Development for Peace Education (DPE)
DPE was formed in 1989, in a response to marginalisation and pacification of local communities in development and democratic processes. DPE is a membership based civil society organisation, with the following objectives:
- To empower communities to realise their full potential in transforming their society into a peaceful one
- To encourage people to live together, communicate better, plan and implement plans together
The work of DPE is rooted in a belief that organisation and education of community members will enable people to transform their current situation and achieve a higher standard of living, work together, resolve conflicts through peaceful means and play an active role in local and national government structures. DPE currently works in 8 different locations, which have been selected through a deliberate strategy of reaching out to communities in the most remote and marginalised areas of Lesotho.
DPE is governed by an elected Executive Committee and the activities and programmes are carried out by a secretariat with 10 employees and 8 community animators in the organisation’s target areas.
DPE cooperates closely with other civil society organisations in Lesotho and the Southern Africa region and central and local government structures in Lesotho. Projects and programmes are implemented with different donors and development partners.
The DPE working group is responsible for implementation of the donor funded projects, communication with DPE and visits to Lesotho 1-2 times per year to facilitate project implementation. The group also carries out information activities in Denmark, e.g. through contribution to DLN’s newsletter.
The cooperation between DPE and DLN
DLN and DPE have had an informal relationship for many years and in 2008 it was decided to enter into a formal partnership to implement a project on public participation in Lesotho. Since then the partners have implemented two one-year projects focusing on grassroots organisation and education as well as local and national advocacy for improved public participation in policy and decision making. The projects have also included activities to build the internal capacity of DPE.
The first project enabled DPE to start up activities in three new geographical areas and implement different public participation strategies. DPE assisted community members in establishing Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and implemented key public participation strategies: Peoples’ Tribunals and Community Parliament. These strategies link the realities in communities with the national policy processes by educating community members in political processes and enabling them to present their priorities to national decision makers. During the project, a curriculum and training material for new staff members was developed.
The second project focussed on consolidation of some of DPEs key strategies: Community Parliament and capacity building of CBOs to ensure coherence in activities across the geographical regions. Furthermore a comprehensive coaching programme was implemented, focusing on consolidation of DPEs internal financial, organisational and monitoring & evaluation policies.
In 2014, DLN and DPE applied for a larger third three-year project, which enables the partners to develop and implement longer term strategies for grassroots mobilisation and education and strengthen the national advocacy for establishment of formal mechanisms for public participation, such as a Public Participation Act that sets out the requirements for policy makers to include the public in drafting and implementation of national budgets, laws and policies. The project also supports the decentralisation process in Lesotho, where decision making and budgeting are handled at district level rather than national level. Civil society organisations, such as DPE, plays an important role in bringing local authorities and community members together in dialogue about governance and development priorities. The project was implemented from July 2014 to July 2017.