Luke Dowdney, founder of Fight for Peace (FFP) has developed a community-based response to the arming and employment of young people by drug trafficking gangs in Brazil. Since its founding in 2000 in the Complexo da Maré favela in Rio de Janeiro, FFP has become a global youth development NGO that adopts a public health approach to violence prevention, delivering localised primary, secondary and tertiary level interventions to reduce youth violence. FFP has been implemented in over 26 countries worldwide.
FFP’s Theory of Change holds that once a person changes the way they view themselves, their relationships with others, and their perspective about the future, they will begin to make positive changes to their attitudes, behaviour, and situation. At academies in Rio and London, FFP facilitates these changes through its Five Pillars methodology, which combines:
boxing and martial arts (B&MA), formal education provision, employability training and job placement, psychosocial support services, and youth leadership. FFP projects and programmes each use a different mix of the Five Pillars, providing the opportunities and support that help youth make positive life choices and develop the determination and resilience necessary to overcome the challenges ahead. To date, the FFP methodology reaches over 240,000 young people globally.
Luke Dowdney receives one of ten 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Awards for social innovation and engagement. With the award money of CHF 100,000 Luke Dowdney plans to invest in advocacy work to increase awareness of the issue of youth violence, and galvanise support to catalyse the existing violence prevention strategy as a template for other communities and building key international development partnerships.
“Young people need to become resilient to risk factors and to be able to make positive life choices.”
FFP’s unique and innovative approach to violence prevention harnesses localised interventions at a global scale. The methodology has grown “from the favela to the world”, having been tested, developed and refined in a community with extremely high levels of crime and violence and then implemented in over 26 countries globally. To achieve this, FFP invested in collaboration and sharing – working in partnership and sharing best practices to support over 160 partner organisations become more sustainable. Through this work we have achieved lasting change for some of the most marginalised young people, helping them stay away from violence and progress into education and employment pathways.
In 2018, the Jacobs Foundation bestows 10 awards to social innovators and change makers in the field of child and youth development. Each award will come with an amount of CHF 100’000. The recipients provide solutions for positive child and youth development at low cost, which are sustainable and can be easily implemented on the spot. What the ten awardees have in common is their wish for social change and their restless personal social engagement. They are beyond talking – they act.