There exist a number of key motivating factors behind why Petra Peacebuilders has chosen to strengthen the peacebuilding sector in the way that we do. These are the ones we believe to be the most foundational.
It's quite simple: The high staff attrition in our sector is a severe blow to humanitarian work. Petra's work helps fill those critical attrition gaps.
The statistics are alarming and are finally serving to jolt the sector into action. A 2015 survey from the Global Development Professionals Network indicated that 79% of its respondents experienced negative mental health issues, 93% of which believe these to be related to aid industry-related work. Over 50% said they'd experienced or been diagnosed with anxiety, and 44% with depression. Panic attacks and post-traumatic stress injuries were cited among over 1/5 of these staff.
The resulting attrition naturally leads to extremely high costs of inefficiency to global peacebuilding efforts. When humanitarian projects are already underfunded, the last thing the sector needs is to lose valuable people when, with just a fraction of our budgets dedicated to staff retention, we will increase longevity and effectiveness.
This of course is aside from any purely human element, which leads to the next point...
Peacebuilders are Humans Too
Peacebuilders as individuals are equally as important (not more, not less) than the people and communities they serve. Until the sector recognizes this and acts on it with the support resources required, we will continue seeing attrition weakening our sector, which we already can't afford.
Peacebuilders are Exceptionally Valuable
All life is precious. But when it comes to ceasing and transforming conflict all around the globe, there is no match for the humanitarian peacebuilder in terms of actual potential to reach these goals. The cessation of violent conflict and the growth of positive peace in the world is largely dependent on the work of competent peacebuilders and aid/development workers. Their success depends on not just their outward professional competence but on their emotional, mental and physical well-being, too. These are the individuals from which tomorrow's Nobel Peace Laureates will be chosen.
They might not like to be called such, but most people who consider their courage, human strength, dedication, character and service think of them as "heroes." Conflict-fighters, justice-champions, nation-builders, community-influencers. They're who we hope our sons and daughters will grow up to be like. And they usually have exceptional professional and academic qualifications far surpassing those of the average citizen.
Peacebuilders are the best this world has to offer. And instead of pursuing self-seeking professions, they're serving their local and global communities. They are too valuable to lose, so Petra strives to keep them in action. Petra works as hard to protect them as individuals within the Petra community as they do to protect life, justice and goodness in their own communities.