With nearly 11,500 volunteers trained around the world, Generations For Peace is committed to and driven by volunteerism to help build peace and transform conflict from the grassroots. Through our volunteers, we have reached over 520,000 children, youth, and adults through our programmes.
Today, on International Volunteer Day, we celebrate volunteerism’s ability to build resilient communities by sharing 5 stories of our own volunteers, in their own words.
Zahid knows Pakistan has changed since he was growing up and the ways in which volunteering has contributed to peacebuilding in communities with refugees, internally displaced people, and barriers like perception of gender.
“I had to face many challenges in the implementation of our Generations For Peace programmes. From resistant tribal leaders to gender norms posing an obstacle to effectively engaging girls and boys in our peacebuilding activities, we had to adapt and find ways to promote community acceptance and ownership of our programmes.”
Read Zahid’s story to learn how he uses volunteering to overcome some of the most pressing challenges facing his community in Pakistan.
Sanja is passionate about women’s empowerment, especially in peacebuilding. In her home of Tetovo, Republic of Macedonia, she has worked with GFP to implement programmes that reflect this passion, impacting youth and building peace in local communities.
“Women in peacebuilding do the work that is hardly seen at the surface. In my career as a peacebuilder, I’ve met so many women working in the field, designing and implementing programmes, yet very few of them are where the crucial decisions are being made. In order to have true, sustainable peace, this must change.”
Read Sanja’s story to learn how she uses volunteering to empower youth and women in her community.
We have five days left in the 16-Day Campaign to Eradicate Violence against Women, and this story by our Pioneer, James shares how GFP is working in Kampala and Soroti, Uganda, to combat school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV).
“I have learned what I already expected to be true: many of the Participants, especially the girls, have been victims of abuse. Many had dropped out of school because of the social-psychological impact of these abuses. Others were maintaining serious emotional damage.”
Read James’ story to learn how he and Ugandan volunteers have helped restore the confidence of SRGBV victims, building respect, resilience, and tolerance among the students, staff, and parents.
Georgia has faced a range of violent conflict in recent years, especially among youth. Tornike is a volunteer who works with young people and uses Sport- and Arts For Peace activities to prevent and transform the conflict he has witnessed in Tbilisi.
“Peace can be taught and learned, as it consists of certain characteristics and skills and is about attitudes and mindsets. I have seen the transformation of difficult children right in front of me through our GFP Programmes. I believe that a change in attitude is what is necessary in the effort to build peace.”
Read Tornike’s story to learn how volunteering has helped instil in youth a sense of leadership, understanding, and acceptance that is essential to building peace.
Naa can see it everywhere she looks: the need for peace is growing. But how are we to address it?
“I have seen one constant that I believe is true, spanning across all varying factors that impact peacebuilding and transforming conflict: youth must not just be involved. They must be at the forefront, heading the conversation, leading the movements, and passing the peace they build along to future generations.”
Read Naa’s story to learn about how volunteering has helped her recognise the need for youth to lead sustainable peacebuilding in Ghana and around the world.