Social Entrepreneurship for Peace Building in Conflict Areas

Entrepreneurship Campus

June 4th marks the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression. It is a sad fact that while the world goes through a global health crisis, millions of children worldwide suffer the consequences of conflicts and wars they never created. While living in areas where essential services such as healthcare, housing, education, sanitation, transportation are disrupted by new or ongoing conflicts, vulnerable children get exposed to traumatic events. They risk facing severe problems such as recruitment as soldiers, abduction, maiming and killing, house demolition, forced labor, sexual violence/slavery, human trafficking, malnourishment and hunger crises, armed attacks at school, or hospitals.

The purpose of this day is to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. One of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, SDG 16 includes target 16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children. It’s difficult to say that wars and conflicts will end in 2030, yet children are a major factor to create ‘zones of peace’. This concept has proved to be effective in many cases when ceasefires were reached to allow relief through the enemy lines to carry out vaccination campaigns or to allow food supply for starving children.
Along with Target 16.2, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Anti-war Agenda call for action against all forms of childhood abuse and torture.
At the same time, social entrepreneurship can be a way of peacebuilding mechanism as it brings stability and development in fragile and conflict-affected settings. The peacebuilding aspect of social entrepreneurship is linked to the value-creating and improvement of economic capacities that these businesses have in their communities.
Governments, international humanitarian agencies, and non-governmental organizations have a crucial role in providing support to local businesses to stabilize the local economy. This approach was highlighted during the Annual Session of the UNDP Executive Board referring to the cases of Iraq, Yemen, and Sudan.
“Supporting inclusive governance and reviving the Sudanese economy is key to sustaining peace, achieving the transition to civilian democratic rule, and creating better prospects for all,” was highlighted in the board statement.
Disrupted services and lack of employment can motivate individuals to start a business based on purpose-driven motivation more than just financial needs.
Moreover, education, training, and knowledge have a key role in building resilience through entrepreneurship. While it is true that anyone can recognize a business opportunity in a frustrating problem, proper entrepreneurial skills increase the capability for innovation and success.
Establishing a culture of social entrepreneurship in conflict areas can be difficult on many levels, yet such areas have the greatest need for stable economy models that sustain peace.

If you live in a conflict zone and think that this can be the approach to help to build a peaceful community, but you need entrepreneurial skills, take the free online training offered by the Entrepreneurship Campus. If you already have an idea of a project, join the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition.

Photo: Afghani women on a classroom

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