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Support Karuna Center's Peacebuilding Projects

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Project Description

We are a non-profit organization that works both in the U.S. and internationally to foster peace in communities impacted by violent conflict and dangerous polarization. Your support will allow us to strengthen and expand on our partnerships with frontline peacebuilders during a critical time. This crowdfunding opportunity is part of our overall goal of raising $150,000 from individual donors during 2022. For more information about our projects, please visit our website at For close to thirty years, we have focused on creating long-term, sustainable impact by building the capacity of local peacebuilders. We work in partnership with locally rooted peacebuilding organizations, networks, and leadership, co-developing and co-leading innovative projects that both prevent immediate violence and address ongoing drivers of conflict. Violent conflict creates societal wounds that can persist for generations; our approach to peacebuilding is generational as well. Often, new organizations and networks arise out of our projects and continue to lead local peacebuilding efforts—both independently, and in partnership with Karuna. When Karuna began in 1994, “peacebuilding” was still an emerging field of practice. We became known for a focus on partnering with local peacebuilders—and for our innovative use of dialogue as a tool to catalyze peace action and advocacy across divides. Over the past 27 years, we have worked in more than 40 countries, adapting our methods to each local context, with the leadership and engagement of people who are themselves impacted by conflict at the center. CURRENT PROGRAMS The core of Karuna’s programs has always been to build relationships of trust, which serve as a foundation for joint efforts to build peace peace work across differences. Our primary approach is to integrate structured dialogue with strategic actions. These actions may include community-based healing and reconciliation initiatives, early warning-early response interventions, community service that bridges social divides, or joint advocacy for equal rights and social inclusion. Protecting Our Communities—Nigeria: The Protecting Our Communities Initiative supports rural Nigerian communities at the center of violent clashes between crop farmers and nomadic cattle herders, as climate change shifts rainfall patterns and reduces the arable land. In partnership with the Nigeria-based Neem Foundation, we have established community-based dialogue and early warning-early response systems in 18 communities, intentionally engaging women and youth. The project combines this skill-building with outreach over social media and a call-in radio show. Since the initiative began in 2019, the project’s community structures have resolved more than 200 incidents identified as having the potential to spark broader violence. In the next year, the project team will strengthen community capacity to respond to incidents identified through early warning, expand into additional communities, and integrate peer-to-peer psychosocial support to help communities heal from the trauma of violent conflict. “In fact, the intervention of this project has greatly helped us to achieve social justice, especially in the face of adversity. It brings us out of the darkness.” -Abdulaziz Yakubu, EWER Committee Member, Protecting Our Communities Initiative—Ruwan Doruwa Watering the Banyan Tree—Myanmar: Traditionally, the Banyan tree provides shelter and a gathering space for problem-solving dialogue. Led in partnership with Kalyana Mitta Development Foundation and Paungsie Metta Initiatives (both based in Myanmar), this project works in that spirit. Since the February 2021 military coup—and the ongoing crackdowns against dissidents—we have worked closely with our network to listen, strategize, and develop alternative approaches focused on virtual dialogue and outreach, while providing ongoing support, skill-building, and accompaniment to peacebuilders. Project participants are now getting training, support, and mentorship from experienced artist activists to lead creative advocacy campaigns for peace and inclusion. “The February coup has created divisions even within ethnic and religious groups, but it has also prompted unity across traditional divides. I am proud to be a part of the Watering the Banyan Tree project team because the project is still here to support the partners and our communities while raising the voices of our people amidst these numerous challenges.” – A peacebuilder and Karuna staff member based in Myanmar Applying Dialogue & Community-based Peacebuilding to the U.S: Since 2016, the U.S. has seen increased polarization and violence domestically. Karuna is committed to helping U.S. based organizations and activists learn from frontline peacebuilders who have been responding to similar problems in a diversity of communities worldwide. Karuna’s 2021 virtual series of 4 events, Building Community Across Divides: Lessons from Far and Near, engaged international and U.S.-based peacebuilders in discussion about the possibilities for applying approaches to the U.S. context, reaching 205 unique participants. Our current U.S.-based work strengthens collaboration across divides to advance sustainability, peace, and justice. The national Transforming the Conversation on Carbon Pricing project is a partnership between Karuna, the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Pricing Carbon Initiative, and Citizens’ Climate Lobby. We use dialogue to create more collaborative, inclusive, effective action on climate change by bringing carbon pricing advocates together with environmental justice leaders. A key focus of these confidential dialogues is on ensuring that efforts to address overall emissions do not allow deadly racial disparities in pollution to continue. Our 2020-2021 Erasure and Restoration event series supported reflection and action to highlight Native history and present-day experiences in the Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) Valley region. The series hosted seven virtual events, reaching over 1500 participants, with recordings reaching an additional 1.7K people on YouTube. More than 50 participants then engaged in Working Groups on matters of Land Justice and Decolonizing Curricula. The Decolonizing Curricula Working Group produced and distributed an expertly curated, searchable online bibliography of resources for Native American and Indigenous studies learning and teaching for Pre-K through university level (accessible on our website). The Land Justice Working Group focused first on self-education among its non-Native participants in the dynamics of just partnership with Native communities—and then formed an independent affinity group in early 2022.

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower people divided by conflict to develop mutual understanding and to create sustainable peace.
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