July 23, 2014
  • Promoting nonviolence and protecting human rights defenders since 1981
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Volunteer in the field

The volunteers of Peace Brigades International (PBI) come from many different countries and backgrounds.

What these volunteers share is a strong commitment to nonviolence and a belief in the contribution that ordinary people can make to creating a more peaceful and just world.

Quotes from our field volunteers:


In 2010, volunteers came from the following 23 countries: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA.

What does a PBI team do?

When there is a conflict within a state or between communities or nations, certain actions are possible and appropriate for outsiders - others are not. A PBI team seeks to encourage, by means of an international, nonviolent, non partisan presence, a peaceful resolution of conflicts in the local area. To do this, PBI teams:

  • Offer support and protective accompaniment to human rights defenders, groups or individuals threatened with violence;
  • Develop a thorough analysis of the political situation by listening to the widest possible range of viewpoints and experiences while respecting needs for confidentiality;
  • Report to the outside world a non-partisan analysis of the situation as seen on the ground in the area;
  • Meet regularly with local and national civil and military authorities and embassies to raise concerns regarding human rights abuses as they affect the organisations we accompany.

PBI is not a development organisation. We believe that communities need space to carry out their own development in ways that create self reliance rather than dependency. We refer requests for development projects to other organisations set up for such work.

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What does PBI offer volunteers?

PBI volunteers gain:

  • A profound experience of working with an international peace and human rights organisation committed to transforming ideals into practical action
  • Specialist training based on over 25 years experience working in the field
  • The experience of living and working in a close-knit team of volunteers from many different countries and backgrounds
  • A unique first-hand insight into the intense pressures faced by human rights defenders and their resilience and courage

PBI is committed to ensuring that volunteers are supported before, during and after their time in the field. We have developed minimum standards for providing emotional support for volunteers throughout their time with PBI - during preparation, field work and reintegration. Our partnership with the European Association of Gestalt Therapy (EAGT) enables PBI volunteers to get professional support if they need it. Volunteers can get individual support from mental health professional from EAGT during and after their engagment with PBI. EACG also offers other pro-bono services to PBI such as the mentor training and the possibility of coaching teams in the field.

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All projects cover the costs of: travel to country of work, accommodation, food, internal travel, insurance, repatriation and also offer a stipend to cover additional costs.


  • A clear understanding of and commitment to nonviolence.
  • foreign language skills - fluent Spanish is essential for working in Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia. Fluent English and a basic understanding of Nepali is essential for working in Nepal. (PBI subsidises a large portion of a 2 month Nepali language homestay program for volunteers in Nepal).
  • discretion and diplomacy
  • maturity – volunteers are usually over the age of 25
  • resilience - the ability to work effectively under pressure.
  • knowledge and understanding of the history, politics and culture of the country where you are working.
  • cross-cultural skills and sensitivity - the ability to work with people of different cultures, demonstrated through previous intercultural experience.
  • able to make a minimum commitment of one year.

See the Field Applicant's FAQ for more details.

Living conditions

PBI volunteers share a house which serves as living quarters as well as an office. Usually it is a very international house.

Find out more

For more information:

Also, you should contact the PBI country group closest to you or the International Office (address below).

Are you a Quaker or an Attender of a Friends Meeting or Friends Church?

The Friends Peace Teams Project can provide you with support (logistical, training, and financial) for your service with Peace Brigades International. For more information, contact the Friends Peace Teams Project at:

Friends Peace Teams Project
PO Box 10372
San Antonio, TX 78210
Tel: 210-532-8762
Email: fptp@igc.apc.org

Make a difference

Help us protect more human rights defenders this year.

News from PBI

What they say

"There are two privileges attached to a foreign passport in a conflict area. You can use it to board the next flight out of trouble. Or you can use it as a tool to help protect human rights."
Volunteer Hans-Ulrich Krause, Indonesia

Help PBI protect more Human Rights defenders - donate today...

Keep in touch


Sign up for PBI enews

Select a local PBI enews or chose the International enews.

PBI resources

We invite you to watch the documentary film "30 years accompanying hope" (in Spanish) made by the PBI Guatemala Project as part of the activities carried out to celebrate 30 years since PBI arrived in the country. A "Photo Exhibition" complements the film.

Mexican Human Rights Defenders explain what PBI accompaniment has meant to them.

Starting all over again, PBI accompanies farming families returning to their lands, Cesar, Colombia


International Office, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT, U.K. Tel: +44 20 7065 0775
To find your nearest PBI office visit the international contact page