In the information age, successful peacebuilding efforts depend as much on the outcomes of boardroom mediation dialogues and signing of ceasefire and peace agreements as they do on how the achievement, purpose and conduct of peace is viewed by public opinion in the conflict context. Therefore, peacebuilders and those advocating for violence are constantly engaging in a struggle to win perceptions, and with the advent of the internet, this struggle is unfolding on digital media.

In 2005, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri pointed out that

“More than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media…


Claudia Meier reflects on Build Up’s digital adaptation for consultations

Last year, as the pandemic picked up speed, we began to reflect on how peacebuilders can adapt to a physically distanced reality. One year in, we want to offer observations from one aspect of our digital adaptation work: the various WhatsApp-based consultation processes we have had the privilege to facilitate.

To support others in the community who want to run similar processes, we are collecting emerging tips and tricks from all our WhatsApp consultations in a Rough Guide to Messenger-Based Dialogue and Consultations.

This blogpost delves into one consultation we…


Mira El Mawla & Krystel Tabet

Originally published on ZIF TECHPOPS

A simple google search about ‘Social media analysis’ takes us to hundreds of pages for tools, platforms and literature on analyzing your social media: who is reading your material? Who is interacting with it? What about the intended audience reach? Etc. However, there is very little knowledge shared about how peacekeepers, peacebuilders and mediators can use social media analysis to create more impact and influence change.

Most social media analysis helps corporates develop targeted strategies to increase their sales or target specific consumers. Can similar analysis also help peacebuilders and mediators in understanding misinformation, hate…


by Sheila Akinyi Owino

Before I share my story, I wanted to introduce you to the Maskani Commons. In March of 2020, with the support of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law’s (KPSRL) Knowledge Management Fund (KMF), the Center for Media, Democracy, Peace and Security — Rongo University (CMDPS-RU) and Build Up, the Maskani Digital Peace Process was born. Dr. Fredrick Ogenga, the director of CMDPS, was able to draw in the participation of students and faculty advisors from six public universities in Western Kenya to establish the Maskani Team. …


Opening remarks at the Build Peace 2020 conference by Helena Puig Larrauri, Director and Co-Founder of Build Up.

Build Peace is a conversation that evolves over the years and that reflects what is around us. In the first four years, we really focused on the opportunities afforded to peacebuilders by digital technologies — on technology as a tool for peace, for shifting power towards local voices. There was a sense of excitement at all we could do.

Over the past two years, the conversation has shifted. At some point we all began to recognize that technology was not a tool…


We’ve been reflecting on the implications of the pandemic for conflict, and our role as digital peacebuilders. This is the second of a two-part blogpost, where our director Helena Puig Larrauri discusses how peacebuilding can adapt to social distancing in the short and medium term. The first part explores why peacebuilding will be important in the coming months and years, in connection with the social, political and economic shifts that the pandemic is bringing about.

It’s 11am and my son is jumping up and down on my bed, screaming at the top of his lungs. Confinement is trying for a…


We’ve been reflecting on the implications of the pandemic for conflict, and our role as digital peacebuilders. This is the first of a two-part blogpost, where our director Helena Puig Larrauri explores why peacebuilding will be important in the coming months and years, in connection with the social, political and economic shifts that the pandemic is bringing about. The second part talks about how peacebuilding can adapt to social distancing measures in the short and medium term.

I’m spending a lot of time on the roof of the building where I live. This is more or less my view.

I live in Barcelona, on a street that is unusually quiet these days, the silence broken every night at 8pm to clap for…


In 2018–2019, we ran the Build Peace Fellows Myanmar program, supporting three initiatives to pilot technology tools to support their peacebuilding work. Here, Hein Paing Htoo Chit, Founder and Executive Director of SEED for Myanmar, reflects on his journey as a fellow.

Seeing conflict first hand

I can trace this journey back to 2014, when I graduated from medical university and traveled around Myanmar, volunteering in mobile clinics in disputed areas. In 2015, I found myself working in an area where ethnic conflict had driven many people out of their homes and into camps.

One day, I returned from an…


“But what about leaks on social media? There’s no closed door negotiation when everyone is on Twitter.”

Mediators are increasingly concerned about the threats posed to peacemaking efforts by digital technologies. They express concern over the risk of data leaks, a loss of control over dialogue confidentiality or the impact of social media on conflict narratives. At the same time, they recognise that technology provides an opportunity to advance their strategic objectives and are increasingly interested in understanding how to harness that opportunity.

Because concerns about risks have been dominant for a long time, there are fewer examples of technology…


An intervention to depolarize political conversations on Twitter and Facebook in the USA.

In 2017, we piloted an approach to depolarizing conversations on social media in the USA. Throughout 2019, we scaled and improved this approach to have thousands of conversations across some of the most polarized and polarizing topics discussed on Twitter and Facebook in the USA.

We think it worked: an analysis of behaviors we directly observed on Twitter signals that our interventions had a positive effect on people we engaged in conversation. Our facilitators corroborate this in their qualitative assessments, and indicate they saw similar dynamics on Facebook.

Build Up

Build Up transforms conflict in the digital age. Our approach combines peacebuilding, participation and technology.

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