Special challenges arise when nuclear weapons and conventional conflict intersect, as they do in South Asia, home of two of the nine countries that have nuclear weapons, India and Pakistan. In this region, the escalation of conventional conflict could lead to the use or loss of control of nuclear weapons and this presents unique risks. Ploughshares Fund’s South Asia strategy focuses on investments that create the long-term regional security conditions necessary for Pakistan and India to reduce their nuclear arsenals. A recent grant to Peace Direct is this strategy in action.
Since 2013 Ploughshares Fund has partnered with Peace Direct, an international NGO dedicated to supporting peacebuilding efforts across the world that center local people in the pursuit of durable peace. Ploughshares Fund has previously made 54 grants to Peace Direct for its work in Pakistan, including with local partners HIVE and Aware Girls. This is the first grant to Peace Direct to support the Chanan Development Association (CDA).
More than 60% of Pakistan’s population is below the age of 30. Despite this, policy decisions and dominant political narratives frequently exclude young people.
CDA is a national youth-led Pakistani NGO empowering young people to meaningfully participate in policy development and decision-making without discrimination, to achieve a just, democratic, and peaceful society. CDA was established in 2004 and is based in Lahore. The NGO works in 110 districts across Pakistan through its network of 360 youth-led organizations, 15,000 active volunteers, and 100,000 peer educators.
With this grant, CDA will work to amplify youth voices in policymaking and political processes in Pakistan. CDA is engaging youth in conversations on peacebuilding and youth, peace, and security while facilitating opportunities to develop advocacy skills and elevate their voices into the current policymaking processes. It will support leadership workshops for youth civil society leaders, roundtables around the country, and briefings with key political leaders, parliamentarians, and mainstream and regional political party leadership to advocate for inclusive participation of young civil society leaders in order to strengthen public policy.
This project aims to grow CDA’s network and youth-led advocacy, develop young civil society leaders’ advocacy skills, increase engagements with and help build relationships between CDA and its communities, and generate attention from policymakers, local media, and civil society on the issues most important for youth in Pakistan. CDA has extensive experience working with young people across the whole of Pakistan over its 17-year history. This grant will allow it to further build its network’s capacity as agents of change and peacebuilders, create national platforms for networking and joint initiatives, and advocate for the creation of a welcoming and empowering environment for young people in the country.
Peacebuilding efforts, such as these in South Asia, will help reduce the risk that escalation of conventional conflict could lead to the use, or loss of control, of nuclear weapons. Ploughshares Fund is committed to investing wisely and strategically in the smartest people — across the globe — with the best ideas to achieve a peaceful, more secure world.
Photo composite: Earth pexel (cc); and space wiki /ولاء (cc)