When conflict ends, the challenging work of building a peaceful, democratic society begins. Religions for Peace has assisted in the social reconstruction and healing in post conflict societies. This has been accomplished by advancing the participation of religious communities, including women’s leadership, in social reconstruction.
Building Social Cohesion
Religions for Peace has been harnessing the immense power of religious leaders to mitigate conflict and foster social cohesion through multi-religious efforts that engage civil society and relevant government officials. Religious leaders, women of faith and youth are being trained in conflict prevention, dialogue and facilitation resulting in social reconstruction and healing. Activities include engaging religious communities in: youth street theater, volunteer events to service the poor, cultural exchanges and various actions that demonstrate solidarity and unity, and benefit the entire community by increasing interactions between ethnic and religious groups to promote trust, understanding and tolerance.
Reconciling Conflicting Parties
Armed conflict began in Sierra Leone in 1991, when fighters of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) launched a war against the government and civil society, committing brutal acts of violence, ravaging villages and mutilating innocent victims. Religions for Peace with its national affiliate Inter-religious Council of Sierra Leone (RfP-IRCSL) helped to stop the bloody civil war and mediated negotiations between the government and the rebels. The Council became a conduit in the peace process, negotiating the release of fifty child hostages in 1997, and playing a key role in the Lomé peace talks. In the following three years, RfP-IRCSL conducted a human rights and peace education project designed to contribute to a nationwide dialogue on human rights. The IRCSL president was later nominated to chair the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission.