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Peace Neighborhoods: From Places of 'Forced To Be' to Places 'To Be'

Peace Neighbourhoods will create 10 connected, liveable and colourful Neighbourhoods at 4 cities in 3 continents over the course of 2 years

Photo of MasterPeace Foundation
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

According to UNHCR 2018 report, the number of People on the move exceeded 70.8 million globally, which poses a new challenging reality for People on the move and their new neighbours. Some of the root-causes in the majority of the cases that People on the move end up residing in cities and urban spaces as they move, creating a perceived pressure on the infrastructure and social cohesion of cities. As contributing factors, much of the current integration practices fail to address the social needs, which often leads to the exclusion of migrants and refugees from the labour market, housing, health and education services and most importantly fails on fronts of social cohesion, to promote a sense of pride, belonging and social connection as People on the move suffer a higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), deprivation, employment difficulties, and problems of cultural and social adaptation. Peace Neighbourhoods aims to apply a transformation model that bridges the journey from places of ‘Forced To Be’ into places that are ‘Safe To Be’ and eventually evolving to places ‘‘To Be’, where the community unleash their full potential. The project consists of activities in a 'three-steps approach' from places ‘People on the move’ are basically forced to be into safe spaces, not only physically but also mentally via inclusive ‘Dialogue’ where stakeholders from SMEs, municipalities, governments and nonprofits join and expressive ’Storytelling’ where People on the move and their neighbours can open up about their experiences and hopes for the new realities. Eventually moving to inspiring neighbourhoods where both sides unleash their potential in places ‘To Be’ through Walls of Connection, urban integration spark where host communities and new arrivals come together and turn their communities into colourful spaces to build perspectives via social entrepreneurship skills to create better financial opportunities and celebrate rich their culture.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

We selected through our global movement 4 of our teams who are experienced and most relevant communities. Colombia (Medellín) for having the highest number of internally displaced people (IDPs) worldwide, in addition to Ecuador (Quito) region's top host of Venezuelans on the move. In Europe, we selected the Netherlands (Utrecht) as one of the top countries with the highest migration from the greater Middle East. In Asia, we selected Bangladesh (Sylhet) with host of most Rohingya refugees.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

The project bridges physically and mentally People on the move and their new neighbours through set of activities that creates places that are ‘Safe To Be’ with inclusive discussions and expressive storytelling, furthermore improving into place ‘To Be’ to unleash potentials through urban inclusion of Walls of Connection, Social Entrepreneurship, and celebration of cultural diversity. Peace Neighbourhoods is centred around activities that connect communities rather than separate them

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Built on our partner's 'Utrecht University' research on the role of positive interventions, These learnings represent breakthrough insights relevant to all stakeholders on a local & global level. Applied in Peace Neighbourhoods, the findings act beyond fulfilling the basic human needs into the equally important aspect of human feeling of recognition, being seen and heard, gaining confidence and expressing talents. People on the move will be seen for their talent rather than another number in the migration list. Their dreams, memories and hopes will be visualized across the cities and communities they live in fostering a culture of ‘welcome’ that empowers appreciation, empathy and engagement into the active participation in community life. Also the need to embrace a cultural diversity where both sides can express and connect as part of feeling safer and more accepted in the new realities, in addition, the need for healing from traumatic stressors, depression, and chronic anxiety

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

Peace Neighborhood is built on a set of concrete action-oriented activities based on our transformational model. The project will influence indirectly 20,000 community members and directly work with 2000 first-line beneficiaries with an outreach of millions through (social)media channels. As concrete outcomes, the project structurally creates new dynamics between the direct beneficiaries and their community, where we run our tested models of workshops, training, capacity building for entrepreneurial skills and storytelling, in addition to series of cultural events, music and street art to unleash potential. For the lasting impact, the results focus on creating inclusive, secure, humane, peaceful neighbourhoods, full of creativity and positivity in four cities, as we worked for many years in this field in many cities, we researched the transformation model as in some cities like Medellín where the model showed results of less violence, growth in jobs, peacefulness and tourism

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

We run a pilot of Peace Neighborhoods in different contexts, such as Colombia which was built on Medellín Key Success Factors’ released by the World Economic Forum. The pilot ‘Barrios de Paz’ was born out of reintegrating conflict groups back within communities, including Internally Displaced People IDPs, as tested in Mexico, The Netherlands with 'Talent & Connection', and in India with ‘Rainbow Villages’. With the help of Utrecht University social sciences program on positive intervention, we could assess the benefits of the pilot which provided a framework for learned lessons. Using the framework of 'Peace Neighborhoods' as a holistic concept with tested tools such as stakeholder dialogue, storytelling, urban integration through Walls of Connection and building perspectives through entrepreneurship. The research by Utrecht University the partner on the projects showed the effects of positive interventions on the overall integration in a highly diverse urban environment

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

There will be two sets of targeted groups throughout the project, a primary target group which includes the ‘People on the move’ identified by every city, secondary target groups that include municipalities, artists, social entrepreneurs, urbanists, businesses and active citizens. Our local MasterPeace teams have a long-lasting experience of social impact in the 4 cities. We understand the dynamics and stakeholders that are ready for a transformation. In Colombia we work with groups of Internally Displaced People, in Ecuador, we engage Venezuelan refugees. In The Netherlands with refugees from the greater MENA region and in Bangladesh the Rohingya refugees. Our team analyzed the urban fabric that currently fails to address the basic needs and lead to the exclusion of migrants and refugees from the labour market, urban spaces, societal dialogue and most importantly puts at high-risk social cohesion, where issues of identity, pride, and sense of belonging are not achieved

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

The model of MasterPeace is an ‘upside-down pyramid’. Our MasterPeace teams are in the lead, facilitated globally and regionally by a core team alongside a wide pool of talent-bankers, board members and experts. Our unique grassroots model is a fast-growing network of people who are dedicated to using their talents for local change. MasterPeace Clubs work closely with teams of researchers, experts, urban planners, governmental institutions, civil society and the wide horizon of conscious businesses who are set up on the values of positivity and impartiality. In this way, the movement can be seen as an inspirational knowledge network of passioned changemakers Our teams have a strong track-record and multiple years experience in working with communities and People on the move in different contexts, with the accumulative practical experience and knowledge through research and universities comes this unique mix of innovative concepts and tested piloted tools

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

- Local municipalities and governmental institutions in (Medellin, Quito, Utrecht, Sylhet) - Civil society organizations and initiatives such as 100 Resilient Cities, Slums Dwellers International, IMPACT Hubs, Ashoka - UN agencies such as UNHCR, UN-Habitat, Urban Agenda, and UN Women - Universities and research centres such as TE Delft, Utrecht University - Cultural organizations and Media: Google Arts and Culture, The Guardian, VICE

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Systems design: Solutions that target changing larger system

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Early Adoption: We have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have proof of user uptake (i.e. 16% to 49% of the target population or 1,000 to 50,000 users).

Group or Organization Name

MasterPeace Foundation

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

MasterPeace is a global grassroots not-for-profit peace movement. In 40+ countries around the world, we engage tens of thousands of people (mainly the youth) via projects and campaigns based on local ownership and positive social impact. MasterPeace was founded in 2011 to prevent conflicts. By 2013, MasterPeace was awarded by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr Ban Ki-moon the ‘Innovation in Peace-Building’ award on behalf of the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA). Since 2015, MasterPeace is strongly aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. Our model is built on three core activities, where we use music, art and dialogue as start of a transformation in the local ecosystem. To facilitate knowledge and ability to change, MasterPeace focuses on talent and leadership development and inspires on social entrepreneurship. Since 2011, MasterPeace clubs realized more than 1,000 projects. In 2018, MasterPeace realized 350 projects in 40+ countries

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

The Netherlands

Organization Headquarters: City / State

Utrecht, The Netherlands


Join the conversation:

Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh

Hi MasterPeace Foundation thank you for sharing your idea and welcome to the Bridgebuilder Challenge 2019. The challenge's idea phase will be closing on 17th August. Could you clarify if you are working directly with the people on the move or IDPs in all your target countries? What are the results of the project so far in your Early Adoption phase?

I would suggest also to have a look at our challenge brief: and our challenge evaluation criteria:

To help guide your research, you can have a look at our community research toolkit:, and possibly create and share with us the project user i.e. the IDPs or regugees journey map which is very important to integrate into this platform as you progress in the challenge!

Photo of MasterPeace Foundation

Hey Bremley, We indeed used the research toolkit and the baseline on the criteria and challenge brief, so maybe point out for us some concrete aspects?

We work directly as illustrated with different groups of People on the move in relation to the concepts as explained

Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh

I am happy to see your progress on this platform so keep up the good work. I saw you are based in the Netherlands so I was wondering if your were building bridges from there to Colombia, Ecuador and Bangladesh. Since you are also focused on Social Entrepreneurship perhaps you can collaborate or partner to scale your reach and impact with Rishab Khanna  from and Tom Duncan  from who are building a Migration Lab Program with Edwyn Odeny Odhiambo  in Kenya and Bayubasire Joel Djanda in Uganda which will become a finance platform for refugee playing the role of social entrepreneurs in the Horn of Africa and East Africa and expand to other countries.

Photo of MasterPeace Foundation

Hey Bremley,
Thanks for your insights and ideas!
Indeed, the project will run with local ownership in these cities by the People on the move and their new neighbours directly. So the bridges are being built from local-to-local, not from The Netherlands. We will connect these cities together to share knowledge, best practices and learnings, however, these cities work on their local target groups and local projects.
We will reach out to your suggested community members and project we really hope to co-create together on shared values and visions.
Also, we are inspired by your project of last year, connect soon.