In Guatemala, AFSC works to build peace in Guatemala City neighborhoods. Through partnerships with community-based organizations, schools, universities, and public institutions, we are building an urban peace network focused on youth that encourages young people and adults to work together to reduce violence in their communities.
In six of the city´s neighborhoods, youth have organized Local Peace Networks that work to transform the roots of conflict and build local capacities. The networks meet regularly to generate trust and understanding among neighbors and plan activities to promote nonviolence in order to build lasting peace.
A new project, Schools for Peace, promotes peaceful coexistence inside public schools, encouraging mediation and conflict transformation as ways to promote a culture of peace. With teachers, administrative staff, students, and parents as key collaborators, this project is strongly connected to the Local Peace Networks, and it represents another local effort that integrates and strengthens the peace network among neighborhoods.
In addition, we have established alliances with different public sector institutions such as the Crime Prevention Commission of the National Civil Police, Education Unit of the Justice Department, the Social Welfare Secretary, and the Humans Rights Office. These alliances allow us to create spaces where youth and public authorities can talk and exchange ideas, which promotes joint peace-building efforts and counters the negative stereotypes that exist about young people, addressing the needs and structural changes required to transform repressive systems and rebuild the social fabric.