Roots of Peace
Roots of Peace heals the wounds of war and plants the roots of peace by turning 'mines to vines' in post-conflict zones around the world. In the past decade, Roots of Peace has planted fresh grapes in Afghanistan, strawberries in Angola, flowers in Bosnia-Herzegovina, grapevines in Croatia, rice in Cambodia, wheat in Iraq, and chocolate in Vietnam. All while ridding the land of landmines.
Founder Heidi Kühn became gravely aware of the landmine crisis upon the tragic death of Princess Diana in 1997. Motivated by her own appreciation for the gift of life and the Princess’s compassion and commitment to global demining, Kühn began Roots of Peace in honor of Diana’s memory and to ensure that her work would continue.
Roots of Peace is an international humanitarian organization working to unearth dangerous landmines in war-torn countries and empowers the local communities scarred by these indiscriminate weapons. Working to build sustainable crops on land once too dangerous to traverse is how they transform the scars of conflict into the Roots of Peace.
In order for a country to manage itself, it must have the mechanisms to do so. Due to years of conflict, many government and economic institutions in developing countries, lack the ability to effectively manage the obstacles to economic development. Roots of Peace works directly with local governments and trade associations to ensure the market for products is kept efficient, profitable and contains ample room for potential development.
For many of the project sites, demining is required before any work can be done. Landmines and other live munitions contaminate many areas of post-conflict developing countries and are often detonated by an unsuspecting farmer or child. In these instances Roots of Peace works with local governments and other demining partners such as Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to safely remove leftover munitions, and return the land to arability. In Afghanistan alone we removed over 100,000 mines from canals, vineyards and even the packaging facility, with the help of the HALO trust. This has allowed the people of Afghanistan to have access to land that for years has been deemed too dangerous to develop.
Wars wreak havoc on economies. In many cases the conflict is so severe that a country’s economy is reduced to its most basic roots. Roots of Peace believes that building a foundation for a stable economy comes from giving the people the means to produce, distribute, and sell products in a profitable and sustainable environment. This is why they have made a commitment to train farmers in modern day techniques, provide them with the crops that will increase their income, and provide traders and distributors with the means to market them.
The first step for any society is achieving the ability to feed itself. It’s the question on every farmer’s mind in the developing world and unless it’s addressed, farmers will consider little else. Roots of Peace follows an agricultural strategy that addresses farmer’s food and business concerns. This allows them to see their farm as a business, as well as a means for survival. While improving incomes is a main priority of ROP, on-farm food production provides farmers with a safety net should their cash crop fail.
Over 90 percent of the population in most developing countries depend on agriculture. In many cases the farmers do not possess the information or technology to grow their products profitably. This is a result of a lack of access and training. Roots of Peace identifies crops that are well suited for project environments and provides training in modern-day farming techniques while remaining culturally and environmentally respectful.
It is difficult for a country to move forward if half of its population remains behind. That is why Roots of Peace works to provide culturally sensitive opportunities that allow women to empower themselves. While respecting cultural norms, ROP constantly looks to provide educational opportunities for young women and develop avenues for women to gain workforce training and experience.