CHIPS has facilitated reconciliation projects all over the world over the last 50 years using it's practical, grassroots, biblical, sustainable approach.
Below you can find details of our current work in Brixton and Ghana. Read on to find out how we make peace practical in those communities.
To see where our past projects have been located and what they have involved please click here to find our interactive map.
The Brixton project is the most recent of the CHIPS projects. It began late last year when the charity was invited into Brixton by organisations already working there. The aim is to address issues of gang violence amongst youth and bring reconciliation between different tension groups. Gang violence has been a problem in Brixton, especially Angell Town estate, for many years and the issue still continues today.
There is now a small CHIPS team living communally in the area at the heart of the conflict - sharing their lives with one another and with the wider community. Josh Grear is the London Team Leader and Alex Cameron is a dedicated volunteer who lives on site. Every Wednesday there is an 'open meal' at the London Project flat, located on Loughborough Estate, where local residents are invited to eat with the team and share stories together.
The project is currently in the relationship building stage, which involves activities such as detached youth work. Josh Grear is a trained youth worker who has lots of experience of the London area. We are really pleased with the progress that is being made - the London Team have built relationships with various agencies, organisations and people. Paul (CHIPS Director) and Josh have visited a local school a number of times to explore the issue of identity with the pupils there. They are also building grass roots relationships with some of the youth, simply through living in the same area as them.
The long term aim is to work with the community and other organisations to design practical activities that serve the needs of local people. These projects will create spaces for relationships to be built across the conflict divides in the area. For now, we are keeping this practical element very open, as our priority is to establish the presence of a community, praying for peace and building relationships with our neighbours and people of peace in the area.
Northern Ghana has been the home of a small CHIPS team since early 2011. Responding to invitaiton and following many years of relationship building, a house was built in the heart of an area that had been much affected by violent ethnic conflicts in recent decades. A small team of 6 Ghanaians, from all ethic groups involved in the past conflicts, now live together at that base, eating together, praying together and undertaking exciting practical projects which serve needs of pople from all tribes and communities in the area.
Those practical activities have grown and developed over the past four years, now incorporating areas such as Animal Health and Production, Public Health, Hygiene & Santitation, and Agriculture & Forestry. Under the wise guidance of our first two team members, who now take the roles of Team Leader and Assistant Team Leader, the team have listened to communities and encouraged them to design their own activities. Once this is complete, the CHIPS team will seek to support and guide them in implementing their ideas. The team now work in more than 40 villages across the Nanumba North and Nanumba South districts, in over 26 primary schools, training children to build simple running-water taps out of waste oil cans which they can use to wash their hands, and have built strong relationships with members of all of these communities.
As they undertake these practical projects, the key is always to seek peace. This usually comes about initially through personal relationships which cross the usual ethnic/linguistic divides, which is why the team always move in pairs, one from each tribe. The projects are chosen and designed so that they maximise the opportunity for people to meet, to work together, and to improve one another's lives, enabling a vision of a new, cooperative, inter-dependent future to be seen and sought by all.
Recent projects include:
- Training of Community Animal Health Workers
- Hygiene and sanitation activities
- Treatment using medicinal plants
- Chicken-rearing with womens groups
- Production of tree seedlings
From 1991 - 2014, CHIPS worked for reconciliation between the Iteso and Karimojong tribes in NE Uganda. The team was made up of Ugandans from both tribes who lived together in the border area and worked in water resources, agriculture, veterinary and community development. They encouraged resettlement in the border area, cross border co-operation, trade and friendship. Activities included:
- Dam rehabilitation
- Improving food security through loaning seed
- Restocking oxen and providing credit
- Production of tree seedlings
- Training Community Animal Health Workers
- Rehabilitation of roads and bridges
In 2014 a process of handover to a locally based NGO, Christian Peace and Development (CPAD), was completed. CPAD is formed from former CHIPS team and committee members who continue to seek peace in the Teso / Karamoja region.