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Conflict Assessment & Peacebuilding Planning - 1 hour narrated training

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Lisa Schirch

on 6 August 2016

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Transcript of Conflict Assessment & Peacebuilding Planning - 1 hour narrated training

Research Methods
Data Quality:
Problems with Conflict Assessment
Why conduct a
conflict assessment?
Improve Outcomes


negative impacts,
unintended outcomes,
harmful 2nd and 3rd order effects
Save Time
Save money
Who is conducting
Conflict Assessments?
-The UN
-The World Bank
-Political, development, military and intelligence agencies in donor governments
-International NGOs
-Local NGOs
-Think tanks
Do we "know what we do not know"?

Fear of Data Overload
Do we hesitate to conduct research or gather more data because we are afraid of "analysis paralysis"?
Pre-Existing Views
& Assumptions
Do we carry out research only to confirm what we want to see?

Do we only look for information that supports our organizations' goals to intervene?
The "Can Do" Spirit
Are we just eager to get on with programming activities without wasting time on assessment?

Do we assume our good intentions will lead to good outcomes?
Do we draw too heavily on media reports or personal experiences without looking for information to challenge what we think we know?
No data or low quality data
Different organizations conducting conflict assessment get different results.
Research Principles

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
What information are we missing?
Whose perspectives do we need to seek out?
What research process is needed?

Collecting Data and Processing Data in the Research Process is an Opportunity for Peacebuilding:
Timeline Exercise in Afghanistan
Conflict Assessment Chart
Connectors and Dividers
can increase
conflict by dividing
Early Warning
Signs that indicate
violent conflict is approaching
can decrease conflict by building shared values between groups
Peacebuilding programs aim to reduce the impact of dividers and amplify the impact of connectors.
Institutional Capacity &
Human Security Baseline
Cycle of Violence Map
Nested Model of Micro and Macro Context
Stakeholder Mapping
•Circles represent stakeholders
•Relative size of circle represents their importance in the conflict
•Single line is an alliance, Bold, thick line indicates a strong alliance
•Dotted line represents conflict
•Arrows represent the direction of influence or control
Culture & Identity Group Dynamics
Peacebuilding Actors & Capacity Mapping
Timeline & Legacy
What points in history do key stakeholders identify as traumatic or memorable in terms of shaping their identities and narratives about the current crisis?

Where is the common ground and where are the differences in the ways stakeholders talk about significant historic events?
Conflict Dynamics & Early Warning
Trends, Triggers, Scenarios & Windows
- an event that sets off a chain of reactions with larger implications

Windows of Vulnerability
- times, events, places or situations that provide an opportunity for groups seeking power to use violence to seek change.

Windows of Opportunity
- provide a possibility of depolarization, inclusivity, harmony, or resilience
Human Needs, Human Rights,
Grievance and Perceptions of Justice
Worldview Perceptions, Brain Patterns
and Trauma
Incentives for Peace
Hurting stalemates
Types of Incentives
Political Access
Economic access
Internally-generated incentives
Externally-generated incentives
Power & Means Analysis
Sources of Power include:

Physical or military strength
Personal ability
Economic resources
Access to information
Moral or spiritual strength
Social capital
Key Concepts
Power exists in relationships.

Power is always shifting.

People can create power by altering the ways they relate to other people.
Key Concepts
Social hierarchies exist in most places. And in most places they are a source of conflict.

Power imbalances cause everyday types of problems and conflicts between people for both those higher and lower on social hierarchies. These behaviors include:
Blaming the victim
Denial of differences
Blaming the system
Reverse prejudice
Gender, Conflict, and Peacebuilding
Forms of Violence
Against Women
Women's Roles in Peacebuilding
Socialization for peace
Concern for all forms of violence
Linked to women's networks
Mobilized around ideology of womanhood
Conflict Tree
Systems Mapping of Conflict
Drivers and Mitigators
Participatory research with a systems approach
to map the relationships between factors and develop theories of how change happens in a complex system
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
Conflict assessment + peacebuilding effort = effect
Program Rationale
"Hope lines"
If we do this peacebuilding effort, then we hope the conflict will change.
WHERE: If x parts of the context are at the root of conflict and division or provide a foundation of resilience and connection between people, what will influence these factors?

WHO: If x individual or group is driving or mitigating conflict, then what action will incentivize them to change?

WHY: If x group is motivated to drive or mitigate conflict, what will change or support their motivations?

HOW & WHAT: If x power sources are driving and mitigating conflict, what actions will influence these factors?

WHEN: If x times are conducive to violence or peace, what will influence these times?
Popular Political Theories
of Change
Democracy brings peace

Negotiation brings peace

Effective leaders brings peace

A balance of power brings peace
Popular Economic
Theories of Change
Economic development brings peace

Blocking weapons sales brings peace

Humanitarian assistance brings peace
Popular Rule-of-Law
Theories of Change
Rule of law brings peace

Restorative justice brings peace

Legal frameworks bring peace
Popular Rule-of-Law
Theories of Change
Rule of law brings peace

Restorative justice brings peace

Legal frameworks bring peace
Popular Security
Theories of Change
Peacekeeping brings peace

Security sector reform brings peace

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration brings peace
Popular Social and Psychological
Theories of Change
Trauma healing brings peace

Peace education brings peace

Social movements bring peace
Theory of Change -
Women in Political Decisionmaking
Conflict Assessment
-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
Output Summary from Conflict Assessment
Planning & Designing
Peacebuilding Efforts

Are you best able to work at micro or macro levels? Or could you coordinate between micro and macro levels?

What forms of violence are you able to address?

What key assets in the context hold potential for peacebuilding?

What are the 2-4 most significant connectors and dividers that you could affect given your capacity?
What could you do to help identify the underlying interests and needs as well as the BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement), or improve the negotiation skill level and the existing or potential forums for communication of key stakeholders?

What could you do to address the trauma that is impeding problem solving approaches of key stakeholders?

What could you do to create or support incentives that might work to shift motivations?
Which of the stakeholders driving or mitigating conflict are you most able to reach given your networks?

What identities are cross-cutting across the lines of conflict and who could you help create a space that would emphasize these cross-cutting identities?

What types of peacebuilding actors and roles and are most needed?
What is the best match of your resources and capacities to the types of peacebuilding efforts needed?

What are the 6-8 driving or mitigating factors that you might be most able to influence?

How might you communicate or coordinate with other peacebuilding initiatives?
What influence might you have to increase power for disempowered groups or to better enable negotiation or peacebuilding efforts?

How can you address the power relationships between stakeholders in different identity group to enable more diverse, inclusive, participatory and egalitarian approaches?

What would gender-sensitive peacebuilding look like in this context?
What are the key points on a timeline where different groups in conflict have shared positive memories or conflicting versions of history? What opportunities are there to discuss, dialogue or memorialize, or apologize for these histories?

What stages of conflict are you most able to address?

How can your peacebuilding effort maximize windows of opportunity and/or minimize threats posed by windows of vulnerability given a range of possible forecasts and future scenarios?
Whole of Society

Links short-term and long-term


Based on research

Local ownership and leadership





Do no harm

Support human security
Design Principles
Key Question of
Peacebuilding Design

How will this peacebuilding effort exhibit caution in every step - from choosing office location to buying supplies - so that it does not inadvertently increase tensions or reaffirm existing power structures and divisions between groups?
How will local people perceive the geographic location of the project?

How will local people perceive the sources of local goods and services or vendors?

Who will benefit from the peacebuilding effort? Who may feel left out?

Who will staff the peacebuilding effort and how will local people perceive them? What will happen in the event of violence?

What are potential negative impacts of the peacebuilding effort? What are possible scenarios where things go wrong?
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
To influence public opinion in support of a national peace process including all sides of the conflict by a measure of 25% in public opinion polls.

The project will include 10 public events (5 public forums with 3 panelists and 5 music events with pamphlets of information) and radio announcements that play on every radio station 3 times a day for 4 times a week for 16 weeks.
To increase public opinion in support of a peace process by a measure of 25% in a public opinion poll.
Case study of a program that was
-replicated across geography
-linked vertical and horizontal
-connected personal and structural change
-Integrated multi-sector approach
-Sequenced programs
-Leveraged system dynamics

(see separate Prezi for this presentation)
National Solidarity Project - Afghanistan
M&E Data Collection
Anonymous mechanisms/boxes
Special forums for vulnerable/marginalized groups
Conflict diaries
Transparency boards
Vigilance committees
Community meetings
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
Coherent and coordinated?
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
Coordinated Conflict Assessment Teams and Communities of Practice
Data Validity & Distortion Problems
1. The identity of the group collecting the data impacts the quality of the data.
-People may tell you what they think you want to hear

2. Data distortion comes through translation.

3. Researchers assume they are objective and fail to identify strategies for overcoming their own bias.
Selective Perception

Humans "see" information that fits into their current worldview.

Worldviews "filter" the world to see what we expect to see.

Humans "discard" information that does not fit into their current worldview.

Worldviews create the world they expect to see.
People in groups start to:
think alike
reinforce false assumptions
fail to see alternatives
permit "mind guards" to censor views
become overly optimistic about what they know and their own morality
Constructing Conflict Assessment Teams & Processes
Diverse team of insiders and outsiders that are sensitive to power relations
Be aware of potential dangers in research process to interviewees and researchers
Be cautious approach to how people may provide data that serves their own interests
Identify political interests that might block data collections
Be aware of different levels of awareness of complex ideas and terms
Conflict Sensitive Research
Who designs the research process?
Who conducts the research?
How transparent is the process?
Are all research questions trauma-sensitive and pilot tested?
Who will benefit from research & what follow up to report to local people?
Conflict Assessment & Peacebuilding Planning
Chapter 3 in "Conflict Assessment & Peacebuilding Planning"
Self Assessment
Reflective Peacebuilding
Self Assessment
Good intent does not always lead to good impacts.
Pointing Fingers
Some groups carrying out conflict assessments examine the problems and capacities of others without looking inward at their own contributions to the conflict or their own lack of capacity
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
To identify what can we do differently that might influence our own role in the conflict?" in addition to asking "What can we do to change them?"
It is an ongoing process, before research begins on conflict assessment, again before planning peacebuilding efforts, and then again during monitoring and evaluation.

Helps identify and prioritize the best match of your resources, capacities and networks to local context.

Creates an opportunity for you to reflect on whether you may cause more harm than good, despite your best intentions.
Research Methods
for Self Assessment
Focus groups within our organization
Interviews with community
Surveys of other group's perceptions of our organization
Outside evaluators
What is your access to the area?
How much do you know about the context in terms of language, culture, religion, etc?
Do you know what you don't know?
Where will you begin your research? Where will you locate your office and buy supplies? How will others perceive your choices?
Who do you already have relationships with in the context?
Who will you talk to first?
Who will conduct the interviews?
How will others perceive your identity?
Who might benefit or feel threatened by your research?
What are your resources and sources of power, such as language capacity, technical expertise, deep understanding of local context, wide social network, or financial resources?
How is your organization different and unique from others?
What partnerships does your organization have with other peacebuilding efforts in the region?
What are your motives?
What do other people perceive as your motives?
What have you done to communicate your motives to others?
What are the time restrictions on your research?
What is your organization's capacity for crisis response or to adapt your plans to windows of opportunity?
What is the timeframe for your intervention?
SWOT Analysis
What are your organizations:
Insiders and Outsiders
Every insider is also an outsider to other local groups.

Insiders can be biased and are not perfect.

Some insiders act as gatekeepers to their own contexts to decide who they let in. This can be positive or negative.

Insiders are already conducting conflict assessments
Always consider there may be no role for outsiders.

Map lack of capacity in terms of culture, language, religion.

Many come from countries that practiced colonialism and may subtly or not so subtly reveal these attitudes toward insiders
Imposing Western values
Being insensitive to local cultures
Showing arrogance and "we know it all" or "we know what is good for you"
Humiliating or denigrating the capacities of insiders
Patronising insiders with false consultation when decisions have already been made
Blindness to seeing the role of their own countries in driving local conflict
Focusing on quick-fix solutions rather than historical roots of conflict
Lacking accountability to local people and just leaving if a crisis emerges
Insiders report that in partnerships with outsiders, outsiders are:
Insider-Outsider Partnerships
Capacity mapping of all partners to find complementary skills and resources

Set up grievance resolution forums

Work together from assessment to planning to monitoring & evaluation

Understand perceptions of partnership

Educate others about the purpose and nature of the partnership
Sometimes peacebuilding efforts don't work at all, or are counterproductive. A lack of self-assessment is often part of the problem.
The people collecting 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.
Self Assessment Categories & Questions
What is Peacebuilding
Direct efforts to decrease the factors driving conflict or increase the factors mitigating conflict


Coordination to develop a multi-level
multi-sector, short and long term approach to change the drivers and mitigators of conflict.
Full transcript