Helvetas helps build “positive peace.” We promote understanding and acceptance and are committed to constructively address root causes and drivers of conflict. We create or support spaces for dialogue and negotiation, where all human beings are treated with respect, without physical or psychological violence. We help create systems that ensure justice for all, especially safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable groups.
“There is no peace without development, there is no development without peace”, said Jan Eliasson, ex-UN Deputy Secretary-General. This understanding is also enshrined in SDG goal 16. Sustainable development can only happen in a peaceful context, where human rights are respected and promoted. The smaller the divide between rich and poor and between different groups, the more inclusive, just and peaceful can development be.
Helvetas strongly believes in the principles of gender and social equity, human rights, good governance and conflict sensitivity. For systems to be inclusive and just, there must be a high level of freedom of expression and a high acceptance of differences in a diverse society. Spaces for cultural expression and political dialogue are crucial. They allow different stakeholders to engage, exchange and discuss the conditions needed to live together in peace. Helvetas supports social transformation processes towards positive peace.
Helvetas works in a conflict-sensitive manner. This means that our staff is equipped to analyze and understand the local context, to recognize how our programs interact with its environment, and to build or adapt our course of action accordingly. Our interventions support peaceful structures. They do no harm and minimize tension in the local context.
Helvetas’ partner countries are increasingly affected by conflict and fragility. Our projects are facing volatile social contexts and often address sensitive issues such as land and water management or governance mechanisms. Helvetas facilitates negotiations around access to natural resources, services or justice. Helvetas is specialized in creating cooperation and dialogue platforms designed to convene people with different interests, identities as well as social and economic backgrounds. We work with youth and adults to prevent violent extremism and promote mutual understanding.
Helvetas believes that expressing one’s identity and culture is a basic need. Particularly if populations lack other basic needs, artistic expression has an important psychosocial function, both for the artists and the audience. Art that expresses the quest for peace does not only reach people’s minds. It reaches their hearts. Our artistic and cultural projects strengthen resilience, develop and uphold an enabling environment and initiate and support social transformation processes towards positive peace. By supporting arts and culture in contexts of conflict, Helvetas nourishes a fertile ground for sustainable peace.
Our multilingual advisory team offers wide-ranging thematic expertise and has in-depth experience in navigating complex processes. Helvetas’ work builds on over 60 years of experience in more than 30 countries.
Helvetas develops and guides projects. To be sustainable, they must be locally embedded. We support our partners in effectively organizing projects and processes and assist local authorities to better assume their responsibilities.
Download and read our publications on different conflict transformation related topics.