BALTIMORE, Md. – On this International Day of Peace, World Relief celebrates with the thousands of women and men it has partnered with to make the world a better, safer place. Empowered by local churches all around the world, these individuals have courageously stepped into conflict zones, putting their lives in danger in an effort to break cycles of violence and conflict.
“World Relief takes seriously the command to make every effort to live in peace with others. This is why we work to empower local volunteers and churches to boldly step in and de-escalate hostility in conflict zones,” commented World Relief President Scott Arbeiter. “We are humbled by the women and men we have the privilege of coming alongside to equip and support. We continue to pray for those serving on the front lines of the world’s conflicts, who boldly shine the light of Christ for the world to see.”
According to a recent UN report, there are over 70 million people currently displaced around the world. The Democratic Republic of Congo is an area prone to violence where local conflicts have led to high rates of forced displacement, gender-based violence and poverty. Over the last 12 years, World Relief has worked with pastors from various ethnic groups to embrace the power of healing through reconciliation as a way to repair communities and prevent further violence. World Relief partners with local authorities to identify leaders and create committees made up of volunteers committed to bringing about peace in their communities. This important work is conducted in faith-based, interfaith and secular contexts.
In 2018, World Relief’s peacebuilding program equipped 79 village peace committees and trained 744 volunteers to benefit 343,247 people in the DR Congo, Sudan and Pakistan. Volunteers who identify as being willing to participate are trained in conflict mediation and receive instruction on what to do when someone comes to them with a conflict, how to investigate, how to bring parties together and how to help people reach a resolution. These volunteers make up Village Peace Committees who help address domestic disputes, petty theft, land use disagreements, conflicts over water usage or other community issues. While more serious or violent crimes such as rape or killings are referred to authorities, these individuals and committees tangibly break cycles of revenge by de-escalating violence and repairing relationships.
World Relief CEO Tim Breene observed, “We cannot overemphasize the importance of individuals living out their calling to be light in the world in which they have been placed and taking seriously their calling to bring peace. In many areas around the world, we know that peace is the foundation for flourishing, and conflict erodes the very ability for people to access basic healthcare or harvest their crops for food. Each conflict a volunteer de-escalates is one more relationship repaired, another harvest brought to fruition and more families who don’t need to flee out of fear of their lives.”
To learn more about World Relief’s peacebuilding efforts, donate or volunteer, visit worldrelief.org.
About World Relief:
World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that seeks to overcome violence, poverty and injustice. Through love in action, we bring hope, healing and restoration to millions of the world’s most vulnerable women, men and children through vital and sustainable programs in disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding, as well as refugee and immigration services in the U.S. For 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and communities, currently across more than 20 countries, to provide relief from suffering and help people rebuild their lives.
Learn more at worldrelief.org.