Your 6-Step Guide to Implementing Positive Peace

Over the years, people have built societies, created systems of governance, made languages, and so much more than most of us take for granted. It's in human nature to socialize and create groups for the betterment of their society. This grouping shall be in the form of countries, political parties, ethnic groups, and more. Together, we aim to achieve positivity in life. As the world faces a myriad of hurdles and challenges, creating positive peace has become quintessential for both governments and communities alike.

Positive Peace - An Overview:

Positive peace is an ambitious concept that has to do with peacebuilding, to create desirable outcomes such as a better economy, improved well-being, gender equality, conflict resolution, and more. It is also meant to reduce the number of grievances and the violence associated with them.

According to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), positive peace is defined as the “attitudes, institutions, and structures which create and sustain peaceful societies.” By researching over 25,000 datasets spanning 10 years, IEP1 has created highly effective strategies that emanate positive peace, improve resilience, and reduce the risk of violence & its resultant economic adversities.

Why is Positive Peace Important?

👨‍🏫Johan Galtung, a Norwegian sociologist, is the founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies. He is credited with coining the term positive peace, even though it's been used in the past. Galtung introduced the concept of positive and negative peace. According to his theory, both positive and negative peace should align with one another. In other words, to attain positive peace, you should have negative peace first.

Negative peace refers to the absence of any form of violence. When a war ends, peace is achieved. However, Galtung2 suggests that this negative peace should be heightened with positive peace. The latter is all about fostering good relations and promoting harmony. Both negative and positive peace is important for a society to unify and thrive.

There are eight pillars of positive peace and they are as follows:

I. Sound business environment;

II. Well functioning government;

III. Equitable distribution of resources;

IV. Free flow of information;

V. Good relations with neighbors;

VI. High levels of human capital;

VII. Acceptance of the rights of others;

VIII. Low levels of corruption;

6 Steps to Implement a Positive Peace Project:

The positive peace framework is applicable in several settings and can be used to rectify complex challenges. The project can be customized and is typically different from the traditional peacebuilding approach. Positive peace urges society to take the entire social system into account. Every action in the project is led by the community and is intended to create sustainable outcomes. The project should be about accrual shifting each positive piece pillar (mentioned above) and directing the pillar towards your goal. Here are the steps to implement the positive peace framework:

Step 1: Identify Project

Identify a new or existing project. The objective of the project you consider shall have a social, economic, or governance outcome. A few projects where a positive peace framework is applicable are as follows:

  • Economic development;

  • Food security;

  • Efficient land usage;

  • Sustainable Water and sanitation;

  • Literacy, and more;

Step 2: Identify Actors

Identify and consider the people who can plan and execute the project. This can be peer influencers, community leaders, representatives from the vocational sectors impacted by the project, and more.

Step 3: Community Analysis

As mentioned earlier, the community should be an active participant in the development process. Since they know what problems must be resolved, they will have a better understanding of their needs. They will keep track of every interaction that happens between the community and the local government body.

Pick a few individuals from the community who must be involved in the project design. Implement a selection process, supported by the local community, while selecting such individuals. A group consisting of 10 to 25 participants would be ideal.

Step 4: Project Development

Develop actions for each pillar of positive peace. While doing so, analyze the impact of your activity on the other pillars of positive peace and make the necessary refinement required. Ensure that the actions are important for your goal, impactful within a specific time period, and attainable in the current political climate. You may find it essential that each pillar must be properly studied to know if it is relevant to your project.

Step 5: Project Implementation

Now that you have created the actions in the development phase, it is time for execution. Every action implemented should be about driving the social system towards peace. Remember that the actions you perform need not necessarily create the results you expect. It is not easy to determine the impact of any changes made to a social system. Therefore, a project team should continue to experiment and take the appropriate measures after observing the shifts in social systems.

Step 6: Monitoring Progress and Impact

This last step is super important. Continuously monitor the progress of the project with careful observations, interviews, surveys, media, and the utilization of economic, social, and environmental indicators. Add and adjust the actions as you monitor the project.

Assess the project based on the Monitoring and Evaluation3 (M&E) approach. There are some evaluation approaches to choose from, however, IEP recommends Outcome Mapping4 (OM), which is based on the Theory of Change5 (TOC) model. The team responsible for M&E should regularly communicate with the implementing parties throughout the project. With proper collaboration, project evaluation becomes more efficient.

High positive peace promotes stability, adaptability, and resilience. It is very effective in reducing the risks of violence in the future. If peacebuilding is on your mind, make use of the steps mentioned above to fulfill your goals.