Not alone, together: collective intervention

To this day, Gutsy Go has trained over 3000 youths to build peace in their own communities.

These youths have implemented more than 300 peace-building solutions in 15 urban locations, ranging from individual suburbs and neighbourhoods to city-wide operations.

Gutsy Go prevents polarisation and conflict by bringing together the entire age group and various social fractions within the city. The method has also been used effectively in bilingual communities.

Gutsy Go was first implemented in 2016 in Forssa as part of a community mediation model seeking to tackle a developing cycle of violence among youths.

In 2017 Gutsy Go won Finland´s largest innovation competition organized by prominent Finnish foundations seeking a significant scalable solution for reinforcing social participation and wellbeing of the youth in Finland. 

The method has since been developed further in practical operations with young people and specialists, piloting each aspect of it with schools.

Gutsy Go offers schools tools for enabling young people to realize their potential and initiatives for helping others and making a difference in society. Gutsy Go promotes teamwork skills and other competencies for the future. During a Gutsy Go week young people create solutions to various problems within their own community.  The projects are filmed and the videos are posted online for reference to promote further actions and for use as teaching material.

Gutsy Go is a non-profit organisation. Our goal over the next few years is to work with schools in applying this method to the entire 14-year-old age group, involving about 50,000 young people annually.

An award-winning method created with Finnish youths

Gutsy Go was first put into practice in autumn 2016 in the south-western Finnish town of  Forssa. At the invitation of the Häme Police Department, Gutsy Go took part in a collaborative initiative seeking to tackle a series of mass fights that had broken out in the town. This vicious cycle of violence was effectively broken, and the collaboration won the annual European Crime Prevention Award (ECPA).

The Gutsy Go method was further developed and tested with youth, teachers and media makers and in 2017 it won Finland’s largest innovation competition arranged by Finnish foundations and trusts. This Builders of the Century (Vuosisadan rakentajat) awarded funding for solutions of national significance for supporting the wellbeing of young people and their participation in society.

Gutsy Go operations created by youths have also received awards from Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle, the Finnkino cinema chain, the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim, Tradeka Corporation, and the City of Helsinki initiative for preventative mental health and substance abuse work.

We combine three Finnish strengths: evolving schools, reliable media and peace work

84 per cent of young people consider it their life goal to make the world a better place (Millennial Research Europe) and would like to help others, but don’t know how to go about it (2020 survey by the Family Federation of Finland). Gutsy Go seeks to provide all schools with concrete tools to meet this need.

The Gutsy Go method is based on an observation familiar from Happiness Research: working for the benefit of others reinforces personal wellbeing. Every Gutsy Go project is also conducted as a team, not as an individual performance.

Gutsy Go projects have included young people teaching digital skills to former prison inmates, creating a “Pet Dates” therapy pet service concept for memory patients, and building neighbourly accord through the “Eat at ours, eat at yours” challenge. Hundreds of solutions have been saved in a peace-making video bank that helps extend the initiatives throughout the school year and makes them available as a teaching resource globally. Young people create educational content and operational models for their own generation.


Media and videos provide a channel that highlights young people’s potential as part of the community. Pursuing peace-building solutions develops future skills essential for the entire community: a solution-oriented approach, tolerance for change, and teamwork skills. Many young people have experienced the tendency of a community to knock them down if an individual seeks to make their own role more active or positive. Gutsy Go videos and premiere screenings bring greater positivity to the entire community narrative. They also allow individuals to identify new personal strengths and to deploy them.

Vision: A country that trains all of its youth as peacemakers

There are more than 190 countries in the world. Ninety per cent of them train their youths to be soldiers. No country systematically trains generations to be peacemakers. Finland can be the first.

It’s time we redefine the word peace. It doesn’t stand for a political condition or costly international treaty negotiations. It stands for resolving everyday problems in ways that increase positive interaction between people. This mostly takes place within cities and neighbourhoods.

We need a radical change in attitudes towards young people. Adults tend to treat young people with a “wait until” attitude: “Wait until you graduate, wait until you get a job, and then you may be useful to the world.” We need to replace this with a “now” attitude. The willingness of young people to try new things, their strong sense of fairness, and their optimism are strengths that need to be prominently deployed for the benefit of the whole community.

The world is not improved by offering young people the empty promise of unlimited opportunities. Peace innovations arise when young people have adult support. Not by dictating what to do or warn about all that can go wrong, but by providing inspiration, practical assistance, contacts and their time.

A whole new experience of peace is emerging. It’s something that we can all draw on as a source of motivation for positive actions of our own.

Make peace visible.