Power of Goodness in Ukraine

Peacebuilding UK, together with Odessa Mediation Group and our trainers/ partners from Chechnya, brought together our Power of Goodness partners from all over Ukraine for the first time 20-25 July, near Kiev. Following two days of getting to know each other, building trust and agreeing on a collection of old and new stories from Ukraine and abroad, we began the extensive work of creating a Ukrainian training manual. The manual will be a welcome resource for teachers, psychologists and others wishing to share and cultivate human values of compassion, kindness, tolerance and forgiveness in communities throughout Ukraine.


The participants of the meeting in July came from diverse backgrounds and regions from all over Ukraine – east, west, north and south, including representatives from the occupied territory in the east. This inevitably meant that diverse and contrasting views about the situation in Ukraine and the conflict since 2014 were present.


Through trust in the process built up over 2 years of work already conducted, respect for each other and conflict resolution techniques such as listening skills and repeating back to each other what had been said, the group managed to work through tensions that arose and unite towards achieving the common task of creating a Power of Goodness training manual for Ukraine. The next meeting will take place in Odessa from 27th to 29th October.

Power of Goodness in the North Caucasus – Update

Since summer 2016 the Power of Goodness project has expanded into Ingushetia and Dagestan. In August and September, trainings for trainers from these republics were conducted by trainers from the Chechen project in Grozny. From September, the Ingush and Dagestani trainers began conducting seminars in schools for teachers in their republics, supported by their Chechen colleagues. The trainings in schools, as in Chechnya, focus on using the Power of Goodness Stories of Nonviolence and Reconciliation and accompanying training resources to increase awareness of how to resolve conflict and build tolerance, trust, cooperation and empowerment in the lives and communities of the teachers and students involved. 257 trainings were conducted in all three republics from July to December 2016, attended by 655 teachers in total.

From June 2016 to February 2017 project trainers began the first of a series of round tables on countering radicalization and extremism among young people, in cooperation with local authorities, schools, religious leaders and young people. So far round tables have been conducted in the villages of Alkhazurovo and Goyskoye in Chechnya and in Makhachkala (Dagestan), led by project trainer-psychologists and the project coordinator. These meetings were attended by local imams, heads of the councils of elders, school directors and teachers, heads and other staff of local authorities and members of the public, including young people. All present agreed that the question of how to deal with challenges of radicalization and extremism is an urgent one. Themes discussed included how to protect teenagers from extremism and radicalism; how to counter extremism and terrorism through a deeper understanding of these phenomena, education and practical employment of traditional spiritual values as a way to counter extremism, and the challenges of youth unemployment. All present agreed that the community needs to come together and coordinate more closely in order to better understand and influence the reasons and pressures that are causing some young people to become radicalized and turn to extremist groups. It was agreed that these meetings were important first steps, and that further and continuous follow-up is required. Plans for additional activities were also agreed. Peacebuilding UK and our North Caucasus partners’ role is recognized as being important as a mediator and facilitator between local authorities and the community on this issue, to help increase trust and coordination to enable effective common approaches.

Overcoming trauma of War in Post-conflict Societies through Gender Lenses

Albania summer schoolThe summer school “Overcoming trauma of War in Post-conflict Societies through Gender Lenses” 2016 is a joint project of Universiteti Europian i Tiranës, Ivanovo Center for Gender Studies, Peacebuilding UK and Bulgarian Academy Of Sciences.
15 Russian and European participants are attending lectures by well-known scholars of gender studies in Albania 11-26 July, including five social workers from our girls’ empowerment project in Chechnya “Young Women’s Development Groups”.

Фестиваль Документального Кино о Правах Человека «Бир Дуино» («Один мир») 2015 в Кыргызстане

Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Bir Duino (One World) 10th – 14th December 2015 in Bishkek (http://festival.birduino.kg/en/), to which Peacebuilding UK will again be bringing a delegation of around a dozen human rights activists, journalists and film makers from the North Caucasus, Belarus and Yemen. Peacebuilding UK is inviting applicants to be part of the delegation – information and application forms are below in Russian. Chris Hunter and Almut Rochowanski will facilitate the delegation in Bishkek.

Девятый год фестиваль Документального Кино о Правах Человека «Бир Дуино» («Один мир» на кыргызском) будет проводиться в городе Бишкек, Кыргызстан, с 10 по 14 декабря 2015 г (http://festival.birduino.kg/ru/). На фестивале будут представлены документальные фильмы со всего мира, проводиться воркшопы и дискуссии совместно с кинематографистами и правозащитниками. В этом году группа правозащитников, журналистов и кинематографистов из Северного Кавказа, Беларуси и Йемена посетит фестиваль. Мы приглашаем вас присоединиться к нам и испытать вдохновляющее торжество прав человека, свободы выражения и услышать захватывающие истории, происходящие в мире. А также повстречаться с десятками сверстников и коллег из Кыргызстана, международными кинематографистами с целью обучиться, поделиться опытом и создать сеть единомышленников. После фестиваля участники будут иметь возможность провести два дня с киргизской организацией, чья деятельность направлена на защиту прав человека или вопросы СМИ, тесно связанные с их деятельностью и увидеть киргизских коллег в действии.

Каждый год, фестиваль Бир Дуино собирает тысячи зрителей к просмотру 30 документальных фильмов, снятых во всем мире, рассказывающих как о хорошо известных, так и о мало известных историях о защите прав человека в различных странах. Экранизация будет сопровождаться оживленными дебатами аудитории с международными кинематографистами и приглашенными экспертами по защите прав человека со всего мира, посетившими семинар. Согласно мнению международных кинематографистов, регулярно посещающих международные фестивали документального кино во всем мире; «Бир Дуино» особенный фестиваль, не только благодаря массовому интересу со стороны киргизского общества и особенно молодежи: активисты гражданского общества, волонтеры и кинематографисты, знакомятся друг с другом во время воркшопов и специальных мероприятий, передавая друг другу свой опыт. Если вам интересны новые истории в области защиты прав человека во всем мире, если вы любите документальные фильмы, если вы хотели бы увидеть киргизское гражданское общество в действии, если можете воспользоваться полученной мотивацией и позитивным опытом по возвращении домой, то мы надеемся вас увидеть на кинофестивале «Бир Дуино».

Все фильмы на фестивале будут с субтитрами на русском языке, дискуссии и темаические мероприятия также будут проводиться на русском языке. МB покрывает все расходы (проезд, гостиница, суточные) участникa из Беларуси. Также все организационные вопросы, связанные с составлением для них собственной программы на время проведения фестиваля мы берем на себя.

Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Kyrgyzstan 2015 – OUTREACH FOR YEMEN

Peacebuilding UK invites an activist, journalist or film-maker from the Republic of Yemen to the 2015 Bir Duino (“One World”) Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Kyrgyzstan

For the 9th year, the Bir Duino (“One World”, in Kyrgyz), Human Rights Documentary Film Festival will take place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from December 8 to18, 2015, with documentary films from all over the world, workshops and discussions with film-makers and human rights activists. This year, a group of human rights defenders, journalists and film-makers from Russia’s North Caucasus region, Belarus and Yemen will travel to the festival. We invite you to come with us and experience an inspiring celebration of human rights, freedom of expression and captivating stories from all over the world. And to meet with dozens of your peers and colleagues from Kyrgyzstan and the international film-makers, to learn, share and network. After the festival, participants will also get a chance to spend two days with a Kyrgyz organization working on human rights or media issues close to their interest, to observe your Kyrgyz colleagues in action.

Every year in fall, the Bir Duino festival draws thousands of viewers to a selection of some 30 documentary films, by directors from all over the world, covering well-known and less well-known human rights stories from countries on every continent. With all the international film-makers as well as guest human rights experts from around the globe attending the festival, the screenings are followed by animated debates with the audience. Parallel to the festival a series of interesting workshops and special events take place. According to the international film-makers who attend many documentary festivals all around the world, the Bir Duino festival is special: not only is there massive interest from the Kyrgyz public and especially young people, the community of local civil society activists, volunteers and film-makers get to know each other during workshops and special events. If you’re curious about new human rights stories from around the world, if you love documentary films, if you would like to see Kyrgyz civil society in action, if you could use some inspiration and positive energy for your work at home, then we hope you will come with us to the Bir Duino film festival.

All films at the festival are subtitled in English and Russian. PBUK will cover all costs (travel, hotel, per diem) of 1 selected participant from the Republic of Yemen, will make all travel arrangements and assist participants with putting together their own program during the festival.

If you would like to come to the Bir Duino film festival, please complete the application form listed below and send it to us by November 25, 2015, 24:00GMT. If you don’t like filling out written applications, you’re in luck – alternatively, you can submit your answers by video. We’re inviting everyone who meets the criteria listed below to apply. The most motivated candidate, with the strongest record of human rights work or independent journalism/film-making at home, will be selected to attend the festival.

In order to be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Permanently live and work in the Republic of Ymen
  • Work as a human rights defender, civil society activist, print/broadcast/internet journalist, or documentary film-maker, with at least 3 years of experience in your field
  • Be at least 25 years old by the application deadline
  • Be available for the entire period of December 8-18, 2015, including arrival and departure, the film festival and the ensuing two days of visiting a Kyrgyz partner organization.
  • Hold a valid international passport by the application deadline

The application form is available at http://peacebuildinguk.org/uploads/Application_Form_Yemen.doc

Visiting Activist Programme – spend ten weeks working with grass-roots NGOs in the North Caucasus

Visiting Activist Programme – spend ten weeks working with grass-roots NGOs in the North Caucasus

Peacebuilding UK, which helps grass-roots NGOs build their organizational capacity and conduct child-focused programming in Russia’s North Caucasus region and in Ukraine, is proud to announce our first-ever Visiting Activist Programme http://peacebuildinguk.org/. We invite activists, non-profit professionals from around the world to spend 10 weeks with grass-roots NGOs in one of Russia’s most remote and most diverse regions, the North Caucasus, to share their skills and experience, work together day by day, and offer each other solidarity and inspiration.

In autumn and winter 2015/16, three activists from all over the world will travel to the North Caucasus republics of Ingushetia and Chechnya, where they will be hosted by local NGOs and contribute to these NGOs’ work, capacities and organizational growth, while becoming familiar with a region that is both fascinating and troubled, welcoming and struggling with multiple challenges. Situated along Russia’s southern border, the North Caucasus region is home to a large number of ethnic and religious minorities, a place where everyday life, history and culture can be quite different from the rest of Russia. The region came to the world’s attention in the 1990s and early 2000s as a result of a series of violent conflicts. While the republics of Chechnya and Ingushetia are today at peace and levels of residual violence have dropped rapidly in recent years, it remains Russia’s poorest region, with systemic challenges to the rule of law and citizens’ rights, and persistent social problems, not least those of women and girls.

In these difficult circumstances, local, grass-roots activists are showing great tenacity, resourcefulness and courage as they bring change to their communities, but due to their remote location and the marginalization caused by conflict, they are left out of global networks of activism and unaware of innovations in human rights work. We created the Visiting Activist Programme to help these civil society leaders become better integrated in global networks of activism, learn new best practices and experience support and inspiration from their peers around the world, while Visiting Activists will learn about this remote and captivating region, experience its legendary hospitality and make a significant contribution to the growth and power of grass-roots civil society.

In the course of the programme, Visiting Activists will work alongside local, grass-roots NGOs (typically, two or three NGOs will share hosting duties). These NGOs may work in areas such as human rights and legal assistance, women’s rights and empowerment, extracurricular programming for children and youth, disability rights, mental health etc. Their work is typically very hands-on, providing direct services and programming to beneficiaries and community outreach. A detailed description of host NGOs and their criteria for Visiting Applicants is available at http://peacebuildinguk.org/files/call_for_applicants_(Visiting_Activists)_AR.doc.

PBUK’s Visiting Activists Programme offers selected Visiting Activists:

  • Placement with host organizations, which will develop a plan of action together with the activist
  • All travel expenses from their home to their host location
  • All expenses related to applying for a visa to the Russian Federation (if required)
  • Housing for the duration of the program in an apartment (either on their own or shared with another Visiting Activist, based on each Visiting Activist’s preferences)
  • A living expenses stipend of $750 per month
  • Travellers’ insurance
  • On the ground support by our local coordinator

All applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • A minimum age of 25 at the time of application
  • 3 or more years of experience as a full-time activist with grass-roots/local NGO in their country of origin
  • Citizenship and permanent residence in a country of the “global South”/non-Western country: Latin and South America, MENA region, sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern/Central Europe (including EU member states admitted in or since 2004), South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia
  • Good English skills
  • At least basic Russian skills (since host NGOs’ staff generally do not speak English)
  • Maturity, good judgment, reliability, diplomacy and ability to work independently
  • Hold a valid passport at the time of application
  • Must be able to commit to a programme period of 2.5 months, uninterrupted, starting in November/December 2015.
  • Must be able to work with host NGOs full-time (40 hours per week) for the course of the programme

If you would like to learn more about the Visiting Activist Programme, read about the host NGOs and their requirements for Visiting Activists, and to apply, please go to http://peacebuildinguk.org/files/call_for_applicants_(Visiting_Activists)_AR.doc.

The deadline for applications is October 1, 2015. Application instructions are at http://peacebuildinguk.org/files/call_for_applicants_(Visiting_Activists)_AR.doc. If you have any questions, please contact us at damyvmeste@gmail.com.

The application form, including instructions on how to submit, can be downloaded at http://peacebuildinguk.org/files/Visiting_Activists_Programme_Application_Form.doc.

Host organizations and applicants’ eligibility criteria for the fall 2015 Visiting Activist Programme

For the fall 2015 Visiting Activist Programme, 2 hosts have been identified, each of them looking for a guest with a specific profile.

In Ingushetia, Russia’s smallest, newest and poorest republic, the following hosts are looking for a Visiting Activist. Each host represents a partnership of two local NGOs, which will jointly welcome and work with the Visiting Activist.

  1. Women’s empowerment and psychological support NGO/ disability rights NGO

These two NGOs were founded by strong women leaders 5-10 years ago and quickly established themselves as tireless, compassionate pillars of support for the most vulnerable in their communities and confident, vocal advocates for their rights. They offer a wide range of services (health, mental health, legal and socio-economic) to women, children, people with disabilities of all ages and speak out in the community for change. They are also committed to mobilizing local resources to finance the services and material support they provide to their beneficiaries.

Despite their successes, these the two NGOs face structural challenges, which are primarily caused by insufficient funding and the resulting staff and equipment shortages as well as by the conservative, patriarchal and discriminatory attitudes that are common to the region.

The two host organizations are looking for a Visiting Activist who is:

  • a fast learner and a good teacher,;
  • a creative and goal-oriented individual who is good at finding solutions to problems;
  • someone who can analyze on-going programming and design new projects
  • someone with experience in monitoring and evaluation methodology for human rights and social projects
  • someone with either experience or strong interest in women’s rights and empowerment and disability rights
  • someone with experience or interest in domestic resource mobilization and community outreach
  1. Women’s rights and legal services NGO/teachers’ association and youth-focused NGO

These two NGOs are comparatively young and still in the early stages of their development. They were founded and are led by young women who bring considerable professional expertise in their respective fields of human rights law and education and a great passion for their work. Their target audience are women (especially women suffering from gender-based discrimination and violence) as well as children, youth and teachers. The young leadership and members of these organizations are very serious about strengthening their organizations and creating a more stable financial and organizational basis for their work, as well as improving their own technical skills. They are innovative and embrace new forms of activism and organization.

Both organizations would like to turn their considerable skill and ability to mobilize volunteer input into more sustainable structures and programming. The issues they work on – women’s rights, improving education and opportunities for youth – present huge, complex challenges in their community.

These two host organizations are looking for:

  • A strong communicator and expert on awareness-raising and public campaigns
  • A “people person”, who can help them connect with their target audience and mobilize more volunteers and NGO members among the republic’s women and girls
  • Someone with a strong background in women’s rights and empowerment
  • Someone with a record of creating and strengthening organizations, who can offer support with strategic planning
  • Someone with experience and skills in fact-finding and needs assessments in the community.

Power of Goodness: Stories of Reconciliation and Nonviolence

Peacebuilding UK together with partner organisations in Chechnya and Ukraine (Odessa) is committed to peaceful conflict transformation. Two Chechen wars (1994-1996 and 1999-2009) and ongoing security threats affect the civilian population in Chechnya at a time when civil society organisations are under great pressure and scrutiny from local authorities. The war in Ukraine with its many civilian casualties continues and is not limited to the eastern part. Other parts of the country (e.g. Odessa) also face social polarisation and the effects of violent conflicts.

The ‘Power of Goodness’ project focuses on children and youth affected by violence and trauma, supporting and training educators both from Odessa and regions further East close to the armed conflict. The partner organizations use their access to schools. Through guided reading of the stories “Power of Goodness: Stories of Reconciliation and Nonviolence”, discussion, art-therapy, music and role-play, children learn about peaceful conflict IMG_4440transformation and reconciliation. They learn the benefits of not judging people by their ethnic or religious background and questioning prejudice, promoting dialogue and compromise and taking an active stance in their communities. The project provides creative models for resolving differences peacefully and building relationships and a society based on tolerance and respect.

This approach has been successfully used in Chechnya by Little Star psychologists and trainers. Their skills and knowledge are being shared with their Ukrainian colleagues, which is considered extremely valuable in today’s very challenging situation. Increased leadership skills and participation in their communities will help the young people who benefit from “Power of IMG_4454Goodness” in Chechnya and Ukraine to become more confident, resourceful members of their societies, better able to assist themselves and their families and to base their lives on peaceful and respectful relations, equipped with knowledge of nonviolent methods to address disputes and conflict.

A second round of trainings on ‘Power of Goodness’ will be conducted in Odessa 19-25 August for educators, psychologists and volunteers from around Ukraine working with children. A follow-up training for trainers will be held in Ukraine in October.

Training with teachers at Secondary School “M.Dadaev” in the Urus Martan region

M.Dadaev_2Aishat Zubairaeva conducted a second ‘Power of Goodness’ training with teachers at Secondary School “M.Dadaev” in the Urus Martan region in May. The work of this session was based on the story “Boot Under the Bed”. All the teachers participated actively in the training. 30 copies of the book “Power of Goodness: Stories of Nonviolence and Reconciliation” in Chechen, Russian and English languages were presented to the school. Teachers from the school have already conducted several tutor-group sessions on Power of Goodness with pupils at the school, with the aid of the teacher’s training manual created by CPCD’s team of Little Star psychologists.M.Dadaev_1 33 trainings have been conducted so far this year with 95 teachers in 4 schools and two higher education institutions on using Power of Goodness as a peace and tolerance education tool – at Schools No.s 61. 26 and 56 in Grozny,Goiskoe Middle School “M.Dadaev”, the Chechen State University and Chechen State Pedagogical University.


Conflict Transformation Project in Chechnya and Plans for Ukraine

photo 10photo 5The second edition of this tri-lingual book in Chechen, Russian and English was published last year. 6000 copies were printed by publishers in Chechnya, donors included the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and Friends’ International Library. The book can be viewed online on the new web portal: www.power-of-goodness.org/downloads.php.

In 2015 Peacebuilding UK plans to build on the work of a pilot peace education/ conflict transformation project conducted in Chechnya in 2014 that benefited 6000 school children. A new pilot project in the Ukraine will provide training and support to enable peace and tolerance education work to be initiated and take root in schools and communities throughout the country.The project will use the internet based platform www.power-of-goodness.org as a catalyst for conflict transformation activities in Chechnya and Ukraine – regions beset by different stages of violence and armed conflict. 120 teachers in 20 schools in Chechnya and around 90 teachers and trainers in Ukraine will receive training, support and resources for peace education work with thousands of pupils in schools. A peace curriculum and teacher’s training manual developed by our ‘Little Star’ psychologists over several years will be provided, based on the real-life stories of Power of Goodness with examples of nonviolence and reconciliation. The project aims to help prevent new violence by training and supporting teachers in schools to cultivate peaceful values of tolerance, nonviolence, reconciliation and justice among young people. Peacebuilding UK and partner Friends’ Peace Teams in the US also plan to conduct such work in other countries and are currently translating the stories into Indonesian and Nepalese, as well as Ukrainian.

Delegation of North Caucasus Human Rights Activists attend Human Rights Film Festival in Bishkek


Bir DuinoPeacebuilding UK arranged for nine North Caucasus human rights defenders, journalists and film-makers to attend the Bir Duino film festival in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 5th to 15th October. The participants were inspired and empowered to experience human rights as an exciting and appealing community celebration in their friendly rapport with the vibrant, effective and confident Kyrgyz civil society. This included exposure to a wide range of global issues including migrant and LGBT rights, and encouragement to expand their professional use of audio-visual media.

10670043_912050225490803_3457951006022727193_nAccording to the well-travelled documentary film-makers present, this festival is renowned for powerfully bringing together into one creative community film directors and producers with social and civic
workers by creating safe spaces for frank discussions and passionate advocacy for causes. This visit was an inspiring, moving, intense and very dynamic experience. Much of this was due to our participants, who were enormously active, curious, open to explore new ideas and subjects – even if some of them found that challenging at times.