Volunteering with PBI
For current volunteer opportunities, please see the jobs with PBI page.
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.
In 2014, field volunteers came from the following 23 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, UK and 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.
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 30 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
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.
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.
- a clear understanding of and commitment to nonviolence.
- foreign language skills - fluent Spanish is essential for working in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Fluent English is essential for working in Kenya.
- 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 (or 18 months for the Colombia Project).
See the Field Applicant's FAQ for more details.
PBI volunteers share a house which serves as living quarters as well as an office. Usually it is a very international house.
For more information:
- about how to volunteer on a PBI project, see the Field Applicants FAQ.
- about project-specific volunteer arrangements, see the volunteer pages for Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya and Mexico.
- about what coming back may be like, see how to prepare for culture shock.
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