The Tutu Foundation has created a framework called “Conversations for Change” that brings together people who live in the same physical community but different social communities.
In Croydon this meant working with local gang members to help them learn about each other. Training them so they have the skills to help each other, these are called Ubuntu Peer Coaches and it is often their first recognised qualification. Finally some of them are trained as Community Facilitators, a further recognised qualification. The “Croydon Young Voices Against Violence” project culminated in a series of round table discussions with the police, ambulance service and Youth Justice Board chaired by the Youth Community Facilitators from the local gangs.
Out of Conversations for Change and the work of the Tutu Foundation, other organisations are created. Youth Futures works with young people in Southwark, south London. We are working with Youth Futures and the Metropolitan Police, the UK’s largest police force, to develop a series of round table discussions, training and on-going forums between the police and local young people including gangs. The idea developed from local people who felt they were experiencing racial profiling. The objective is to improve the relationship and respect between the police and the local community, empower the local community who feel persecuted, reduce the cost of policing and maybe develop some local restorative justice programmes to reduce reoffending.
It doesn’t cost much: Some time, thought, imagination and some cups of tea. Most of all it takes courage. Courage to think there could be a better way.
We are talking to the NHS about using Conversations for Change to improve the provision of health care.
We are also talking to the National Health Service about using The Tutu Foundation Mediation Service to improve the resolution of complaints against the NHS for patients, staff and the NHS executive by reducing costs and, importantly, significantly improving the satisfaction and learning for patients, staff and the executive.
The Tutu Foundation UK has established an Annual Peace Summit with our long term partner Regents University London.
Each year we focus on an area of our work to help individuals and communities overcome or prevent conflict and the enormous challenges they face trying to do that. The day long events bring together leaders in their field to speak about their experience and area of expertise and others, who are less well known, to share their experiences of running significant projects or areas of research. The events include workshops and vibrant discussions. Previous speakers have included Martin Bell, the BBC journalist and MP, Sir Hugh Orde, former Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, Prof Dr Christian Schwarz-Schilling, former International Mediator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Nontombi and Mpho Tutu, the daughters of Desmond Tutu our Patron.
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.