Technology has rendered individuals more powerful than ever. More than at any time in our lives before, digital tools like social media, bots, hacking and online misinformation are reshaping our world in ways that can be unpredictable, unsettling, and destabilizing. But technology also creates the potential for connection and good, when harnessed to expand civic response to global and emerging challenges.
PeaceGeeks collaborates with communities to put technology tools and digital literacy in the hands of citizens, peacebuilders, human rights defenders, and humanitarian responders. We've led projects that build safer and more stable societies, respond to humanitarian crises, connect displaced and conflict-affected communities, amplify discourse for peace, and share critical knowledge. At PeaceGeeks, we operate on the principle of inspiring local action to solve local problems, with a vision to make peace a lived reality for everyone.
Founded in 2011, PeaceGeeks has grown from a grassroots volunteer group into a nonprofit leader in building technology for peace. In 2017, we became a Google.org Impact Challenge winner in Canada. We're currently based in Vancouver, Canada and Amman, Jordan.
Stories create change; they inspire us and move us to action. My story with PeaceGeeks began in 2010 at the United Nations during the tenth anniversary of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. I was struck by the incredible stories of brave individuals and communities who worked in very difficult situations to end conflict and promote human rights - and how little we hear about these stories beyond the confines of policy circles. I committed myself to helping grassroots organizations from around the world be seen and heard on the issues that matter most to them.
We often take for granted that very basic technological tools are inaccessible to many community-based organizations. During an interview with Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee in 2011, it became clear how little most of the world knew about the heroic efforts of the Liberian women’s movement and their role in ending 14 years of conflict. It wasn’t until the release of the documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” that people everywhere had a chance to hear some of these stories of courage and unity. I wanted to make sure that groups like these had more opportunities to get the attention they deserved, so that they could influence local and international policy and action, and help to make peace and human rights a lived reality in their communities.
Today, PeaceGeeks has helped several non-profit and grassroots groups tell their story and amplify marginalized voices through strengthened technological and communications capacities. I am honoured to work alongside our partners, my fellow PeaceGeeks, and our community networks who share our vision for a peaceful and connected world. If, like me, you are also motivated to help make a difference, join us!
In the autumn of 2010, I returned to Vancouver to resume my PhD after one year of serving the United Nations Environment Programme in Afghanistan. As UNEP’s environmental education and outreach expert, I worked with several brilliant people forming NGOs and striving to improve people’s livelihood and promote peace and human rights.
Afghanistan ignited a fire in my heart. I was eager to continue supporting those great local initiatives. I read an article by Renee Black about the impact of technology on peacebuilding and I started thinking about what it could mean for a frontline aid worker. I happened to meet Renee at the screening of a powerful documentary, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell." The energy from the film motivated discussions about how we can leverage technology to support civil society groups and how we can build communities of volunteers and activists from developing and developed countries to work together to build peace. This was the beginning of PeaceGeeks.
As a national environmental expert in Iran and international expert in Mali, India and Afghanistan, I witnessed how despite the rich local capacities, aid work relies heavily on western expertise. PeaceGeeks’ approach is a solution to long-term problems of traditional international aid such as cultural problems and high expenses of sending volunteers to developing countries. It leads to a modern aid work era of trusting grassroots organizations and building their capacity to reach local solutions. Join us and be a part of this global community of passionate people who are taking local action to solve local problems, building more resilient communities that ripple outward and create a more peaceful world.
PeaceGeeks is made up of both a non-charitable society - PeaceGeeks Society (PGS) - and a charitable society - PeaceGeeks International (PGI). Both organizations are based in British Columbia and partner with organizations based in conflict-affected places to support their development at grassroot level.
PeaceGeeks International is comprised solely of a Board of Directors which is responsible for approving and funding partner projects that qualify as charitable according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). As a registered Canadian charity, PGI files annual reports with the CRA and can issue tax receipts to qualified donors.
*Charitable business number: 84322 5939 RR0001.
PeaceGeeks Society executes all the projects approved by PeaceGeeks International and both funds and executes all PGS projects, some of which may not qualify as charitable according to the CRA. PGS also manages the operations of both organizations.