For the last two decades, Guinea-Bissau has experienced major political turmoil, with successive coups and recurrent confrontations between political authorities and the military.
In 2007, Interpeace set up a peacebuilding programme in collaboration with a local partner, Voz di Paz (Voice of Peace). The vision of the programme is to contribute to civic engagement for social cohesion, institutional modernization and peacebuilding. Voz di Paz’s and Interpeace’s long-term goal is to address obstacles to peace in Guinea‐Bissau by fostering a culture of dialogue and engaging all sectors and levels of society in the peacebuilding process.
Voz di Paz engaged over 6,000 Bissau-Guineans in consultations to identify the main obstacles to lasting peace. Bissau-Guineans identified the lack of effective state institutions, poor administration of justice, endemic poverty and tribalism as the main obstacles. As a next step, Voz di Paz engaged Bissau-Guinean society in a process to develop solutions and recommendations to the previously identified problems.
Voz di Paz’s has established a unique peace architecture across the country – a network of 10 Regional Spaces for Dialogue made up of community leaders that can be called upon to prevent and resolve local conflicts. Voz di Paz has partnerships with over 30 national and community-based radio stations from all over the country and collaborates with a network of about 50 youth organizations. Voz di Paz also has good relationships with the government and the security forces which enables Voz di Paz to build bridges between the people and the country’s elites.
Voz di Paz played an active role in the lead up to the 2014 general elections. Its efforts to foster strong citizen engagement and promote a culture of debate contributed to elections that were considered free and fair by international observers. The electoral process also highlighted elements of resilience which exist within Bissau-Guinean society and that can serve as a basis for finding durable solutions.