How to Make Peace Within Chaos: Peacemaker Secrets

Hay House Radio Episode Recap

  • Episode Name: “How to Make Peace Within Chaos: Peacemaker Secrets”
  • Broadcast: December 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm Pacific Time

Episode Replays: Mondays at 11:00 pm Pacific Time / 2:00 am Eastern Time and Sundays at 2:00 pm Pacific Time / 5:00 pm Eastern Time

Episode Summary Re-cap

How do you really make peace in your life?

Today we hear from the 2016 Women Peacemakers – women from Nigeria, Kenya, and Pakistan – who have seen more violence and unrest than most of us could imagine. Together, they will reveal tips for gathering courage, listening with your heart, and building trust. Learn how women’s voices and perspectives can change conversations and minds. Whether it’s creating peace in your country, your community, or your heart, you will walk away with inspiring tips to use in your own life.

Today’s Guests

Hamsatu Allamin of Nigeria is a trusted negotiator and peacemaker between militants and security forces in her country’s conflict-­ridden and impoverished North East region. She serves as the regional manager of the North East section of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP), and a national executive member of the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria.

Allamin is an educator by profession. After getting her education at the University of Maiduguri, she relocated to a small village where her husband had inherited his father’s position as a traditional leader. Allamin began teaching at a community college, and also started organizing forums for grassroots women to gather and discuss issues arising within the community.

With the rise of the militant group Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal­Jihad (JAS), commonly known as Boko Haram, Allamin was compelled to become a human rights defender and women’s activist. Many of the communities, and the young men in particular, were skeptical of Allamin because she was a woman. But they eventually began opening up because she was one of the only people listening to their needs and grievances.

Allamin is implementing a project on countering violent extremism, focused on restoring social norms, changing the narrative of apathy toward the West, and developing a module for teaching peace and setting up peace clubs in Islamiya School in the state of Borno.

Jane Anyango of Kenya is a grassroots peacemaker and the founding director of the Polycom Development Project, based in Africa’s largest informal settlement, Kibera. She is also the founder of Kibera Women for Peace and Fairness, which has since expanded to other settlements in Nairobi. Polycom provides access to education, sports activities and sanitation for young women, enabling them to understand themselves and make informed decisions about their lives and bodies. Anyango was nominated by the U.S. Embassy in Kenya for the International Women of Courage Award, and has received numerous recognitions for her grassroots peacebuilding work. She and her work with Kibera Women for Peace and Fairness were featured in the 2014 documentary, I Will Not Be Silenced.

Khurshid Bano of Pakistan is the founder and CEO of Da Hawwa Lur (Daughter of Eve), a women-­led NGO that campaigns against gender-­based violence and discrimination of women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, a deeply conservative and conflict ­affected region of Pakistan. The organization provides free legal, psychological, and capacity-­building support to women facing any kind of violence, and to those who have been displaced by violence or natural disasters in the province.

During the height of extremist activity in KP, in 2008, Bano initiated the Peace by Peace Campaign to get women and youth involved in maintaining peace within their own communities. Approximately 500 boys and girls were educated on conflict transformation and religious tolerance; dialogues were held with scholars from different religions and sects; and rural women were trained on their role in transforming the mindsets of their children away from radicalization.

An activist and leader since 1986, Bano became the first woman union leader elected in KP and helped implement laws to end discrimination and violence against marginalized groups, particularly women, in the workplace. Bano is also an active member of the Pakistan Alliance against Sexual Harassment, which has been working on implementing, drafting, and lobbying of laws on the topic. She has helped implement laws in 32 departments of KP. Bano is also a member of the Gender Working Group of the international CIVICUS alliance.

Learn more about the 2016 Women Peacemakers

Women Peacemakers Program at University of San Diego

The Women Peacemakers Program at the University of San Diego Joan B. Croc School of Peace Studies receives applications from 150 people from 30 countries. Out of these applications, four women were selected for incredible achievements. Three of them share their 9 inspiring tips for creating peace in chaos and building a successful grassroots movement.

While each of these women talked about creating peace in extreme conditions within their countries, we can take what they’ve taught us and apply it to any area of conflict in our lives. What they have offered us is a roadmap to resolve conflict, no matter how big or small.

In the coming years, if anyone feels worried about the future, these steps can help give us courage that we can create safety in our hearts and communities.

Peace Is…

  • …not the absence of worries or conflict. It is building understanding, so you can be free of fear. What divides us most is fear and misunderstanding. Instead, find ways to communicate with those you’re in conflict with. Listen to their concerns. Share yours. See if you can build a bridge to understand one another. This understanding can be the beginning of resolving conflict. It’s important to take time to understand your own feelings and concerns as well.
  • …acceptance, respect and equality. Remember, this starts within each of us. The more we accept and respect ourselves, the more we can open up to accept and respect others. No person likes to feel repressed or oppressed, so how can we find a way to foster equality? War and conflict often stem from a lack of equality.
  • …identifying the problem, naming it and taking action. A problem is no longer a problem if you identify it and begin taking action on it. It’s especially helpful to gather with your group as you identify and discuss the problem, so that you can take action together.

9 Inspiring Steps for Creating Peace at the Grassroots Level

#1 Honor Your Fear and Vulnerability, but Don’t Suffer in Silence

Often, when you are afraid, the natural desire is to hide or run away. However, that typically results in suffering in silence. What if, instead of hiding your fears, you shared them with supportive people? Find out what you and your group are afraid of and speak about it, so you can start to find answers. Each of the Women Peacemakers shared stories of fear in war-torn countries. It was deciding that they no longer wanted to suffer in silence that inspired them to find one friend to discuss their fears with…and then more people came together.

#2 Speak Up and Speak Out – Your Voice Matters

Use your voice. When everyone is suffering, one person speaking out allows everyone else to follow. All it takes is one person to get started. In all cases, the Women Peacemakers talked about finding one friend, then another and growing from there. Just one person starting the discussion matters! Once you have support, it becomes easier to speak out publicly.

#3 Take One Small Step. Then Another. Then Another

Instead of thinking you have to solve major problems all at once, start with one small step. Do the first thing that is in front of you that you feel capable of doing. Then take another step. Honor the small steps on the way to the bigger wins.

#4 Find Your Tribe, Group or Like-Minded Community

Find out who the people are who are most affected by the conflict. Each of the Women Peacemakers learned who was most affected (e.g., certain populations of women, children, mothers, etc.) and reached out to them. Because they identified the affected populations, it was much easier for them to gain support and create a like-minded community to take action.

#5 Educate And Empower Your Community

This is important because a lot of people don’t realize what their rights are. Or in some cases, they don’t fully understand a situation and the potential to change it. The more educated people are, the more they can take courage in knowing their rights, brainstorm action steps, and feel empowered to speak about the steps the group is taking. The community can grow with more supporters in this way as well. Empower everyone with the information they need to be strong members of the movement. Make sure people have the access to information, tools and resources they need.

#6 Seek Out Stakeholders and Experts Who Can Help

If you look around, there is always someone with power, knowledge, tools or resources who can help your group. Stakeholders are people who have some interest in your movement or an ability to support your efforts in some way. Perhaps it’s someone who can build a bridge between you and the person or group you’re in conflict with. Or maybe someone who can offer time, knowledge, skills, money, or other resources your group needs to move forward successfully. If there’s something you feel your group is lacking, reach out and find what you need!

#7 Find Out What “The Other Side” Needs or Values

In Hamsatu’s case, she realized the men in the military respected knowledgeable women. When she was arrested, she began speaking with them, sharing her perspective with them. They became friends and the military started to help the women in her group. In Khurshid’s case, she began talking with the troubled youth and they were happy to have someone finally listen to them and their concerns.

#8 Bring All Parties Together to Identify and Solve the Root Cause of the Problem or Disagreement

Once you are ready, sit down with all parties to analyze and discuss the root cause of the problem. This often comes once there is a deeper understanding of all sides of an issue or conflict. Make sure all stakeholders are present, including those who can help in the negotiations. Once there is understanding, discuss options for solving the root cause.

#9 Create New Policies

Once you have agreed with the parties on the root cause and potential solutions, create new policies that allow for peaceful resolution. Policies are new rules or ways of being and interacting with one another. It could be new laws that everyone signs off on.

How to Keep Your Faith & Courage Strong

  • Choose a cause that motivates and inspires you. It must be personal  – If the cause is something that really matters to you, deep inside, you will be able to get back up again, even if you have a loss along the way or you start to feel tired. Let’s take a job, for example. If you are only doing something for the money, you may find yourself tired or burned out, apathetic. However, if you feel your job is linked to your purpose in life, if it inspires and fuels you, you will likely feel motivated and inspired to keep going. Choose a cause that fuels your heart and inspires you.
  • Walk with others – When you walk alone, you feel weaker. If you walk with a group, you are stronger. When you are with a group, if one person starts to falter, the others can lift them up. This speaks to gathering a community and stakeholders.
  • Celebrate the small steps along with way – Remember to celebrate all progress, even if it seems tiny. This can help keep the belief strong in the group.

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