Peace Innovators

We work with peace innovators across the globe to design and implement technology interventions to peacebuilding processes.

We help teams take an innovative peacebuilding intervention from idea to pilot implementation. Projects coming out of these programs typically fall into three areas of technology use: data management, strategic communications and dialogue. Participants in our programs emerge with a strong understanding of best practices in participation and innovation that allow them to continue to design and manage innovations in their peacebuilding work.

All our peace innovation programs share the same core components

Tailored training

Peace innovators come together for joint trainings that cover a variety of topics including participatory methodologies, human-centered design and conflict sensitivity. Training provides participants with the tools they need to design and manage innovative projects, and with opportunities for peer learning from others in the program. Training programs are adapted to the context and interests of participants.

Accompaniment through mentorship

Each peace innovation team team is assigned a Build Up team member who acts as their lead mentor. Lead mentors work with teams to identify additional mentors (Build Up team members or others from the Build Peace network) who have skills or experience relevant to the team’s intervention. Through monthly calls, regular email communication and visits to their project location, the mentors provide project management support, technical advice, and hands-on problem solving.


Build Up helps peace innovators to communicate their work externally, supporting them to produce communication materials and opening doors to public speaking events. Build Up also facilitates connections with other peace innovators in its network. Participants join a global network of local activists and practitioners working to address emergent challenges to peace in the digital era.

Grant funding

Peace innovators receive a grant to cover some of the technical and implementation costs of their intervention. The size and use of the grant is flexibly determined by participating teams in consultation with their lead mentor. Build Up supports the teams to manage the grant, including providing supervision of financial reporting.

In 2021, Build Up appointed Ta Corrales from Smith Assembly to conduct an external evaluation for its Peace Innovators Program. This report summarises the process and outcomes of this evaluation, carried out between August 2021 and February 2022.

Sahel Fellows

Applications are open until June 7 for a new fellowship program for people working in the Sahel region.

“The Build Peace Fellows Program has been an outstanding opportunity, not only to learn about peacetech, but also to have a hands-on experience regarding the possibilities and limitations of using technology for peacebuilding. In a time when ‘social innovation’ is a buzzword in peacebuilding and development projects, the Build Peace Fellows Program is a unique opportunity to understand the prospects and risks of projects that involve technology for peacebuilding, and build context-sensitive and sustainable participatory projects that use technology appropriately, ethically and responsibly.”

Build Peace 2016-2017 Fellow

Peace Innovation Partnerships

Digital Steps Fellows: Syria & Yemen

Building on the two prior Digital Steps programs, Build Up will continue a collaboration with the British Council to provide young media innovators in Syria and Yemen with effective tools, skills, and mentoring to create their own tech or digital media initiatives that respond to local community needs and contributes to its resilience. 400 young and emerging actors, journalists, and content creators will receive training and design support, and four teams will be selected for continued Build Up mentorship and guidance through implementation.

Innovators for Peace in the Sahel

From 2020-2021, Build Up supported teams of young innovators from Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali to implement a peacebuilding initiative using digital technology. 12 teams of 2-3 peacebuilders were trained on digital skills to use technology to solve a problem related to youth participation in peacebuilding in their community, region or country. After the course, 6 teams received mentoring and financial support to implement their idea over the span of a year. Pilot projects ranged from digital conflict training for bloggers, a mapping platform to address conflicts between artisanal miners and mining companies in Burkina Faso, or the use of WhatsApp to connect herders and farmers in Northern Mali. In October 2021, they met in Niamey to jointly review the impact of their interventions and present it to a broader audience of peacebuilding organizations and donors, organized with our project partner Oxfam IBIS.                                                                                                                                                                                

Building a Dialogue Program

From 2020-2021, we collaborated with Danmission to identify, build capacity of, and accompany peace innovators in the Middle East, with a thematic focus on inter-religious dialogue. The project produced a number of concrete concept notes for locally-led innovation projects as well as strategies for how partners would like this innovation work to be taken forward. In 2021 three participating teams were selected for accompaniment and grant support to implement their concepts. The initiatives used innovative creative approaches to peacebuilding such as using art to bring youth from different backgrounds together in Syria, using non-violent communication to quell digital tensions between Facebook users in Iraq, and creating a campaign to raise awareness on the dangers of ceremonial gunfire in Lebanon. 

Digital Steps Fellows: Syria & Yemeni Diaspora

In 2019 – 2021, we accompanied 14 fellows from 7 teams inside Syria and 8 fellows from 4 teams in the Yemeni diaspora; watch a short documentary of this program. Their projects ranged from a digital platform that connects Yemeni women with resources and diverse community to enhance their lives in Sweden, a podcast series that bridges people together through humanizing the personal experiences of the Yemeni conflict, a digital campaign that shares labor laws with migrant workers so that they may have better working conditions, a series of fairy tales to connect the youth and parents of the within the Yemeni diaspora and their host community in Germany.

Digital Steps Fellows: Syria

The Digital Steps Fellows program is a collaboration between Build Up and the British Council. In 2017-2018, we accompanied 8 fellows from 4 organizations inside Syria; watch a short documentary of this program.

Yemen Communities Stronger Together

Build Up collaborated with Global Communities to pilot the innovative use of technology and creative approaches in peacebuilding projects across Yemeni communities. Seven teams received training and accompaniment from Build Up for initiatives that incorporated participatory video making, digital games, and animated videos, among others. Three teams moved forward to receive support from GC in to pilot their projects.

Build Peace Fellows

The Build Peace Fellows program was developed by Build Up to pilot an innovation methodology for peacebuilders. Between 2016 and 2018, we have accompanied 12 fellows from 9 organizations in Myanmar, Colombia, Burundi, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Pakistan. The Build Peace Fellows programs were funded by PeaceNexus and Danmission.

Other Innovation Accompaniment

Digital MAPS

The Digital MAPS program was a six-month collaboration with the British Council and 18 partnering organizations and social media content creators in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Syria, Yemen, and Tunisia. Build Up supported 18 partners to conduct participatory action research using Phoenix to conduct social media mapping and analysis in order to understand polarization dynamics on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Based on this research, Build Up provided training and technical support for the design and implementation of pilot interventions that counter polarization and promote inclusivity and openness in the networked public sphere.

Civic Engagement in Cyprus

Mahallae was a digital neighborhood for civic engagement developed by Cypriot civil society and innovators from the Euro-Mediterranean region. Mahallae was funded and implemented by UNDP-ACT, who engaged Build Up to advise and accompany the project from its inception until June 2015.

Digital Games to Prevent Violence

PEACEapp was a global competition to promote digital games and gamified apps as venues for dialogue and conflict management. The competition was funded and convened by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the United Nations Development Program in 2014 – 2015. Over 100 submissions from 42 different countries tackled different aspects of peacebuilding and cross-cultural dialogue in engaging and innovative ways. Build Up coordinated the implementation and curation of the competition. Read more about the PEACEapp competition.