Saturday 30 December 2023

Building Peaceful Societies

Photo by Monstera Production on Pexels

By Cynthia Umeh

Maria and Ahmed are from rival communities. They  grew up hearing stories about their forefathers' disputes and conflicts. The memories of a fragmented past left lasting wounds on their communities: wounds that time had yet to cure completely. Nonetheless, Maria and Ahmed dared to hope for a better future.

Their paths crossed by chance while attending a community event promoting peace for their communities. The dialogue was raw, and representatives nearly came to blows multiple times. Maria and Ahmed sat down, taking in all the conversation and wondering what honest, accountable conversation could help them achieve. As soon as they could, they drifted to each other, sizing each other and wondering if the other person was representative of their people or an individual that could forge the new narratives for the future. 

Somehow, they knew: they could talk to each other. And they did. 

They identified several parallels in their lives during their chats. Their ambitions, anxieties, and aspirations were surprisingly similar. Recognizing that their shared bonds far outweighed their disparities, Maria and Ahmed formed a friendship with one mission: to bridge the divide between their communities.


The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 embodies the essence of peace, justice, and strong institutions, which together, provide pillars of stability and prosperity for all. It advocates for the eradication of violence, the reduction of corruption, and the development of accountable and inclusive institutions.

A peaceful society allows for equal access to education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), and reduced disparities (SDG 10). Justice guarantees that no one is left behind, helping to eradicate poverty (SDG 1) and promoting ethical consumption and production (SDG 12). 

With SDG 16, we can join hands to make a difference in the world. We can do this when we:

  1. Foster Dialogue: Engage in meaningful conversations, promote empathy, and cultivate understanding among diverse groups. It is the initial step toward resolving conflicts and nurturing peaceful societies.

  1. Support Local Initiatives: Participate in community projects aimed at promoting peace and justice. Every small effort contributes to the broader tapestry of change.

  1. Advocate for Change: Utilize our voices to champion policies and practices that align with the principles of SDG 16. Write to our representatives, join peaceful demonstrations, and be a catalyst for positive transformation.

  1. Educate Ourselves and Others: Comprehend the significance of SDG 16 and share this knowledge with others. Increased awareness is the catalyst for broader support.

So, let us take the first step today to join the global movement for peace, justice, and strong institutions. Our planet yearns for it, and future generations depend on it. We can make a difference when we work together!

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