The International Peace Group is a nonprofit whose main purpose is to support alternative methods to war, the prevention of war, and to support basic principles of human rights Worldwide.
At this time we have three main ongoing projects.
1. First is our work in the Middle East.
For over 20 years we have offered trainings in conflict resolution and in alternatives to war in the Arab Israeli conflict. One of our specialties is working on building bridges between different religions in conflict, and addressing conflict between different groups in the same religion. We work both with Arab Israeli Palestinian conflict within Israel, and with Palestinian Israeli conflict directly.
Our workshops build bridges, relationships, friendships, and create all relationships to work across lines between “enemies.” Over the years we were given credit several different times for helping the different sides find nonviolent alternatives to violence being planned or undertaken. We also train people in how to do this conflict work on the ground in their neighborhoods, villages and cities.
2. Out of this work our second project evolved that we call Healing History.
So much of the conflict work in the Middle East would focus on people healing their history with each other and their history experienced before coming to the Middle East. The unresolved issues of World War II hang over the Middle East tensions like a cloud that makes it impossible to enter and perceive the current moment in a clear fashion. We developed a series of workshops and trainings where we go from city to city in Europe helping the various communities process and make senses of what history they collectively carry.
So far we have been in Warsaw, Bonn, Brussels, and Budapest. We look at how unprocessed history tends to repeat itself in the guise of the rising anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiment growing throughout Europe, and the rapid advance of extreme right wing and neo Nazi parties supporting this sentiment. We are in the midst of creating a training program that will certify and support people to carry on the work we do when Healing History is not in their city or country. We feel this can make a real impact in terms of the future of Europe.
3. Our third project we are working on is to support the Magarini Children’s Centre in rural Kenya.
Magarini Children Centre and Organic Farming Demonstration Farm is a registered community-based organization under Kenyan law. It was formed in 2008 as a community initiative to provide care and education to children who had lost their parents through HIV/AIDS as well as other homeless and vulnerable children in a region that struggles with extreme poverty. They currently accommodate forty orphans and one hundred and twenty vulnerable and/or marginalized children and youth. Magarini has created a school for educating one hundred and sixty children every day and this guarantees them food on daily basis.
Beyond just providing immediate care to children in need, Magarini focuses on building a self-reliant community where people enjoy improved livelihoods through growing their own food while taking care of the soil, environment and nature for the benefit of the future generations. Their 8-hectare demonstration farm is a hub for community learning for thirty surrounding villages. Every Wednesday, three student farmers from each village come to tend the crops. As they learn and practice organic farming skills, they also learn how to integrate crops with care of pigs, poultry and goats, as well as fish-farming. Some of the harvested produce is sold to support the children’s programs, and the remainder is shared among the student farmers.
A community able to grow its own food brings people together and empowers them to create better livelihoods while taking care of the soil and restoring the land, especially forest. Such a community is resilient in the face of climate change and global economic crises. Our vision and goal in Magarini is to work with women, men, youth and children to create such a community in our region. Magarini was founded by Emmanuel Karisa Baya, local farmer and graduate of the Asian Rural Institute in Japan (2009, diploma in Sustainable Agriculture, Leadership, Conflict Resolution and Community Building), the East Africa Institute of Development Studies and is currently studying work-oriented coaching and facilitation at the Deep Democracy Institute for Process.