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‘Buddy Up!’ is an exciting peacebuilding programme that has been delivered with school partnerships in Belfast for more than a decade.

It was created by three organisations

(Community Relations In Schools, 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. 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 development, ‘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.

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Urban Villages PS Buddy up scheme Houben

We believe that the 'Buddy Up!' model can be applied across a range of school partnerships and contexts.

Below you can find 'Buddy Up!' - A Whole School Resource & our 'Buddy Up!' - Digital Media Resource for teachers and school leaders.

The guide and video explore:

  • the three stages of the 'Buddy Up!' model, 

  • where the model came from,

  • how 'Buddy Up!' can benefit the pupils, staff & wider communities of any school

The digital media resource features practical tips and interviews with school staff on how they adapted the 'Buddy Up!' model to align with their school context and values.