Skoll Foundation


Roots of Peace

Skoll Awardee(s): Heidi Kühn
Award Year: 2006
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Peace and Human Rights

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“Mine clearance, relief, and development projects in post-conflict countries rarely implement sustainable, market-driven programs that will genuinely restore economic viability to rural farmers. We help to restore safety, and then quickly we begin work to restore markets. The people become vested in their future and work to protect their investments.”

Sub-Issue: Peace

 Landmines cause as many as 20,000 deaths and injuries each year, putting adults, children, and wildlife at risk, and limiting options for redevelopment of war-torn regions.

The Skoll Awardee: In the midst of a career in business and journalism, while raising three children, Heidi Kühn was diagnosed with cancer. Following treatment, she decided to express her appreciation for the gift of life by helping the less fortunate and living close to and nurturing the land. Inspired by the campaign to ban and remove land mines, she founded Roots of Peace (ROP) in 1997 in her family home. ROP developed a “demine-replant-rebuild” framework that begins with restoring the land to productivity (“from mines to vines”). ROP then creates income-generating programs for rural communities and guides them until they are sustainable, resilient, self-sufficient, and able to grow independently, building foundations for stability and peace. At the time of the Award, ROP had carried out its programs in Afghanistan, Croatia, and Angola, removing more than 100,000 landmines in Afghanistan alone. It reported that 80,000 Afghan farmers had increased their income by an equivalent of 0.7 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2006:

  • New program development in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Iraq, the Kyrgyz Republic, Vietnam, and the West Bank.
  • ROP reports that it has benefited more than one million farmers in the decade 2004-2014.
  • In Afghanistan, 5,908 jobs were created and sales from increased exports of fruit exceeded $6,000,000 in 2014.
  • In Vietnam, 1,500 farmers are doubling their income in Quang Tri Province producing and marketing black pepper, cacao, and cashews.
  • Five schools have been built through worldwide “pennies for peace” campaigns.



© 2015 Skoll Foundation.