Living Peace was inspired and informed by results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), which identified a strong link between men experiencing or witnessing violence and trauma in conflict and later perpetrating violence at home. The Living Peace methodology and curriculum is based on formative research that Promundo conducted with local partners in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Educational activities and group therapy sessions held with men and their partners help participants to develop positive coping strategies and restore healthy, violence-free relationships in post-conflict and high-violence settings.
Inspired by the lack of programming to support men and women who have been affected by violence, trauma, and displacement in post-conflict and high-violence settings, Living Peace was developed to assist participants in healing from their experiences of trauma by restoring social and partner relationships, and strengthening positive coping strategies that exclude all forms of violence. The groups use a combination of psychosocial support and group education to help men and their partners in post-conflict settings address the personal effects of trauma, while also bringing the community together in a process of social restoration. The group therapy process has been used with survivors of sexual violence, husbands of conflict-related rape survivors, and witnesses of genocide and other forms of violence.
Promundo, supported by the World Bank’s LOGiCA Fund, has worked with local partners in Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – including CARE Burundi, Heal Africa, and Women for Women International – on the development of Living Peace since 2012. Based on formative research conducted with local partners, three curricula were developed, implemented, and evaluated in Goma and Luvungi, DRC, and in northern Burundi. These curricula have their foundation in best practices that have emerged from other gender-transformative group education programs (such as Program H, Program M, and Journeys of Transformation) developed by Promundo and its partners, which have been assessed in numerous impact evaluations around the world. They are also informed by other innovative applications of group therapy programs in post-conflict settings in central Africa.
Results from the evaluation of Living Peace confirm that, almost universally, men and women participants reported significant, positive changes, including improved and more peaceful partner relations, reductions in men’s alcohol abuse and drinking, improvements in men’s control of their frustration and aggression, greater income-sharing by men with their wives, happier children, and improved health outcomes. The Living Peace model expanded to Sierra Leone in 2014, in partnership with Concern Worldwide. In 2015, the groups will be scaled up throughout the North and South Kivu provinces of the DRC with support from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Great Lakes Regional Programme.
- IMAGES: IMAGES measures men’s attitudes and practices – along with women’s opinions and reports of men’s practices – on a wide variety of topics related to gender equality.
- Program H: Designed for young men, Program H encourages critical reflection about rigid norms related to manhood and encourages transformation of stereotypical roles associated with gender.
- Program M: Designed for young women, Program M focuses on equitable gender roles, empowerment in interpersonal relationships, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- Youth Living Peace: Youth Living Peace is designed to help adolescent boys and girls heal from violence, while providing critical school-based training for violence prevention.
- Journeys of Transformation: Journeys of Transformation promotes women’s economic empowerment by engaging men as allies in transforming harmful gender attitudes and behaviors that impact progress.