The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation believes that women play powerful roles in preventing violent extremism and creating peace in society, but sometimes lack the opportunities and the confidence to do so.

Women for Peace aims to empower women to confidently tackle extremism and build peace in their communities. The programme looks to support women from diverse backgrounds to become more active citizens by realising the voice they have can make a real difference. These women can then lead the way in preventing violence conflict and building peace through challenging destructive narratives and engaging in intercultural dialogue.

The programme:

Women for Peace is a 10-week programme where the group meet once a week for three hours. During the sessions, the group explores identity and belonging, prejudice and discrimination, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and leadership skills. On completion of the course, including certain assessed activities, participants receive a Level 2 Open Awards qualification in Understanding Conflict and Extremism: Building Peace.

As part of the sessions, participants take part in a wide range of activities, including:

  • Dialogue and exploration of views: understanding grievances and challenging narratives
  • Simulations, role-plays and putting strategies into practice based on real-life experiences
  • Interactive sessions and exercises for kinesthetic learning, interspersed with group and individual reflection
  • Creation of participants’ media and the articulation of their own narratives on contemporary issues

We also run this programme for groups of young women between the ages of 16-24 years. This slightly adapted course takes into considerations the important role of young women in their communities and the curriculum is responsive to the needs of young women and the challenges they face.

Impact so far:

To date, Women for Peace has run in Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Kirklees, Burnley, Blackburn, Nelson and Oldham. Upon finishing the project, some women who use English as a second, third or sometimes fourth language have made substantial progress in their language skills, which was developed through their public speaking about difficult and complicated issues and interaction with other women from their local communities.

Suzanne, a participant in Liverpool, explains how she shared her new knowledge with those around her: “I shared this graph with my friend as I could identify how it fit her pattern of behaviour. She took this well and told me it was helpful to see this. I encouraged her for being more willing to ‘step out of her comfort zone’ and make some significant changes in her life. It’s marvelous to be able to share aspects of the course with others, including our close friends.”

Juliana, a participant in Young Women for Peace designed specifically for 16-24-year-olds, shared her experience: “I’m very proud of what I was able to achieve in our local community because it brought everyone together. Every young woman has the influence to build peace in their community.”

For further information about this project, contact the team at commissions@foundation4peace.org, or take a look at the project’s Twitter page @Women4P.