The Trust Network’s goal is to prevent and mitigate violence stimulated by underlying social issues – before the 2020 elections, during the vote and in the aftermath, as we rebuild our unity. The time for the national community of peacebuilders and mediators to come together is now. While the conditions are alarming in the lead up to the elections, it is also abundantly clear that no matter who wins, the need for community cohesion has never been greater.
We have therefore started building an Early Warning Early Response mechanism developed specifically for the United States.
The core group includes national and international conflict-management organizations with decades of combined experience. The group is clear that:
- Violence mitigation and problem-solving are robust only when local organizations are involved.
- Data-gathering and inter-network communication are useful only when networks of trustworthy people are in place.
- Getting the right information to the right people in the right format, in a timely manner, is key, and requires clear protocols.
The Trust Network is a non-partisan group of national and international experts in early warning early response mechanisms (including expertise in Information and Communication Technologies - ICTs), and local, regional and national networks of conflict transformation, mediation, cohesion building, restorative practice and violence mitigation organizations. Members of the team have many years of experience in both election monitoring and disaster response. Some of them have been active members of the International Network of Crisis Mappers; while others have been heavily involved with the Standby Task Force. The elections or disasters to which they responded have been in: Kenya, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, India, The Philippines, Sudan, Pakistan, Colombia, Ecuador, Libya, and Syria.
Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) based in Washington DC, is serving as a convener and organizational host. Election Incident Reporting (EIRUSA), and the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM), based in Louisville, Kentucky, are serving as co-conveners and key process facilitators.
Over the course of the next six months, our goals are to:
- Create a sustainable EWER system
- the technical and human resource capacity for the same
- Included are online tools for reporting and tracking evidence of hate speech, incitement, and other forms of violence via text, images, voice, and video.
- Train and prepare responders
- in a range of skills including unarmed civilian protection, de-escalation strategies, Inter-positioning, joint monitoring mechanisms, building safety teams, navigating high-level threats, strategic nonviolent direct action, facilitating dangerous dialogues, and more.
- Prepare messages for dissemination across platforms
- Involve experts in social media and mass texting with targeted messages from respected leaders.
- Leverage existing structures within non-partisan civic organizations society looking to improve the civic space, to benefit from the competencies this network offers, through the coordination of the community-based dispute resolution members of NAFCM.
- Coordinate with key groups such as journalists, municipal and faith leaders, police and community safety professionals, civic organizations like Rotary, all to sustain a vibrant voting process in which all voices are heard.
- Engage in violence interruption while also building on local capacity to address tensions and threats of violence.
- Ensure a lasting framework for use well after the elections as a permanent and vibrant resource for citizens, governments, and communities.