Engaging our communities to advance peace

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Students speaking with Core Collaborator representative at the Opportunities FairAs 2018 comes to a close, we reflect on the ways Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA) participants have been building peace throughout the year. This year, as CPA participants shared their stories of activity and impact, a trend emerged. We noticed that each participant, although busy with a number of different activities in 2018, were engaging diverse groups of communities as they worked to advance peace in the region and beyond.

In 2018, Project Ploughshares engaged local and global communities through its advocacy work educating citizens and government officials on humanitarian concerns around the world through hosting events on topics such as lethal autonomous weapons systems and refugees and migration.

This year, the Tamarack Institute brought together community leaders and helped them develop skills and strategies for achieving collective impact through a number of workshops and events. Through a new $2 million, four-year partnership with Employment and Social Development Canada, Tamarack is able to increase capacity for providing its peacebuilding programs.

The Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG) engaged community through workshops, conferences, and research partnerships, equipping people with tools for creating change on campus and in society. Among other things in 2018, WPIRG hosted the conference “Getting Organized: Tools for Resisting Racism and White Supremacy” and formed a research partnership with Asgaard Green housing coop, supporting its efforts to defend its affordable cooperative housing.

Through its work, the Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI) connected with many communities through relationship building. For IDI, this was a year of creating spaces for conversations and collaboration between neighbors, classmates, youth, government representatives, and faith communities, through events like its inter-faith Iftar dinner during Ramadan.

2018 was a year for Demine Robotics to connect with a global community by building an ecosystem of support for its peacebuilding technology and creating momentum for a mine-free future. Through this network of support, Demine was able to successfully test its excavator this year on live landmines in Cambodia.

Using its platform to provide companies with local volunteer opportunities, EPOCH animated support for change making organizations in the region. Through a pilot project with five businesses in the area, EPOCH worked on refining its model to better serve the needs of its users and local organizations making positive impact.

For Growing Hope Farm, community was engaged by creating a haven of belonging. Through partnerships with the Grand Valley Institution for Women and at-risk youth, Growing Hope Farm offered a space for volunteers, as well as visitors, to connect with their community.

Marlena Books engaged community this year by connecting with individuals affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia and providing dignifying reading material for them. Its efforts were recognized at the AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge where Marlena Books won first place, claiming $75,000 in cash and in-kind prizes for the startup.

For startup SheLeads, a newer participant in the CPA, community engagement was about opening new avenues for social impact in the tech space, acting as an example for peacebuilders looking to create change through tech. Despite being up against a number of impressive startups, SheLeads was awarded $25,000 at the Spring 2018 Velocity Fund Finals for its female-focused software.

In 2018, The Ripple Effect Education (TREE) worked with 31 classrooms and 25 community groups, empowering over 1500 children to bring positive change to their communities with healthy conflict resolution skills. Through the Peace Innovators Scholarship and Mentoring Program, a tri-partnership between the CPA, TREE, and Kindred Credit Union, TREE provided mentorship and support to young leaders in the community advancing peace by addressing important social issues.

Community engagement for WorldVuze in 2018 was focused on creating a space to envision a brighter future for Canada and the world, giving young voices an arena to share, discuss, and exchange their views on important issues. Through its Next 150 report, WorldVuze offered a lens into youth views on topics including belonging, sustainability, and Canada’s leadership.

The CPA engaged the community through the Grebel Gallery in a number of ways with its three exhibits that mapped diverse stories of peacebuilding. This year’s exhibits shared perspectives on learning through artistic expression, peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula, and cultural translation.

We thank all of the participants in the CPA for their work advancing peace through community engagement this year, and look forward to the year ahead as they continue to build peace in the Waterloo Region and around the world.

If you would like to stay up to date with what they are up to throughout the year, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter for updates, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on LinkedIn.