There are exciting new projects beginning and important developments to share. Your support, your donations, and your prayers, make our work possible. We are so grateful that you choose to partner with us for peace! 

 

Empower 

This Autumn we’re launching a major new project throughout the Mekong region – one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas. Cord’s project “Empower” will operate in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. We will be supporting the women who work to protect this area of rare wildlife and spectacular natural landscapes. 

All kinds of barriers stop women being fully involved in policies and decision-making processes. They suffer from a lack of education, opportunities and role models. Also, most communities don’t expect women to become leaders. These gender expectations, together with the fact that environmental defenders of any gender can face opposition, mean that women often suffer a double discrimination. 

In the next three years we will be working with all those involved in the forestry committees to ensure that women can take their rightful place in this ecological work. We will help to develop trusting relationships so that women environmental defenders can carry out their vital tasks. 

Myanmar 

Since the military coup in February, the situation continues to be extremely difficult. Some of our partners have had their offices raided by the authorities. Laptops, external hard drives and documents have been seized. One partner saw five staff arrested, with the remainder going into hiding before fleeing to neighbouring Thailand. There are financial issues with bank transfers being restricted and the fear of a banking collapse. Organisations are finding it hard to secure the funds they need to continue their work. 

COVID-19 is spreading quickly through the population, with oxygen tanks and vaccinations being prioritised for the military and their supporters.  

We are supporting our partners to assess the changing situation and deal with the risks. Part of this involves security management training and coaching to make sure that whatever our partners continue to do, they are doing it in the safest possible way. 

Dukomeze Kunywana (Strengthening reconciliation) 

Our new project in Burundi is focused on building a peaceful future through healing and reconciliation. Burundi’s past is not being dealt with in a positive way and so divisions in society increase. Young people are particularly vulnerable. Because they don’t understand what caused violence in the past they: 

  • keep misconceptions going without realising it 
  • suffer from their families’ untreated psychological wounds  
  • are taken advantage of and controlled by political groups 

If people can move towards a joint understanding of history that respects and recognises different points of view and experiences, it will be harder for people to use the past to control others. It will become easier to promote reconciliation and stop trauma being passed from one generation to another.  

This is often referred to as Transitional Justice. It involves creating space and time for individuals and communities to process the past. This could include truth telling, apologies, forgiveness and reparations. Without such a process the wounds never heal and people live and act out of hurt and pain. The project will help communities engage in Transitional Justice with particular emphasis on marginalised groups including women and young people. 

Connect 

CONNECT has been running in Laos for four years. It has been supporting local organisations who work to improve life for ordinary people. We have: 

  1. Built up  local organisations so they are strong and well respected.  
  1. Enabled them to confidently network and cooperate with one another. 
  1. Built trust between local organisations and those in authority. 
  1. Demonstrated the effectiveness of this work so that it can continue into the future.   

We’ve worked with 72 organisations in 5 provinces who have done some amazing work. This has included an extensive programme to improve the nutrition and education of children. In the final months of the project, as we’ve collected stories, gathered evidence and collated our learning, we’ve heard some great testimonies from those involved: 

The students have acquired ecological knowledge and learned gardening in the new school nutritional-garden supported by the project. They have adopted new behaviours and new eating habits and at least once a month the school can feed the students for lunch with the produce from the garden.

(Mr Vinxay, teacher at Nongmai school) 

Before our school faced water shortages and our 117 students faced hardship. There was no library nor story books and the school attendance rate was low. The project helped to create a great school environment supportive to learning: students have access to clean water for hand washing and toilets - both huge improvements. There is also sport equipment so now children don’t want to miss school!

(Mr. Inpan, school principal in Boung village)