Tag Archives: peacebuilding

Child Soldiers

In the two posts in the series hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace, we have seen how popular culture portrays deep social issues, such as child abuse in its various forms. However, very much like for example women, youth and children are not only victims of violence, or peacebuilders as seen in the article The Unexplored Power of Youth but in some cases they can also be perpetrators of violence.

Here are two videos that show these different sides of youth and children. This time the videos show how NGOs try to approach this complex and difficult topic. Both videos are made by WarChild, an organisation that tries to reintegrate child soldiers and give them the means to come back to a somewhat normal life.

If you have some articles or interesting websites that might give ideas or approaches for guiding youth through the process of changing the roles they are playing towards positive change, please share them – post them below or send an email to takeyourinitiative@gmail.com

More from the series soon,

Nina Aeckerle


Diddy and Kutcher team up: Malaria No More


For the 4th of July P. Diddy and Ashton Kutcher teamed up to fight a forgotten killer: Malaria.

Diddy’s legendary White Party served as a reminder of how we can work against Malaria.

You can buy shirts from Comb’s Sean John Malaria No More Collection and for every shirt two bed nets will go to certain parts of Africa to help people protect themselves against the deadly mosquitos that carry Malaria.

Here is a special message from Ashton Kutcher:

Check out their website if you want to contribute: www.seanjohn.com/malarianomore

Peacebuilding initiatives like this are seem to be really effective in drawing the public’s attention to a good cause, but sometimes I wonder how long this interest lasts? Is it just a small publicity hype, or can the attention of these celebrities really make people aware of what is going on in other parts of the world?

NGOs have to ask themselves the same question: should they start advertising for peace? Should we turn something that is based on morals into something hot, sexy and flashy to catch attention?

Tell me what you think? Does it touch you if Diddy or Peter Gabriel or even the late Michael Jackson tell you to support their initiatives for peace?

Personally, I think it’s time to take the path that people are willing to follow. As long as it doesn’t go against one’s own values….

So, go ahead an contribute to the fight against Malaria!

Be in peace,

Nina Aeckerle

Hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace

start peaceIn an earlier post, I have introduced you to the article The Unexplored Power and Potential of Youth as Peace-builders. It showed that youth can take up the powerful role of peacebuilders and can engage in creating positive social change. Today I will start a small series of posts on the topic of youth as peacebuilders but also on some of the other roles youth can play.

Through hip hop and poetry I will look at different topics, such as conflict diamonds, different conflicts from different perspectives, and many others.

Be ready to follow my first series on Take Your Initiative.

Nina Aeckerle

Just Wasting Our Time? Are peacebuilding efforts going in a wrong direction?


Just Wasting Our Time? An Open Letter to Peacebuilders

This is the title of another rather theoretical article on NGOs.

The authors Simon Fisher and Lada Zimina question critically actions and attitudes of NGOs in the field of peacebuilding, conflict transformation and development. They criticise some of the approaches NGOs have been using up to now and call for a redefinition of basic values of peace work. Have we become so technically perfect, so bureaucratically brilliant that we have forgotten what peace means? We, who we are supposed to be working for peace and brining sustainable positive change? Fisher and Zimina show their perspective on what the problems are and what a possible way for the future could be.

Here is an excerpt:
Many INGOs, including those working on development and humanitarian assistance, demonstrate confusion about their role in relation to peace, which infects their policymaking and often leads them to settle for an ineffective, minimalist approach. If they could resolve this uncertainty their work would, we believe, have a much greater and more lasting impact. So while this paper may bring some unsettling questions, we hope that it also has the potential to make their lives easier by providing a stimulus for this process and some signposts along the way…

For the full article and some of the academic responses:


Nina Aeckerle

The Unexplored Power and Potential of Youth as Peace-builders

This is a very interesting article on the potential of youth, who are often underestimated.

The Unexplored Power and Potential of Youth as Peace-builders
By Celina Del Felice and Andria Wisler

Around the world many young people are victims of cultural, direct, and structural violence and become carriers of that violence or perpetration. There is a strong tendency among politicians and researchers to see youth as a problem to be solved.  However, many youth are peaceful and peace-builders. Equally affected by various forms of violence, they decide to act constructively towards building a culture of peace. Youth are underestimated as positive agents of change and key actors in peace-building, both by policy-makers and academics. This paper explores the role of youth as peace-builders, illustrating their unique power and potential to affect social change through a number of examples.

To download this article:


Nina Aeckerle