4u2 - For you too - Roland Brunner
2nd Quarterly Report 2001
April- June 2001
by Mareike Junge
10 July 2001
Dear supporters of Peaceworkers UK
The first 6 months of this year have passed and it is time for our second quarterly report and a review of our activities towards exploring the feasibility of developing a UK Civilian Peace Service. We have made substantial progress in reaching this overall goal and I have tried to summarise the developments of the past 3 months in the following pages.
Planning & Development:
Our target for this quarter was to analyse the findings of our research efforts in order to define specific gaps and a feasible model for how a Civilian Peace Service could be filling these. We have identified a whole range of areas for development in terms of training, assessment and placement of peace professionals, which could be addressed by a Civilian Peace Service. The question we now need to answer is what the best organisational structure for a Civilian Peace Service might be. We have written a number of papers describing how the different CPS work in other countries and outlining possible models for a CPS in the UK. We will send these papers to our potential partner organisations in order to identify their interest in working with us on developing any of these models further.
We believe that the development of a fully operational CPS, involved in recruitment, assessment, accreditation, training, deployment and project management, is a project that needs to be addressed in various stages. The first stage could be a “recruitment agency” managing a roster of people with appropriate skills for different types of peace work and responsible for defining and assessing these skills. Over the years, this role could be expanded to developing a CPS training programme and managing its own projects, in the UK as well as abroad.
Our next step will be the development of a Business Plan for Peaceworkers UK, which will outline the implementation of this model over the next few years. We recently held an initial consultation meeting with a group of advisers from different organisations and companies. They have given us important input, which we will now, with the assistance of our Executive Committee, translate into a future strategy for Peaceworkers UK.
Our fundraising efforts have been as successful as during the first quarter and we have managed to secure sufficient funds to cover our full operational costs until the end of the year. We are extremely happy about this success, not only because it allows us to concentrate on other areas of work, but also because it is a very positive sign of the level of support there is for this project. Our most recent success has been an application to the Allen Lane Foundation who has given us £10,000 toward the work of our Research & Liaison Officer. We have received generous individual donations, mainly from Quakers responding to an appeal in The Friend, amounting to almost £3,000.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have sent us donations and have made appeals for us at their meetings. Thanks to your generous financial support we are now able to focus our fundraising efforts to securing funds for the implementation of a Civilian Peace Service in 2002 and beyond.
The second phase of our research plan was aimed at completing the process of “mapping the field” of civilian peace work in order to have a good understanding of who already does what in this field, what the “field” actually consists of, what interest there is for a Civilian Peace Service and what the potential is for getting government support for it. What we have found out so far is on the whole very encouraging and we have produced a number of reports and summaries that can be found on our website. However, there is still further research to do before we can produce a definitive report on our findings.
Our responsibility as part of the GNPF Research Team took up a lot of our research efforts in this quarter as we were responsible for completing the “Personnel” chapter of the GNPF research project. This involved identifying best practices in Human Resource Management for large-scale operations in conflict areas and making recommendations on the recruitment, assessment and contracting of potential GNPF staff.
The main research phase of GNPF is now completed and a meeting of the Interim Steering Committee at the end of July will review the research findings and make recommendations on how the project will proceed based on those research results.
We are grateful for the help of our research volunteers Kate Barron, Susan Seymour and Simon Rynn who have done a great job in assisting with gathering and compiling the necessary information. Without their help we wouldn’t have been able to complete half the work we have achieved in the last 3 months!
A big thank you also goes to all those who applied for volunteering or internship positions with us – we had nearly 50 responses to our request for volunteer researchers and unfortunately were not able to deal with them all. We are now in the process of re-arranging our small office so that we can fit in one or two regular volunteers. We will also be moving into other areas of research for which we will continue to need help from researchers able to work from home.
Outreach & Networking
In the meantime, we have continued our efforts to build up sufficient support among existing NGOs, government departments and the general public for launching this project. We have received very positive feedback so far and have been able to get an increasing number of people interested in supporting the idea of a Civilian Peace Service. Saferworld and International Alert are two important partners as they have been promoting the idea of civilian peace services internationally and are therefore particularly interested in this. We are planning to hold a one-day conference in the autumn to bring together potential partners in this and to involve them in a dialogue on how to take this idea further.
We have developed a close relationship with the Scottish Centre for Nonviolence in Dunblane, which is working on the Scottish end of a UK CPS. There will be a conference on this topic on 8 September in Edinburgh, co-sponsored by Amnesty International Scotland, Helsinki Citizen Assembly and UNA Scotland.
We have also started a series of monthly evening seminars under the heading “Towards a Civilian Peace Service for the UK” which has generated a lot of interest among students, academics, fellow practitioners, funders and representatives from churches, military and governments. People have been travelling from as far as Brussels and Lancashire to attend our seminars and the last one was so oversubscribed that we had to turn people away because we couldn’t fit them all into our seminar room! The last of this spring seminar series will be taking place on 18 July at 6.30pm in Friends House, Euston Rd, London. Speakers from Action Aid, Acord and Oxfam will be talking about peacebuilding projects carried out by development agencies working in conflict areas. The seminars will start again in September and details of these will be available on our website.
Further meetings and conversations with potential partners include Community Service Volunteers (CSV), Oxfam Research Group, Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO), British Executive Service Overseas (BESO), United Nations Association (UNA), Responding to Conflict (RTC), Action Aid, International Alert and the Conflict, Development and Peace Network (CODEP).
Internationally, Tim has participated in several meetings and conferences in Brussels, Sweden and Greece to take part in the debates on strengthening civilian capacities for conflict prevention on the European level. We both attended the annual meeting of the European Network for Civilian Peace Services (EN.CPS) in Switzerland, which laid the groundwork for entering into an international partnership with joint projects in the Balkans and elsewhere.
We see a UK Civilian Peace Service as potentially the UK branch of an international peace service such as GNPF and are thus interested in nurturing these contacts and taking an active part in strengthening international co-operation. As a member of the Interim Steering Committee of GNPF Tim will take part in the upcoming meeting in Minnesota, USA and we will continue to contribute to its further developments. Hopefully, we will be in a position to provide GNPF with a team of qualified British “Civilian Peace Personnel” when their first project is launched!
We are looking forward to telling you more about the progress of our work in our next report at the beginning of October. In the meantime, we will keep you updated through postings on our website www.peaceworkers.fsnet.co.uk. We are interested in your feedback and welcome any suggestions, ideas or comments you might have.
We are looking forward to hearing from you.
On behalf of Peaceworkers UK
4your questions and contacts: rbr(at)4u2.ch