Beyond Violence was founded in mid-2012 by Paul Steinheuer and Tim Williams as an online community of voices pushing for peace. In the years since, Beyond Violence has gone from strength to strength, having successfully launched and implemented several ICT-based campaigns in Armenia and Azerbaijan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Syria and Ukraine. Each campaign has utilised different ICTs to empower voices silenced by conflict, and to enable people around the world to combat violence together. From web petitions, to workshops on creative expression, to missed calls campaigns and violence mapping, they have focussed on the development of creative new technologies which can be used in future campaigns.
Today, Beyond Violence works to transform conflicts into situations of sustainable peace, by engaging in situations of conflict with individual activists who believe like us that working in unison in ICTfacilitated campaigns, can strengthen non-violent action for change and make a tangible difference. They believe that modern ICTs provide a radical new opportunity for connecting and empowering these people to affect change. Through the effective and innovative use of ICTs, Beyond Violence brings people together who are passionate for peace and allows them to speak out against violence in unison. Their campaigns raise awareness of the destructive impact of violent conflict, facilitate dialogue on how to overcome violence and point towards opportunities for peaceful conflict transformation. They believe that by harnessing the passion of individuals around the world, they can together create and offer campaigns which will empower those people most committed to nonviolent conflict transformation and simultaneously most at risk of the consequences of violent conflict.
Organisationally, Beyond Violence is staffed by a global network of volunteers who are grouped into various operational teams, and all of their campaigns are facilitated, supported and promoted by these global teams. For each campaign Beyond Violence aims to create a local team which is integrated into the wider organisation's staff structure. The core campaign team works to forge strong strategic partnerships with other local organisations in order to place campaigns on a broad footing and mutually benefit both partners.
Further, campaign teams are encouraged to broadly recruit volunteers from within the conflict country targeted by specific campaigns, and to build up a local network to promote the campaign and its implementation. The local teams focus on the implementation of ICT-based campaign elements and thus do not conduct many non-technological events themselves, but they also facilitate networking with strategic partners who in collaboration with their campaign objectives should be encouraged to mobilise their members through non-technological events. Ideally, from a campaign, a long-term engagement of the local team emerges and permanent structures are established. Beyond Violence prioritises the security of its staff, volunteers, partners, campaign partners and any other affiliated parties strongly, but also most of all any participants in campaigns – any campaigns or organisational matters which could have security implications will be reviewed thoroughly. Volunteers and staff members are expected to perform to the highest professional standards. They are to be regularly assessed and mutual commitments will only continue if such high standards are upheld. Volunteers are recruited on a needs-only basis and receive a comprehensive induction and a clear person of contact within the organisation, mostly a team manager or directly the Executive Director.
In terms of funding, financial support for Beyond Violence's work has been relatively limited hitherto. Operational costs have been covered by volunteer’s donations as well as a crowdfunding campaign, and campaign specific external funding has been secured from the Joffe Family Trust for the Voices for Peace campaign in Zimbabwe in 2013/2014. Beyond Violence aims to expand their funding substantially in an effort to professionalise and be able to pay some staff members by the end of the strategy period.
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