Pen Paper Peace – With our educational work in Germany, we strengthen respect for different cultures, ways of life and world views. We combine this with a critical view on European colonialism. We encourage people to reflect on their own positions, shed light on options for action, and promote dialogue between countries in the global North and South.
We also raise funds to financially support projects led by local experts in Haiti, Honduras and Namibia. These countries are also the focus of the educational materials we develop.
The local projects include schools, manual skills and childcare to help single parents complete their education. This creates safe spaces and strengthens civil societies and communities in the long run.
History of the Association
After 3 years of civil society engagement with two schools in Haiti, PEN PAPER PEACE was founded in 2011. Since then, we have organized ourselves with many volunteers almost exclusively on a voluntary basis. Numerous project grants have made it possible for us to employ a small full-time team for several years.
In order to make a difference, we need many perspectives – LGBTQI+, BIPoC, people of different socio-economic backgrounds and religions, with and without disabilities. We not only want to be open to, but especially want to encourage them to work with us.
Do you like our illustrations? They are there to protect the privacy rights of the people featured in them! While we have long shown portrait photos of children on our website, we have now decided to replace them with illustrations. Because even though we and our partners work with a photo policy, the transmission of explicit consent over extensive structures is sometimes not easy.
Our Role – Rethinking Power Structures
Colonialism has had a lasting impact on global power structures. It has had a massive effect on the distribution of privileges, wealth and opportunities. No relationship between people in the countries of the Global North and the Global South is free of (post-)colonial dynamics, so it is necessary to reflect on them.
There are voices that understand any exertion of influence with a North-South flow direction as inevitably neocolonialism. Others want to decolonize “development cooperation”. However, its total abolition could equally represent another violent demonstration of power, at the expense of the marginalized.
One of our goals is to rethink the power structures in everything we are involved in with PEN PAPER PEACE e.V.. Together with our partners, we want to make a difference without perpetuating power inequalities, or providing a platform for white saviorism. We want our cooperation to be transparent.
What do our partners in the Global South want? How can we create good cooperation despite structurally persisting power asymmetries? How can we provide structures that guarantee that our partners have the (time) resources to make their intentions audible to us and their agency visible? How can we ensure that our partners in the Global South, as a vital part of the team, have a say in how we act? How can we do this without demanding an even greater share of our partners’ time for our purposes of reflection?
Creating real forms of power sharing and a functioning communication culture is a lengthy process that involves constant learning for ourselves and our target group – every day and preferably together with you. Therefore we are always open for suggestions!