Civil Peace Service: Prevention of violence through psychosocial support for children and young people

Project description

Title: Psychosocial support and public relations, especially for children and young People
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Palestinian territories
Overall term: 2008 to 2017

Palestinian territories. Marteria on a stage with Palestinian girls at the Aal Falasteen Festival in the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. © GIZ

Context

The impacts of the Israeli occupation are the basic cause of many psychosocial problems in children and young people in the Palestinian territories. Unemployment, the absence of prospects and the psychosocial consequences of the occupation, such as frustration, a sense of powerlessness and the experience of violence, make them vulnerable to increasing radicalisation.

Human security in particular is lacking in the Palestinian territories. This is particularly evident in the refugee camps, Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Several problems come together here: inadequate access to education and training, an extremely high rate of unemployment, violence against the population by the security forces and domestic violence within families.

Objective

Psychosocial measures have addressed psychological and physical stress in children and young people in the Palestinian territories; frustration and aggression have been reduced. The willingness to commit acts of violence within the Palestinian population and against the occupying forces has been reduced; constructive ways of dealing with the conflict have been developed.

New options for peaceful coexistence have been developed and help counteract the political, social and geographical fragmentation of Palestinian society.

Palestinian territories. The partner organisation Uakala' al-We'am (Peace Agents) works in particular with refugees in the West Bank. Aikido, a martial art for peace, is used to promote resilience and non-violent conflict management strategies. © GIZ

Approach

The Civil Peace Service (CPS) strengthens civil society actors that offer psychosocial counselling, support and trauma-specific therapies and create 'safe spaces' to promote the resilience and self-determination of the target groups.

Gender-relevant subjects are mainstreamed; gender-specific violence and its political and cultural causes are addressed as an issue of social policy.

The partner organisations and executing agencies of CPS communicate needs relating to human security (including health and food) from civil society actors to the relevant bodies.
Mechanisms and structures such as narratives and stereotypes that aggravate conflict and contribute to fragmentation are addressed and worked on within social structures (such as cultural and education institutions). Fragmented groups work together to develop options for peaceful coexistence and feed these options into the relevant social structures.

Results

In the 'safe spaces' of the CPS partner organisations, alternative methods, coping strategies and forms of expression are developed to promote a less violent coexistence. Opportunities for employment and activities in the field of sport, music, art and culture provide creative and constructive ways of dealing with the conflict, particularly for young people, and keep them away from the hotspots of violence.

The partner organisations receive visiting political and civil society representatives. This allows the problematic situation to be brought to other countries directly and clearly, and at the same time options for action are discussed.

Palestinian territories. In front of the Old City wall (al-Aqsa mosque), children release balloons into the air in the colours of the Palestinian flag. This helps promote and raise awareness of the Palestinian identity. © GIZ

In addition, cultural, musical and sporting activities have been used to initiate cooperation and exchange between the partner organisations from the different parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. For instance, a concert was organised in the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, which also involved organisations from Nazareth, Syria and Jordan.

Further information