In 2017, Peace Direct’s ‘Peace Gold’ project was one of the five winning submissions in the BridgeBuilder Challenge, run by the GHR Foundation in collaboration with OpenIDEO. Gold mining in Eastern DRC degrades the environment and compromises the health of hundreds of thousands of people. Working with local partner Centre Résolution Conflits (CRC), Peace Direct developed the ‘Peace Gold’ project to support ex-combatants affected by war to produce ethical and environmentally friendly gold. After only two years, communities have increased their incomes and strengthened prospects for peace in the region.
Two ‘Peace Gold’ cooperatives bring communities together in the volatile province of Ituri with a common aim: producing ethical and environmentally friendly gold.
This important work has enabled former fighters to reintegrate into their communities. Previously feared, ex-combatants now play an active role in community life, and Peace Direct and CRC are working hard to reduce stigmatisation around former fighters, and to raise awareness on child protection in conflict. Nearly 2,000 cooperative members have received training in conflict resolution, of which one third were former fighters.
Child labour is another problem faced in the region. Through the Peace Gold project, over 950 children have been supported to return to school once more. Children who currently work in the mines will be able to return to school as their parents earn a decent income.
In an area struggling with active and ongoing ethnic tensions, this project is one example of what local peacebuilders do all around the world: help communities affected by violent conflict to heal themselves. The local population will also benefit from a less polluted environment due to fewer chemicals being used, and a more peaceful environment as ex-combatants will be supported to manage conflicts non-violently.
Source: For Peace