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Prevention is better than cure

September 21, 2014 | Nick Taylor

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace is urging the Government to provide sustainable investment and support its work in the prevention of violent conflict and terrorism. The call comes as the Prime Minister announces new ‘anti-terror’ measures. The charity believes that such a response is short-term and and that there is a lack of investment in the activities needed to confront and prevent violent extremism leading to terrorism.

The charity is one of a small number of UK organisations specialising in preventing violent extremism and believes that whilst the Government is taking action to deal with immediate security challenges; it also needs to invest in long-term solutions to challenge extremism and those people who use violence to further their aims.

The Foundation is asking the Government to accept a three-point plan of action:

First, to recognise that Governments alone cannot tackle the issue of violent extremism and need to find ways of funding and commissioning independent organisations like the Foundation to undertake sensitive dialogue with vulnerable individuals and communities.

Second, to commission the Foundation to develop the capacity and capability to actively identify and recruit skilled professionals who can work in peace building and conflict resolution.

Finally, to balance the spending on ‘security’ against the need to invest in ‘prevention’ work and to end the need for organisations like the Foundation to fund a national and international priority through ‘raffles and tombolas.’

Foundation Chief Executive, Nick Taylor, said: “It is a well understood concept that prevention is better than cure and yet we are throwing all our efforts into short term measures that do not tackle the root causes of extremism that leads to violent conflict and terrorism.

“Enough is enough and we need investment in the Foundation’s tools and techniques that have stood the test of time. Whilst we can access short-term project funds, it is perverse that my team are having to fund raise through raffles, tombolas and rely on people’s generosity to tackle one of society’s biggest challenges. It is time for long-term investment to challenge extremism.”

The Foundation believes that we have to educate young people, empower influential groups in communities such as women and enable the survivors of previous incidents who collectively can enhance our learning of conflict to challenge the thinking of those on a path to extremism.

Nick Taylor continues: “The pernicious thoughts that lead to prejudice, hatred and extremism start in the home and on the playground. We need to equip people with the skills to influence conflict without it leading to violence. The Foundation changes attitudes and behaviours, and it works, but it needs to be funded and supported for the long-term.”

The government need to consider how it funds and prioritises this work moving from short-term commissions to long-term investment. It also needs to consider how it partners with and supports Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who can provide specialist support and intervention – particularly where the situations are challenging and beyond the expertise, resources and remit of professionals and organisations such as schools, Police and local authorities.

The emphasis has to move away from reactive to active, from ‘waging war’ to ‘waging peace’ and to understanding that prevention is better than cure but comes at a price – a financial one that has to be taken seriously.

The Foundation will be writing to all party leaders to ask them to commit to long-term investment and to accelerate action to support its programmes in the prevention, resolution and response to violent conflict.

ENDS

Notes

The Foundation for Peace was established nearly 20 years ago in memory of two boys who lost their lives to a terrorist bombing. The Foundation is a leader in the prevention, resolution and response to terrorism, political violence and war. The Foundation is independent of Government and does not take sides, we are not aligned to any conflict, we are not faith or politically based, we do not pursue causes such as justice or truth, we raise income through charitable means and we do not campaign. We are not a ‘think tank’ we are a ‘do tank’ and our tried and tested methods are vital to dealing with the challenges posed by extremism. This means we can work with all parties but often have to do so through short-term cartable funds or raising money from the public.