The Tutu Foundation UK was invited to work with community leaders from loyalist paramilitary organisations in Belfast communities that feel marginalised and divided by the Northern Ireland Peace Process. These community leaders were involved in “the troubles” and pivotal to the subsequent peace process.
The Tutu Foundation UK offers a commitment to provide the skills, networks and support systems needed by community groups to work towards building peace. The community leaders are all passionate about their communities but feel disenfranchised from the political debate in Northern Ireland. They played a key role in moving the country from conflict to peace. Now they find themselves confronted by the disaffected and unemployed youth of Belfast with the accusation that they are 'hard men, gone soft.' They face accusations that the process has brought peace but failed to deliver significant improvements for the working class people of Belfast. In addition there is growing bitterness and frustration in the community that their counterparts in the republican movement appear to have benefitted disproportionately from the peace process.
This project has been initiated and led by the community leaders. The Tutu foundation UK is helping those leaders to tackle factional and inter-generational conflict and violence in their communities. We are helping them to
- Build on their own progressive social justice initiatives.
- Work to bridge inter-factional and inter-generational divides through dialogue and understanding.
- Articulate their own needs and help them develop the skills they need to initiate programmes that meet those needs.
- Articulate their communities’ achievements.
This project is on-going and open ended. At present the project does not have a dedicated source of funding. The Tutu Foundation UK and the communities of Northern Ireland would be very grateful if you or your organisation would support it.