5 ways to build peace from your bedroom during COVID-19

With over 500,000 cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, more and more people are being restricted to their homes. While online education tools, virtual hangout apps and celebrity ‘Together at Home’ concerts on social media have helped keep people connected, this is a difficult time for peacebuilders. Here’s five ways you can promote peace without leaving your house:

1. Take a free Youth, Peace and Security course

If you’re between 18 and 30 years of age, you can take advantage of a free four-week online course being offered by the Erasmus program.

The interactive “Youth, Peace and Security” course will run April 13 to May 7, requires around four hours per week and introduces participants to core concepts of violence, conflict, and peace.

It’s based on expert content developed by UNOY and Search for Common Ground, and explores the roles and power of young people to transform conflict.

2. Help share reliable information

Misinformation around COVID-19 has been described as an ‘infodemic’, with the World Health Organization (WHO) launching campaigns to counter myths about the virus. While posing a risk to health and safety, has also led to an increase in prejudice and racial aggression.

The International Fact Checking Network has received grants to continue their work, tech giants like Google are implementing trigger alerts, and celebrities like Priyanka Chopra have launched videos promoting accurate sources of information. You can help debunk rumors online and point people to reliable sources.

Here are eights sources of information to find out more about COVID-19, from what do if you’re feeling sick to looking after your mental health in isolation, and you can test your knowledge with this myth-buster quiz.

3. Promote the #safehands challenge

WHO is reminding everyone that you can take simple actions to protect yourself from COVID-19 through their #SafeHands Challenge.

This hand-washing campaign spurred a global chain of culturally unique videos to help promote safety and hygiene, like this one from South Africa, or this one from Vietnam.

4. Raise a white card

April 6 is the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, and despite being at home you can still be a part of the celebrations.

Ever since its creation by the United Nations General Assembly and the International Olympic Committee in 2013, this day has celebrated the power of sport to foster dialogue, social inclusion and peace.

You can add a post on social media, using #WhiteCard and #IDSDP, of you holding a white card and check out our stories about the power of sport in peacebuilding.

5. Focus on a battle worth fighting

On Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in an immediate ceasefire in support of the bigger battle against COVID-19, the “common enemy” that is now threatening all of humankind.

“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war”, he said. “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”

This week, follow a peacebuilder on social media to hear about how the world is responding.

Top Photo: US Department of Homeland Security

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