Building Back Better in the Digital Era
Digital technologies have radically impacted our ways of interacting with the world. Global digitalisation has effectively connected people from all over the planet and has bridged cultural divides through social media and other digital innovations.
Digital technologies, despite significant advantages and disadvantages, are increasingly being used by peacebuilders to tackle drivers of conflict, to improve programming and communications, to challenge the dominant narratives and to foster social and national cohesion.
The COVID-19 pandemic really highlighted the importance of digital technologies, as peacebuilders have had to rely on them more than ever before. Unfortunately, the pandemic also highlighted the digital divides and social inequalities (e.g. basic internet access) that are leaving many behind and spurred the UN Secretary-General to propose a Roadmap for Digital Inclusion.
COVID-19, forcing us to social distance has also impacted our ways to socialize, as in-person dialogue was highly restricted. Many of us turned towards social media and online platforms as a means to connect. Where it can be seen as a good thing, social media has also been decried by the United Nations as the nest for the ‘infodemic’ of misinformation that has been eroding trust globally. It is thus crucial that peacebuilders and the international community learn to leverage current reliance on virtual platforms, take advantage of the possibility they offer, and learn to fight or at the least mitigate its dangers.
This report presents the findings of a large online comprehensive survey distributed among the wider CSPPS membership. The purpose of the report is to map the use of digital technologies by local peacebuilders, with a special focus on the use of social media platforms, and to gain the perspective of local peacebuilders on the role of technologies in their peacebuilding work. We also hope this report will contribute to the ongoing policy discussions around digital inclusion and will contribute to the growing interest of donors on the issue of digital inclusion and peacebuilding.