Center for Peace and Poverty Alleviation Studies

Peace is inextricably linked with poverty. In areas where human relations are dictated by the quotidian struggles of people to eke out decent lives, ideologies that sacralise and glorify violence thrive like vultures that feed on dead human flesh. There has been a tendency to pin the blame on the thriving of such groups for the near-impossibility of instituting peace in the current world: blaming a consequence instead of the process that gives rise to it. Justice, security and freedom are 3 inseparable components of peace, all of which cannot be had by poor communities, leading to the formation of ideologies and then on to the violence poor nations are so familiar with. Ideologies seek justice, security and freedom through the means their hands could lay on, hence, forming collective identities that are susceptible to turning to violent means. The fundaments of the absence of peace lay in the preponderance of poverty in societies.

In the sense that poverty means the absence of all human rights, being poor is thus a dehumanizing condition. Peace cannot be had in a society that hosts so much frustration, hostility and anger – human conditions that are generated by abject poverty. The foundations of peace can only be built by providing opportunities for decent lives for peoples. In a world of so much poverty, it is paradoxical that poverty itself is the least understood phenomenon. Indeed, the inability to understand poverty is one of the conditions of possibility of poverty and the consequent absence of peace. As a corollary, peace is least understood when it is not thought within the precincts of poverty. All the other factors that contribute to the absence of peace – unjust economic, social and political order, absence of democracy, environmental degradation and absence of human rights – have poverty as their generative matrix.

It has often been the case that those who are under the siege of the absence of peace in conflict-ridden societies lack the critical understanding of the phenomenon to which they are being subjected. Being too close to the realities of wars, ideological conflicts, and similar circumstances does not warrant a social scientific knowledge of the kind of world they are having, which is the root of ideological ferment. By producing and deploying knowledge on peace and poverty, the center for peace and poverty studies provides a space for theoretical reflection that is backed-up by scientific research and with a firm commitment to an advocacy for the establishment of peace through social justice. This means that the centre will work with practitioners in the field such as NGOs, community organizations and social movements in the production and deployment of knowledge on peace and poverty. The centre will work at the local, national and global levels by linking with partner organizations such as local and national government units and international organizations that have to do with peace and poverty.

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