IEP and Ethiopian Multicultural Action for Human Rights (EMAHR) organised a collaborative Positive Peace Workshop in association with Multicultural NSW. Despite the difficulties of travel restrictions and lockdowns, members from the Ethiopian Multicultural Action for Human Rights (EMAHR) community in New South Wales (NSW) came together to participate in two online workshops to learn about how Positive Peace could be used to build community resilience towards the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Facilitated by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), participants were introduced to IEP’s world-renowned peace research with a focus on bespoke data and the impacts of COVID-19 on global peace. EMAHR’s work focuses on promoting human rights, multiculturalism and a sense of belonging. IEP describes Positive Peace as being comprised of the attitudes, structures and institutions that underpin a peaceful society. It is a systems-based approach which is measured through the strength of the eight Positive Peace Pillars. Positive Peace contrasts with Negative Peace, which is defined as the absence of violence or the fear of violence.
With the intention of building social cohesion over 2,000 people were leveraged from existing community networks to promote these resources to their diaspora through community leaders, elders, religious leaders, and civic associations across Australia and overseas including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.
After being introduced to IEP’s Positive Peace Framework, participants interactively engaged with the eight Pillars of Positive Peace, identifying and implementing activities to keep communities connected and to support their members’ physical and mental well-being.
One participant, who originates from Gambela in Ethiopia, was motivated after the workshop to engage local stakeholders (such as elders, church leaders and youth leaders) within Gambela to participate in a Positive Peace workshop.
This successful initiative saw the creation and promotion of health resources translated from English into the languages of Amharic, Oromo, and Anywaa. These materials explained COVID-19 safety precautions, procedures, and regulations; and included guidance on how to self-isolate, social distancing rules, government restrictions, and a demonstrative video guide on how to complete a Rapid Antigen Test.
The outcomes from this program, as identified through a survey conducted by EMAHR, were driven by the participants’ collaborative efforts to produce vital health resources and included:
The project encouraged the communities and civic associations impacted by EMAHR’s work in building resilience to the impact of COVID-19. Based on the information collected through the surveys, these communities supported each other by making phone calls to find out how elders and vulnerable people were coping within their community. This project encouraged these communities to keep connected through Zoom meetings and social media, which reduced social isolation and strengthened community resilience. 90% of respondents agreed that the project built stronger resilience and confidence among their community.
Made possible by the support of Multicultural NSW, this program included participants from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo who worked together to produce these valuable resources. This successful workshop assisted these communities within Australia to build resilience to the impacts of both the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing conflicts which have added additional stress to these communities. The outcomes of this project serve as inspiration for further collaborative efforts that can facilitate the activation of Positive Peace.
Learn more about IEPs Peace Programs.