Motto Preventing violent conflict, building safer lives
Founded 1989
Founded at Bristol, United Kingdom
Type Non-governmental organisation
Focus Peacebuilding, conflict prevention
Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe

Saferworld is an international non-governmental organisation with conflict prevention and peacebuilding programmes in over 20 countries and territories in the Horn of Africa, the African Great Lakes region, Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus. It was founded in Bristol, UK in 1989 and now has its main office in London.

Much of Saferworld's work includes obtaining research and conducting specific analyses on current conflicts. One of the main objectives of the organisation is to enhance the power and influence of individuals, by encouraging vocalisation of grievances and social injustices. Saferworld achieves this through careful analysis of conflicts and arranging sit-down discussions between stakeholders.

Saferworld addresses many community-based issues through in-depth analysis and objective examination. One of the organisation’s strengths is its ability to delve into conflicts, rather than scraping the surface and gauging assistance on an underdeveloped perspective. Saferworld also takes special interest in understanding how conflicts affect women, children, and other demographics.[1]


Saferworld was founded in 1989 in Bristol, UK. After changing its name from the Nuclear Freeze Campaign to Saferworld, its focus moved from nuclear weapons proliferation to campaigning for more effective controls on the proliferation and misuse of conventional arms. This included advocating for an EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, and involvement in the first discussions about what is now known as the Arms Trade Treaty.

In the 1990s, Saferworld began looking at the broader elements of conflict such as governance, power, marginalisation, access to resources, and development. Saferworld moved from Bristol to London in 1995, and a grant from the UK Department for International Development in 2000 enabled it to expand its work to start in-country programming.

In 2010 Saferworld started programmes in the Middle East and North Africa, including Yemen, and developed an increasing focus on cross-border and regional conflict.

Saferworld's work


Saferworld’s mission is to prevent violent conflict and build safer lives, and create environments where:

Community security approach

Saferworld's community security approach aims to respond to people's perceptions of insecurity and conflict by improving relationships between community members and their security providers, such as the police. It was developed by working directly with people living in conflict-affected contexts.

Regional programmes


Saferworld has programmes in Kenya, Somalia/Somaliland, South Sudan,[2] Sudan and Uganda focusing on topics such as community security, arms control, policing, and conflict sensitivity.


Saferworld works to create safer communities in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. Saferworld also has a China programme involving work with policymakers, academics and commercial actors to ensure China contributes positively to conflict prevention.

Europe and Central Asia

Saferworld has been active in the Caucasus since 1999 to support a people-centred approach to analysing and responding to conflict. The organisation works on Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, including disputed or unrecognised territories such as Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Central Asia is also a focus region for Saferworld. It works in the Ferghana Valley, specifically in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, to improve people’s security by working with the police and local communities.

Middle East and North Africa

Egypt, Libya and Yemen are Saferworld’s focus countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The focus in Egypt is on improving the responsiveness, conflict sensitivity, gender sensitivity and accountability of security and governance providers. In Libya it works on improving people’s security and supporting Libyan civil society in peacebuilding.

Saferworld’s Yemen programme aims to promote inclusive and accountable peacebuilding and governance. Saferworld continues to work with communities in Yemen affected by Yemen's Civil War and the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Thematic work

Saferworld works on a number of issues in conflict prevention.


Saferworld was one of the dominant civil society actors campaigning for stronger arms controls and the enactment of the Arms Trade Treaty and is part of the Control Arms coalition.

Saferworld is addressing the issue of global arms transfers and the rising number of small arms and light weapons. Its work on arms transfers can be divided into:

  1. Arms Trade Treaty
  2. Arms transfers in Europe
  3. UK arms transfer controls
  4. Small arms and light weapons

Gender, peace and security

Saferworld works on gender, peace and security issues such as violence against women and understanding the roles of women and men in preventing and perpetuating conflict. The organisation also provides input into policies on conflict, such as UNSCR 1325.

Security and justice

Saferworld works to promote security and justice systems that are effective, accountable and responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable in society, working with governments on security sector reform programmes. It also works towards improving community security in several countries by building trust between the police and communities and promoting joint action to improve their safety and security.

2030 Agenda

Saferworld has been working to ensure the inclusion of peaceful and inclusive societies within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).[3] It is now focusing on making sure that the targets and indicators within the SDGs – and how they are implemented – support the achievement of the peace goals in practice.

Constructive alternatives to counter-terror

Saferworld has carried out analysis of current counter-terror, stabilisation and statebuilding approaches.[4] The analysis has examined alternatives to these current approaches that are more effective in building peace, less violent, and more focused on people. Saferworld has produced in-depth analyses of past counter-terror approaches in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen.


Saferworld receives funding from a range of donors including governments, trusts and foundations and individuals.



Trusts and foundations


See also

External links


  1. Saferworld: Preventing Violent Conflict. Building Safer Lives. 2014. Saferworld. 2 October 2014.
  2. "South Sudan: how conflict shapes life in local communities – in pictures". The Guardian. 2015-05-11. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  3. Anyangwe, Eliza (2016-02-29). "New deal, old mess? Making the global goals work for the most fragile countries". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  4. "You Can't Bomb Your Way to Peace". Open Society Foundations. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
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