Annual Report 2023

30 Years of peacebuilding

Amre Moussa

Chair of Interpeace's Governing Board

Itonde Kakoma 

President of Interpeace

About Interpeace

Interpeace is an international organization for peacebuilding. With 30 years of experience, it has implemented a broad range of peacebuilding programmes in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Interpeace tailors its approach to each society and ensures that its work is locally designed and driven. Through local partners and its own local teams, it jointly develops peacebuilding programmes based on extensive consultation and research. Interpeace helps establish processes of change that promote sustainable peace, social cohesion, and resilience. The organization’s work is designed to connect and promote understanding between local communities, civil society, governments, and the international community.

Interpeace also assists the international community – especially the United Nations – to play a more effective role in peacebuilding, based on Interpeace’s expertise in field-based work at grassroots level. Interpeace achieves this primarily by contributing innovative thought leadership and fresh insights to contemporary peacebuilding policy. It also assists the international community through ‘peace responsiveness’ work, in which Interpeace provides advice and practical support to other international organizations (especially those in the security, development, and humanitarian aid sectors), enabling them to adapt their work systemically to simultaneously address conflict dynamics and strengthen peace dynamics.

Interpeace is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and has offices around the world.

Our peacebuilding pillars

Putting local people at the heart of building peace

Peace cannot be imported from the outside. We believe that peace must be built from within societies. Together with our local partners, we create spaces for dialogue that allow for the active participation of local people to identify peacebuilding challenges and to develop their own solutions. By ensuring local ownership, we pave the way for the sustainability of peacebuilding efforts.

We ensure that priorities are determined locally and not imposed from the outside. Local ownership ensures that local concerns are at the center of peacebuilding. If people participate in defining the problem, they have a sense of responsibility and ownership of the solutions.

Local ownership ensures the sustainability of peacebuilding efforts.

Trust is the keystone of peace

Trust is the glue that holds relationships, societies, and economies together. Violent conflict results in the breakdown of trust and that is why rebuilding it is a core element of our approach. By working with all sectors and levels of society to develop a common vision for the future, we contribute to increased mutual understanding and the rebuilding of trust.

Conflict tears apart the fabric of societies. Mistrust colours all relationships, including between people and their leaders. In such contexts, even small problems can escalate into wide-scale violence.

By providing safe spaces for dialogue, Interpeace helps societies re-establish trust through the collaborative identification of obstacles to lasting peace and the development of solutions to common problems.

Current policies often put a priority on the ’hardware’ of rebuilding countries after conflict: infrastructure, government buildings, demobilized soldiers, the timing of elections and police stations built. Very often, these efforts fail to also focus on the crucial ‘software’: reconciliation between former antagonists, trust in public institutions, and traditional practices of dispute resolution.

Trust gives institutions lasting legitimacy and helps individuals and groups remain engaged in the long and arduous process of building lasting peace.

Building peace involves everyone

Exclusion or marginalization of key groups of society sows the seeds for renewed violence, deepening resentment and giving them the opportunity to undermine the process. Our peacebuilding programmes are designed to include participants from across society – even those who are typically overlooked or seen as difficult to engage with. This inclusive approach ensures that a broad base of social groups share a sense of ownership and responsibility for reconciliation and the rebuilding of their society.

Inclusion engages all parties in a process of change and begins to build bridges of understanding. This, in time, enables the society collectively to move towards moderation and compromise.

Building sustainable peace takes time

Building lasting peace is a long-term commitment. Transforming the way a society deals with conflict is a complicated process that cannot be achieved instantly. Our peacebuilding efforts take this into account and are designed as long-term initiatives.

Building lasting peace takes time. The road to peace is bumpy, long, unpredictable and anything but straight. Support of local efforts must be patient and consistent.

External engagement must be predictable and ensure long-term financial commitments. Otherwise sustaining peacebuilding processes becomes impossible.

The Interpeace approach puts a focus on building trust. This approach to rebuilding society and institutions takes time and long-term commitment.

The process determines the result

We put as much effort into what needs to be done to enable a society to build peace as in how the process is approached. There is a need not only to focus on the end goal of building peace, but also on making sure that the process leading to it is managed in a way that allows for inclusion, constructive dialogue and consensus-building – rather than confrontation and power games. This is the only way to build sustainable peace.

Strengthening the foundations of a society that is divided is not business as usual. Mistrust tends to be deeply engrained. Major issues tend to be politically sensitive and urgent. Because of this urgency, the tendency is to propose technical solutions rather than to seek holistic solutions to complex problems. How the process is managed and how the engagement of all sides is carried out will determine, in large part, the success of an initiative.