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Current Challenges in Institutional Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning

Chapter 1 in "Conflict Assessment & Peacebuilding Planning"
by

Lisa Schirch

on 27 May 2013

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Transcript of Current Challenges in Institutional Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning

International Organizations Other States Civilians Military Private Contractors Local Civil Society Organizations Multi-Mandate
Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) Humanitarian
Nongovernmental
Organizations Government Civilians SHARING SPACE Current Challenges in Institutional Conflict Assessment & Peacebuilding Planning in a "host nation" where other people live and work Who is conducting assessments? -The UN
-The World Bank
-NATO
-Political, development, military and intelligence agencies in donor governments
-International NGOs
-Local NGOs
-Universities
-Think tanks Different organizations conducting conflict assessment get different results. Lack of shared understanding creates chaos, undermines effective action, and wastes resources. Link assessment to planning
Emphasize local participation in assessment and planning as key principle
Examine data quality to triangulate, and test validity and reliability with both quantitative and qualitative research methods
Question and make explicit all biases and assumptions, especially on our theories of change
Propose how multi-stakeholder planning processes can be more strategic
Identify local perceptions of human security as key indicator of peacebuilding success What is different about this approach? Conflict Assessment Chart To determine what we can or cannot do given our identity and our resources
To understand our bias and tendency to group think
To assess how others view us and our interests Self Assessment The people collecting data and interpreting data are often blind to their bias and assumptions. When local people look at data, they often come to different conclusions and add a broader cultural context that outsiders may not see or recognize in their interpretations.
Evaluate the quality of each data source. Identify gaps in data or places where there is uncertain or contradictory data. Identify hypotheses for why data may be conflicting. Make a plan to gather further information. Researchers should ask: Evaluate the
Quality of the Data A conflict assessment leads to theories (or hypotheses) of conflict drivers and mitigators as well as a theory of what type of intervention or approach will bring positive change. Theories of Change Research with a systems approach
to map the relationships between factors and develop theories of how change happens in a complex system Collecting Data and Processing Data in the Research Process is an Opportunity for Peacebuilding:
Timeline Exercise in Afghanistan Conflict Assessment includes mapping factors and stakeholders supporting peace and local capacities for peace as well as factors and stakeholders supporting conflict Assets-based Assessment: Mapping Local Resilience and Capacity for Peacebuilding WHERE is the conflict taking place? Are governance institutions functioning?
Given our access, where will we work?

WHO is driving the conflict and who is supporting peace?
Given our networks, who will we work with?

WHY are the key actors motivated to drive and mitigate conflict?
Given our interests, how do our motivations align or conflict with key actors?

WHAT are the driving and mitigating factors?
Given our resources and capacities while recognizing local capacities and other outside efforts, what will we do to address these factors?

HOW are key actors driving or mitigating conflict? With what means?
How can we best use our resources and forms of power) to intervene in this conflict?

WHEN did the conflict escalate or deescalate in the past and what is the forecast for future windows of opportunity or vulnerability?
Given our own flexibility and timeline, when will we intervene? Categories of Assessment
link to Planning Theory of Change -
Women in Political Decisionmaking Conflict Assessment
Summary: -WHERE: Corruption and lack of participation in government
-WHO: Women had a positive influence when they were allowed to participate
-HOW: Voting allows people to influence government
-WHEN: Elections were important opportunity for change -Train women to run for office
-More women will be in government
-Government will become less corrupt Results Chain Identify obstacles to women participating in government Develop strategies with local communities to build support for women running for office Create incentives and reduce costs for electing women to office (eg social marketing, awards for women leaders) Train women to run for political office Moving from Micro to Macro Change Replication of programs across geographic and demographic lines

Media programs to scale up messaging

Linking vertical and horizontal programs

Connecting personal and structural programs

Integrated, multi-sector programs

Sequencing programs

Leveraging system dynamics Logframe Monitoring and Evaluation Data Collection Anonymous mechanisms/boxes
Special forums for vulnerable/marginalized groups
Conflict diaries
Transparency boards
Vigilance committees
Community meetings Insiders and outsiders who work together on an ongoing basis to monitor local media, polling, conduct focus groups and interviews to produce rolling conflict assessment reports for donor communities

Local stakeholders meet together in accordion model (by sector and all together) to discuss lessons learned, theories of change, program design flaws and contribute to assessment

Donors incentivize coordination and robust research Recommendations www.conflict_assessment_and_peacebuilding_planning.org Indicators creation or reform of institutions
new local initiatives
new local opposition voices
increase in local perception of human security
increase in local perception of positive intergroup relations Local Perceptions Impact?
Relevance?
Timely?
Sustainable?
Coherent and coordinated? Why conduct a
conflict assesment? Improve Outcomes
Save Time
Save $ Reduce negative impacts of 2nd and 3rd
order effects Problems with Assessment Overconfidence: A lack of humility to “know what we don’t know” can lead to policies and programs based on untested assumptions and uniformed guessing.

“Can do” Attitudes: Assuming our actions will have intended impacts

Fear of Data Overload: Fear of “analysis paralysis” means people skimp on research.

Untested Assumptions: People tend to reinforce their preexisting views of conflict.
 
Organizational Interests: Existing organizational capacities too often shape conflict response programs instead of actual assessments of conflict drivers and mitigators.

Underestimating local capacity: "they must think we're stupid." What information are we missing?
Whose perspectives do we need to seek out?
What research process is needed? Coordinated Conflict Assessment Teams and Communities of Practice
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