Conflict resolution NGOs work to both resolve and prevent hostilities. While other — and, indeed most — non-governmental organizations may advocate non-violence as a part of their work or mission, conflict resolution NGOs make this their singular goal. In doing this, NGOs dedicated to conflict resolution are able to give the cause of non-violence the focus and resources that it deserves.
Many of these organizations started in response to past conflicts and now continue to work in those areas to help maintain peace. Saferworld, which originated as an anti-nuclear think-tank during the Cold War now puts its resources to use towards the prevention of all sorts of different hostilities. Some organizations such as the International Crisis Group have built up enough international credibility that they are involved behind-the-scenes during high-level negotiations. As new wars occur, still more conflict resolution NGOs rise to the occasion to help those involved move towards peace. The goal of International Alert is to arrive at the scene even before any shots are fired. Meanwhile, groups such as CeaseFire attempt to address smaller-scale conflicts that — if left unaddressed — could grow and result in the devastation of otherwise healthy communities. CeaseFire uses strategies typically employed for controlling pandemics to resolve conflicts before tensions boil over. Once an outbreak of violence has ended, many conflict resolution NGOs stay on the ground to help ensure that the return to peace is permanent.
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The International Centre for Transitional Justice promotes dialogue after conflicts have ended so that affected parties can peacefully and constructively address past injustices. There are plenty of opportunities for people interested in working with a conflict resolution NGO to help out by volunteering or even landing a full- or part-time job. Local groups such as CeaseFire have been successfully duplicated in different cities and regions — so there is also the opportunity to start your own conflict resolution NGO.