistic analysis of the word “peace” in each language interviewed for local definitions.
  3. Learn from experiences to create a template with partnerships organizations to continue this facilitation and research throughout the continent
    • Showcase findings online at peacemaking.org
    • Country-by-Country Database Structure: Peacemaking stories, Non-violent practices, & list of peacebuilding organizations

Audience

Local & national peacebuilding organizations with an interest in an individual practice component.

The task of how to disseminate this information to their stakeholders is beyond the scope of this one-year project, but the hope remains that this audience will be interested in furthering the universality of peace literacy and peace education with this database.

Theory of Change

African Indigenous Mechanisms

This is the foundation of this project. My role is to facilitate the intake of these mechanisms of conflict prevention and peacebuilding from the individual & community root, using existing belief systems of African peacemakers.

Fellowship module tools:

  • Co-Community Knowledge utilizing
    • Peace Journalism and Ellicitive Models of Learning
      • The community tells me what peace means; no universal definition
      • Don’t undervalue non-violence
      • Seek the self in the other
      • Transcendence: creative, problem-solving for difficult issues; unity not division. This is where music, art, theater, and dance come into play.
      • What has been done and what could be done. Think solutions not problems
      • No objectivity: I am involved and I am learning
      • Facilitate the gathering of wisdom; we are both understanding each other, rather than anyone being an expert

Mentors

  • Dr. Kanakulya Dickson
    Peace & Governance Philosopher – Makerere University, Uganda
  • Bhante Buddharakkhita
    Lecturer of Peace & Conflict Studies – Unity Theological Seminary, New York
    Founder of Uganda Buddhist Temple

Quote

The wisdom of Africa is in the process of dying out with the elders who were familiar with traditions. Future generations have to be given the opportunity to learn about these traditions…

In Africa there are indigenous traditions for peacebuilding which can teach us a lot about healing and reconciliation, and can create the basis for re-establishing social solidarity. While indigenous approaches and institutions provide us with many lessons we can incorporate into ongoing peacebuilding processes, it is important for us to also recognize that some traditions have not always promoted gender equality. Therefore, what is required is to find a way to combine the best lessons that tradition has to offer with progressive modern norms and standards for the protection of human rights.

Tim Murithi | Director, Institute for Justice & Reconciliation | South Africa
The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) | May 2006

Dr. Murithi came up with a similar database concept 15 years ago, which has yet to be implemented.