When relationships aren’t working
In some countries different parts of society don’t trust one another. This can be due to violence, conflict or prejudice. It can be caused by a misuse of power. When groups don’t trust, respect or understand one another they can’t work together. This means that people’s basic needs aren’t met. Services like health and education get worse. As communities become more divided, poverty grows. Human rights are denied and people face the threat of violence, being wrongly arrested or mistreated.
Cord’s peacebuilding work has 3 strands. This approach strengthens relationships between different parts of society:
- Strengthening grassroots organisations.
- Enabling powerholders to understand the importance of working with grassroots organisations.
- Creating opportunities for these two groups to work together.
A cord of 3 strands
This 3 strand approach lies behind Cord’s logo. In the Bible, Ecclesiastes 4:12 says:
“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (New International Version)
Although each of the 3 strands can be carried out separately, the real strength comes when they are woven together.
Strengthening grassroots organisations
For many of us, local organisations are an essential part of life. They include faith communities, youth groups, trade unions and charities. In some countries these organisations are few and far between. They are closely controlled by the government. They can lack resources and expertise. They are often fearful of those in power and can’t speak out on behalf of those in need.
Cord provides training and investment so that these organisations can become strong and well respected. In workshops they can network with one another, share experiences and best practice. They learn why it’s important to work with power holders and how to do so effectively.
Helping powerholders understand the importance of working with grassroots organisations
Businesses and governments working with grass roots organisations is something that we take for granted. It leads to a better understanding of local communities and people’s needs.
But in some countries, there is a huge gap between those in power and ordinary people. Fear, mistrust and misunderstanding cause all kinds of problems.
Cord works with powerholders, including businesses and local and national governments. We help them to realise that positive relationships with local communities benefit everyone. For example, they understand that things run more smoothly when they involve local people in decision making processes.
As relationships improve, government representatives and grassroots organisations attend one another’s events. They see things from the others’ perspective. Trust, cooperation and confidence grow.
Creating opportunities for these two groups to work together
This is possible once relationships grow strong. They can identify problems in society, causes of conflict, injustice, poverty and division. They can rely on one another’s strengths and experience to tackle these challenges.
This takes different forms in different countries. For example, in Laos, the government and local organisations are working together to improve access to education for thousands of children in the poorest villages.
In Burundi, community groups are working with health providers, the police and local government to tackle domestic violence. Bringing their different skills and experience they are raising awareness, challenging unhelpful attitudes and providing vital support to victims.