Effective interventions

How do I know? Strategic planning, learning and evaluation for peacebuilding

FriEnt - Working Group on Peace and Development

The present publication is a collection of “snapshots” from the practice of our members and organisations affiliated to FriEnt. It identifies steps towards results-based learning and strategic planning in peacebuilding. It combines issue-specific experience with lessons learnt in particular country contexts. These include the use of more open methods as “most significant change” within the organisational framework of the Swiss organisation HEKS; the consideration of previous experience (or lack of it) in the design of new programmes in bilateral and multilateral cooperation; and experience with designing multi-stakeholder strategies from the German Civil Peace Service Group. We also provide insight into scenario analysis in a FriEnt organized round table on Kenya and present selected findings from a multi-year impact evaluation project in North East Afghanistan. And for the relational aspects, diverse experiences with peer review processes are presented for debate and require further application.

Two accounts from the field show how important all three areas are in specific (post-)conflict and peacebuilding situations and – for that matter – in democratic reform. They also show what donors’ requirement for tangible results means in their daily work to make a difference to people’s lives: in Burundi, after five decades of atrocities, the challenge is to overcome the trauma experienced by so many people, to rebuild social relations and communities destroyed by the protracted conflicts, and to (re-)create a value basis on which to build a post-conflict society. For Kenya, one important challenge is to open up closed spaces by building and using a resource of “weavers” – people who can cross borders and have entry points into closed spaces.

The starting point for these reports is a study commissioned by the former Church Development Services (eed) on the experience of peacebuilding in Colombia. It covers much of the history of the protracted conflict with its changing nature over time, its changing constellations of actors and issues, and the various peacebuilding efforts that correspond to different needs but also different understandings of war and peace and their background. It presents a range of theories of change, approaches and methods that are important in peacebuilding – each under particular conditions and in certain points in time.

With this publication, we hope to encourage colleagues in our member organisations and others working in the field to share and develop their experience of these and other related issues. FriEnt is there to facilitate and support this exchange and the development of new approaches.

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