‘Buddy Up!’ is an exciting peacebuilding programme that has been running between schools in Belfast for more than a decade.

It was created by three organisations – Community Relations In Schools (CRIS), Holy Cross Nursery School, and Edenderry Nursery School and is now being rolled out in schools right across Northern Ireland.

‘Buddy Up!’ is an intergenerational peacebuilding approach that seeks to engage the whole school community and build meaningful relationships across segregated communities.

The model is centred on the small-scale but robust power of childhood friendship. From this core, children, school staff, and families connect with individuals from different backgrounds to their own. ‘Buddy Up!’ is an exciting peacebuilding programme that has been running between schools in Belfast for more than a decade.

Buddy Up!’ received international recognition as a transformative, peacebuilding method in 2017 when, out of more than 1300 applicants from 130 countries, it won third place in the prestigious Intercultural Innovation Award. In 2019, CRIS partnered with The Northern Ireland Executive Office and The Urban Villages Initiative to roll-out ‘Buddy Up!to over 40 primary schools across Belfast and Derry/Londonderry.

Throughout its growth, ‘Buddy Up!’ remains a practical and fun approach towards inter-school sharing, where positive relationships and change is fostered buddy by buddy & school by school.

Speaking at the Buddy Up! launch event in 2015, CRIS Director – Lisa Dietrich, spoke of the real, shared experiences of schools and their communities which helped to formulate the ‘Buddy Up!’ Resource:

“We believe in ‘Buddy Up!’. We know that it works. We know that it makes a difference to the lives of children, parents, and staff. We know that it impacts on the ethos and values of schools where it is implemented. We know that it has relevance for every school community in Northern Ireland. We know that it enhances educational attainment and is a powerful tool for reconciliation.”

Lisa Dietrich

Below you can find our ‘Buddy Up!’ resource pack, which contains a detailed overview of the model and stories of its successes.

Buddy Up – A Whole School Community Resource for Sharing in Education at Nursery and Primary School Levels

If you would like further information about this unique practice and resource then please get in contact with the CRIS office.