Theme: Peacebuilding practice

Impact report: Social Peace and Local Development programme

This publication showcases the impact and reach of our Social Peace and Local Development programme since 2022. The report highlights key results the programme has achieved, including the total number of project participants supported, our ongoing work on Women, Peace and Security, the impact of regional Social Peace Hubs, and the geographic reach of the project across Libya’s political divides.

The Social Peace and Local Development programme is rooted in community level peacebuilding. Social Peace Partnerships function as community-led local conflict management mechanisms. They bring together municipal authorities with community leaders, civil society representatives and business leaders to establish inclusive, participatory local decision-making processes. These support relationship-building between citizens and the local municipality, helping to build trust and legitimacy, while also strengthening social cohesion. Social Peace Partnerships have demonstrated an impact on conflict prevention and strengthening local governance.

PCi also convenes Social Peace Partnerships to operate as Regional Social Peace Hubs. This enables leaders from different towns in Libya to think and act beyond the narrative of “city states” isolated from a share of the Libyan national identity. Through the Hubs, leaders think regionally and nationally about how to solve problems faced by multiple communities and build much needed networks between towns. The Hubs have demonstrated capacity to solve shared problems through regional approaches that build relationships between towns and between the towns and national authorities.

Since the inception of the programme in 2013, PCi has introduced the Social Peace and Local Development methodology in 45 municipalities out of 143 across Libya. This means our programming has positively impacted on the lives of approximately 3.5 million people who live in these areas. Looking forward, the programme will support developments in the Libyan political dialogue process and advocate for Civil Society expansion through mobilising the existing peacebuilding infrastructure across the country.

Read the impact report now:

Impact report: Social Peace and Local Development (English)

The mutual benefits of academic partnerships between Serbia and Kosovo

front cover of the academic fellowship booklet

Peaceful Change initiative (PCi) – through the UK government funded project Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED) – has focused on enhancing cooperation between scholars and researchers in Kosovo and Serbia on contemporary social, political, and economic topics. This initiative emphasizes the importance of academic partnerships and exchanges in knowledge production, collaborative research, and fostering mutual understanding, particularly in the context of peacebuilding.

The first phase of cooperation resulted in a comprehensive piece of research into the state of civil society in Kosovo and Serbia, undertaken jointly by the Universities of Pristina and Belgrade, entitled ‘The Landscape of Cross-Community Initiatives in Kosovo and South Serbia’. This research examines the state of civil society, the place of informal civic activism, and patterns of and prospects for cross-community initiatives in Kosovo and south Serbia, looking at the structure constraints and enabling factors behind the observed phenomena.

To consolidate such cooperation, PCi supported an academic fellowships program involving academic staff and PhD students from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Prishtina, and the Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade. Academics were provided with stipends to support their individual research endeavours, whilst simultaneously integrating them into the faculties of the host institutions. The resulting research projects cover diverse topics such as gender and diversity, political representation, religion and identity, university reform, and civil society.

This fellowship resulted in the following research projects, further details about which are available by clicking here.

  1. Dr. Vjollca Krasniqi explored the engagement of universities in Southeast Europe with public issues, emphasizing the ‘third mission’ of universities regarding teaching, knowledge production, and social responsibility. The study investigated how universities respond to socio-economic challenges in order to identify best practices for community collaboration and knowledge co-creation.
  2. Dr. Jelena Lončar focused on gender-sensitive reforms in the Kosovo parliament. The research analyzed the processes and effects of gender-sensitive reforms, exploring critical actors, points of resistance, and incentives for change. The study contributes to the understanding of gender-sensitive parliamentary practices, especially in post-conflict societies like Kosovo.
  3. Dr. Nađa Bobičić compared leftist perspectives in Kosovo and Serbia from a feminist and queer standpoint by delving into how gender studies researchers and feminists define the ‘left’. The research also explored the praxis of civil society organizations, particularly in relation to care work, queer issues, and intergenerational feminism.
  4. Dr. Stefan Surlić examined the role of civil society organizations in Kosovo, particularly those representing the Serb community. The study argued that these organizations contribute to genuine citizen integration by promoting policies benefiting minority groups, whilst highlighting the challenges and resistance faced by civil society organizations in their efforts to engage with the Prishtina authorities.
  5. Lirije Palushi addressed gender and higher education in Kosovo and Serbia, investigating the representation of women academics. The study explored challenges women face in academia, examining qualitative and quantitative data to identify similarities and differences in the two societies.
  6. Dr. Marko Veković explored the intersection of religion and politics in post-conflict Kosovo, investigating how religious institutions and values influence politics and society, addressing questions about the impact of religion on political attitudes and preferences. The study combined survey data and interviews with clergy members to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of religion in post-conflict Kosovo.

The latest iteration of cooperation focused on ensuring the respective universities are equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive in a changing academic world. Through a collaboration with University College London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies, academics from Belgrade and Pristina shared perspectives on a multitude of topics pertaining to knowledge production and management, with a view to strengthening their administrative structures to better equip them to confront the challenges facing academia in the contemporary age.

These various dimensions of partnership serve as a model for other forms of academic partnerships and collaborative research, especially in contexts where pre-existing relationships have been ruptured by war and issues arising from status disputes. By normalizing such forms of cooperation, the respective Universities are creating a precedent for other academic actors to establish partnerships that benefit not only individual researchers, but their respective institutions more broadly. Contemporary academia is grounded upon partnership and collaboration, without which institutions cannot compete for students and funding. Academia cannot exist in isolation.  

Case study: strengthening media as a stakeholder in peacebuilding

This case study describes PCi’s experience of convening a partnership among media organisations working in the Kosovo informational space; a partnership created with a view to drawing out lessons for the ways in which international support can help independent media achieve a greater impact on democratisation, inter-communal relationships and peacebuilding.

The study, which analyses work carried out by Peaceful Change initiative as part of the Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED), concludes the following:

  • Independent media in Kosovo have a natural inclination to seek out partnerships, including those that transcend the conflict divide. Such collaborations should be encouraged and supported, but they should look beyond the symbolism of cross-conflict cooperation and focus on the added value that different media can bring to each other’s core business.
  • For partnerships to succeed and achieve some form of sustainability, at least one partner should have a clear idea of the value that they seek to gain from the cooperation, beyond the symbolism of developing broader networks.
  • Professional media consider development projects as being of interest to their readership and are prepared to devote resources to cover them. Development projects should view independent media, and especially local media, as partners in achieving their social change objectives – and should support their development in ways that allows them to maintain their independence.
  • Direct support for media in Kosovo should make allowances for the language gap within the country, allocating resources that allow media to work in both Serbian and Albanian in the interest of building more of a unitary informational space. Concurrently, investments should continue to be made to support multilingualism and language rights.
  • Partnership-focused projects should be designed with a view to strengthening authentic drivers of cooperation. To a great extent, this may mean applying monitoring systems that prioritise process over output – especially at the early stages of cooperation. Close monitoring could allow later-stage projects to draw attention to where opportunities to improve output are being overlooked.
  • Cooperation that is rooted in mutual organisational interests can provide the basis for sustainable collaboration and the transformation of relationships on an individual basis. This does not, however, translate into broader transformations in ways of working. Despite the sense of mutual reward from the partnership, the participants applied conflict-avoidance strategies regarding content that was sensitive for their audiences. Investment in partnerships should be long-term; this would allow partnerships to build resilience and let them apply specific strategies for transcending discourses on sensitive topics.

The case study is available to download and read below:

Read the case study

The work described in the case study was part of the project Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED), funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund.

Analysis of cooperation in the fight against human trafficking and gender-based violence

This publication looks at cooperation in the fight against human trafficking and gender-based violence, and makes recommendations for local authorities on the adoption of best practices. The paper focuses on collaboration between four neighbouring municipalities – two in Kosovo, two in Serbia – which are on key migration and smuggling routes. It also looks at the significance of the Western Balkans in terms of migration patterns and the role of the municipalities as transit zones.

This policy paper aims to explain and compare the legal systems in Kosovo and Serbia and addresses the existing gaps in cooperation between institutions in Kosovo and Serbia. This document also explores the complexity of gender-based violence and the legal challenges associated with tackling the problems of domestic violence.

This analysis was published by the Center for Peace and Tolerance Pristina with the support of Peaceful Change Initiative.

The policy paper is available to download and read below:

Conflict sensitivity considerations relating to the Libya Storm Daniel response

The consequences of the floods resulting from Storm Daniel on 10 and 11 September pose an urgent and unprecedented humanitarian emergency in communities in the East of Libya. The disaster, moreover, overlays Libya’s complex conflict environment, which will be shaped by this emergency and the response.  Failing to acknowledge this when providing international assistance risks exacerbating tensions, contributing to structural drivers of conflict and overlooking potential opportunities to contribute to sustainable peace.

This note provides a brief overview of conflict sensitivity considerations relating to the international response to Storm Daniel in Libya which can be identified at this early stage of the response. It is intended to inform planners and implementers and identifies both issues to be considered as part of a conflict sensitive response and recommendations for potential ways to mitigate these.

The note can be viewed and downloaded in English on the link below:

Download here

For further information, please contact:


Lamis Ben Aiyad
Conflict Sensitivity Advisor
Peaceful Change initiative
lamis.aiyad@peacefulchange.org


Tim Molesworth
Senior Advisor: Conflict Sensitivity and Peace Technology
Peaceful Change initiative
tim.molesworth@peacefulchange.org

Partnerships with purpose: media in Kosovo and Serbia

Two media professionals talking

A two year series of Media Consultation Dialogues (MCD) convened by Peaceful Change initiative (PCi) identified several areas of common need in the media spaces of Kosovo and Serbia. Profound and fundamental challenges like the difficult financial environment and lack of resources cannot be addressed overnight. There are, however, steps doable immediately to make existing resources go further and to equip media with the requisite skills for the contemporary media environment.

These include:

  1. Partnership-driven approaches
  2. Building trust through self-regulation
  3. Developing new capabilities
  4. Speaking with a common voice

A partnership-driven approach

The reality facing media outlets in Kosovo, Serbia, and elsewhere in the Western Balkans necessitates a partnership-driven approach that dilutes some of fundamental challenges they face in terms of limited resources. Cooperation between journalists and media outlets in Kosovo and Serbia is, however, not a common practice. Aside from sporadic contacts (typically at media-focused events), there is no systematic approach to building mutually beneficial and sustained partnerships.

The purpose of such partnerships is threefold, namely to:

  1. Broaden coverage – more issues covered;
  2. Deepen coverage – more perspectives and sources incorporated;
  3. Extending reach – more platforms over a wider geographical and first-language area reproducing the content.

There are various models and strategies for how such partnerships can be pursued. It could involve the exchanges of audio, video or written materials or staff, or it could be the joint production or sharing of content. Whilst there are positive examples of such partnership, they are often ad hoc and dependent upon personal ties between media editors/management. They also tend to focus upon political developments as opposed to human-centred stories.[1]

To illustrate how such partnerships could be structured, consider the following:

  1. Sharing of content, especially video/audio material and photographs;
  2. Joint productions, especially for complex multimedia feature stories;
  3. Information exchanges, especially in crisis situations;
  4. Joint fact checking of data and stories.

There are several other areas in which such systematic cooperation can be developed, including but not limited to:

  1. Exchanges and/or hosting of journalists;
  2. Fellowships – similar to writers in residence programmes;
  3. Internship and job shadowing programs for journalists;
  4. Joint efforts to identify ‘fake news” and external influences (Disinformation Alert System).

Building trust through self-regulation

The print (and some online portals) media in Kosovo and Serbia fall under the auspices of the Press Councils, which are self-regulatory bodies working under ethical codes and professional guidelines grounded in EU standards. The Press Councils of Serbia and Kosovo are both incorporated into the European Press Councils’ Associations, but they do not cooperate directly. Given the issues pertaining to hate speech and prejudicial reporting in Kosovo and Serbia, systematic co-operation between the two could have a transformative effect on relations.

Such co-operation could include:

  1. Periodic meetings to learn about each other’s work and context;
  2. Provision of materials such as ethnical codes in Serbian and Albanian;
  3. Exchange of know-how, experiences and resources;
  4. Establishing a Joint Complaints Committee meetings regarding violation of the codes. It would be  hosted by the Serbian Press Council if the violation is in the Serbian media and vice versa;
  5. Joint reactions and public support, particularly where complaints have been upheld, thereby building trust in the process;
  6. Joint events for journalists targeting hate speech, disinformation etc..

Developing new capabilities

The media environment is rapidly changing. There are emerging threats, particularly with respect to disinformation, but also novel opportunities. Contemporary journalism arguably requires new skills, particularly those pertaining to OSINT, social media, and data analytics. The possibilities for professional development are, however, limited. Journalists lack the time and resources to build strengthen their capacities, whilst media outlets are limited in their ability to invest in human capital.   

To remain relevant in a contemporary age, journalists and media outlets must create user friendly resources – grounded in lived experience – which can help guide their peers in their day-to-day jobs. Such resources would ideally be developed in conjunction with the respective journalistic associations and academic institutions.  

There are also generational gaps which need to be bridged. Whilst older generations of journalists were trained in a different context, where there was arguably a greater awareness of and familiarity with questions of ethno-national diversity, younger generations of journalists have grown up in a somewhat different context. This latter group, however, is more attune with other forms of diversity and new trends in the media. By providing opportunities for networking and other forms of collaboration, journalists from various backgrounds can enhance their understanding of and enjoy greater access to a particular community.

Speaking with a common voice

Almost every single professional media in both Serbia and Kosovo is struggling to survive. Due to shrinking sums and changing donor priorities, many professional media are registered as Civil Society Organisations to improve their eligibility. Other professional media have opened their own NGOs which can apply for funding. Calls for proposals tend to be extremely complicated, often to the extent that small media lack the capacity to apply or fulfil the requirements.

Raising awareness within the donor community about such issues will require that media in Kosovo, Serbia and the Western Balkans engage in joint advocacy. By speaking with a common voice, media outlets can send a powerful and constructive message about their specific needs. Such advocacy would also focus on the means of dispersal, including how to get beyond the classic intermediary model that means that much funding doesn’t go directly to the beneficiaries.  

Such joint advocacy would also reinforce the importance of media freedom conditionality on the road to EU accession. It would focus upon questions of financial and ownership transparency within the media scenes of Kosovo and Serbia, whilst underscoring the importance of the safety of journalists and their ability to operate in a context free from political interference.  Furthermore, it would underscore the vital role the media plays in underpinning democracy and the rule of law. By drawing attention to specific issues, a free media is an essential part of accountability and transparency, whilst relaying the concerns and needs of citizens.

Clarification

All the ideas contained within this paper were generated during the Media Consultation Dialogues conducted by PCi, plus subsequent consultations with particular participants. The purpose of this paper is to stimulate further discussion about the approaches contained within, with PCi on hand to facilitate the development of specific proposals.

For further enquiries, please contact  anthony.foreman@peacefulchange.org    


[1] In every one of the eight MCDs, the lack of such stories has popped up as something sorely missing from the media in both Kosovo and Serbia. Based on ideas launched in the MCDs, PCi introduced a special award for such media content and gave an annual award for two consecutive years. 

Building a more inclusive peace: women’s inclusion and leadership

participants during a dialogue session organised by the Tripoli Centre SPP
Above: participants during a dialogue session organised by the Tripoli Centre SPP

A key part of our work in Libya focuses on ensuring women’s inclusion and leadership in peacebuilding and decision-making. To achieve this goal, we address structural and practical barriers, as well as physical risks, that limit women’s meaningful participation in building and sustaining peace.

While women in Libya play a fundamental role in building and maintaining social peace and cohesion, this role is often performed in informal settings. For example, through lobbying male family members, accessing neighbourhoods that are considered off-limits for men, or using their community management role to help dialogue between families or different communities. For instance, the decision of a woman not to seek revenge for the killing of her husband by members of another community group prevented a violent escalation that would have likely led to more killings and further conflict. 

But despite the diverse perspectives and unique contributions they can bring, women continue to face systemic exclusion from taking part in and leading efforts to improve social cohesion, inclusion, and security in their communities. When women’s voices are missing from peace efforts, their specific needs are often neglected, and we miss out on the perspectives and networks that they can bring to peace efforts. We are working alongside Social Peace Partnerships across Libya to change this.

Social Peace Partnerships (SPPs) bring together a diverse group of local people, with a shared vision of Libya becoming a safe and inclusive country. Members include representatives from the local authority, civil society leaders, elders, community leaders, business owners and anyone who is interested in peacebuilding. PCi builds the skills of the SPP members through various trainings so they can solve community issues and develop an ongoing response mechanism to community conflict. PCi also helps to build positive relationships between the community and the local authorities. 

Since 2013, Peaceful Change initiative has been supporting community-level peacebuilding initiatives, through our Social Peace and Local Development programme, in over 40 Libyan municipalities. A core element of this work has been supporting women’s inclusion in peacebuilding efforts, ensuring women’s perspectives and needs are better reflected in decision-making, and understanding how different gendered experiences of conflict impact peacebuilding.  

Working with Social Peace Partnerships to advance women’s inclusion and leadership in peace efforts 

Since the start of this programme, Social Peace Partnerships have made great strides in advancing women’s representation, participation, leadership and visibility in peace efforts. Women are now represented in all Social Peace Partnerships, where they make up 39% of members on average, and women now play an active role in the regular planning and implementation of activities. In some Social Peace Partnerships, women were also elected to leadership roles such as Chairperson positions. 

Social Peace Partnerships across Libya have created an environment which fosters women’s leadership skills, from peacebuilding to crisis management, local development, and governance. Women have successfully conceptualised, designed, and implemented initiatives funded by Peaceful Change initiative which address women’s perspectives and needs.  

Women’s leadership and contributions to projects implemented by Social Peace Partnerships have been crucial in gaining wider acceptance among male peers of the need for greater women’s participation. Within many Social Peace Partnerships, women’s leadership in the design and implementation of projects is now considered key to making initiatives more effective and sustainable. For example, some women-led initiatives have been endorsed by local authorities through long-term funding. The success of these initiatives has played a significant role in positively shifting views on women’s participation. 

Similarly, many male members recognise that projects implemented with active female members are often delivered more efficiently and on time. Some of these projects have become self-sustainable through income generation and have gone on to support other initiatives run by women for women.

Above: awareness-raising seminars around peaceful co-existence and citizenship rights in Tobruk

Shifting perceptions around women’s role in peacebuilding and decision-making 

To shift social views around the role of women in peacebuilding and decision-making, Social Peace Partnerships work to amplify the voices and stories of women leaders in peace and social initiatives. This is key to ensuring that a diverse range of women can be models in their own communities and inspire younger and less active women to imagine a different role for themselves.  

For example, Khadija attended a peacebuilding training for women in Ubari which gave her the drive and confidence to set up the Noor Al-Alam Centre, which among other activities delivers psychological support to children affected by conflict. “Attending a workshop on peacebuilding and seeing all those women [from different communities] working together despite our differences motivated me to establish a centre that brings people from the different groups together for trainings and other social initiatives.”  

In areas where social norms are less accepting of women’s presence in the public sphere, Social Peace Partnerships have been able to build trust with key local actors and secure a higher acceptance of women’s role in peacebuilding and decision-making processes. This is reflected by an increased willingness by many male members to be women’s inclusion advocates and allies. In some cases, Social Peace Partnerships have concretely supported women leaders in their communities, for example through backing their candidacy in local elections. 

Through their continued efforts, Social Peace Partnerships are making an important contribution to shifting the role of women in peacebuilding and sustaining peace in Libya. To learn more about this work, you can read our report which captures our experience and lessons learned from 10 years of integrating gender into our peacebuilding programme in Libya.  

Standing up for diverse points of view and freedom of expression

We the undersigned strongly condemn all acts of intimidation directed towards Sofija Todorović, program director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia.

We are, in particular, deeply concerned about the graffiti daubed on a building near where Ms. Todorović lives. It is imperative that such matters be urgently investigated by the appropriate authorities. No individual should be subject to threats of physical violence. 

All citizens must be entitled to openly express their views on all matters without fear of reprisals or ramifications. This also applies to the issue of Kosovo’s status.

The normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia can only be achieved through open and sustained dialogue, of which disagreement is a fundamental part.

For over a decade, the respective governments in Kosovo and Serbia have been involved in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, reaching compromises through face-to-face engagement under EU mediation. 

The recent agreement between Kosovo and Serbia is a recommitment to continue talking; to continue finding solutions that can benefit all communities. Whilst there has been a spike in tensions, we firmly believe that only through dialogue can de-escalation be achieved and the foundations for progress put in place.  

Regardless of one’s views on Kosovo’s status, one should be able to express them openly and confidently. Attempts to silence voices such as Ms. Todorović’s must be widely denounced.

Articulating a vision for the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia requires voices willing and able to speak truth to power. In the absence of consensus, it is even more vital to create safe spaces where ideas can be proposed and different viewpoints heard.

The stifling of alternative perspectives – especially through tangible threats – will ultimately damage not only relations between Kosovo and Serbia but the evolution of democracy.

We stand in solidarity with Ms. Todorović and remain committed to debating issues that cause tensions within and between Kosovo and Serbia, with a view to finding solutions that can benefit all communities.        

Signatories

  1. Aktiv
  2. Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP)
  3. Center for Democracy and Education – Lugina, Bujanovac
  4. Civic Initiatives
  5. Community Building Mitrovica
  6. Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society (BFPE)
  7. Kosovo Law Institute
  8. Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM)
  9. Local Peace
  10. Lugina Lajm Portal – Bujanovac
  11. New Social Initiative
  12. Prof. Vjollca Krasniqi, University of Prishtina
  13. Voice of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians (VoRAE)
  14. Youth Initiative for Human Rights Kosovo
  15. Rahim Salihi, civil society activist, Bujanovac
  16. Ramadan Ilazi, Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS)

Peaceful Change initiative – as part of the UK government funded project, Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED) – has been regularly convening civic actors from Kosovo and Serbia to improve the environment for normalisation. For further information, please contact Ian Bancroft (Ian.bancroft@peacefulchange.org).

ILO launches new guide to promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence in fragile contexts

PCi’s trustee Joan McGregor and Senior Peacebuilding Advisor Raj Bhari have been working with ILO to produce a new guide:  Promoting Social Cohesion and Peaceful Coexistence in Fragile Contexts through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). 

The guide is now available to download here: Promoting Social Cohesion and Peaceful Coexistence in Fragile Contexts through TVET.

The guide is aimed at TVET practitioners to consolidate their role as active promoters of social cohesion and peaceful co-existence.

The guide seeks to strengthen the role of skills development policies and programmes in peacebuilding efforts through inclusive learning methodologies and training in relevant core skills. 

It also provides practical guidance on how to adapt training, to mixed community groups, embed conflict resolution skills, cooperation, and other relevant core skills into training curricula, and create conflict sensitive, inclusive, and diverse learning environments for all.

The guide will be launched at a Webinar on International Day of Living Together in Peace on May 17 2021 at 2pm UK time. To participate in the Webinar, please click on the following link:  https://ilo-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_jr1K9WatS4yB2qDJRILlpg

Why we need conflict sensitivity in Northern Mozambique

Women on the beach of Pemba, Cabo Delgado

In this blog post we explore the pressing need for increased conflict sensitivity skills amongst those delivering aid in Northern Mozambique.

The ongoing armed conflict in Cabo Delgado, Northern Mozambique, is creating challenges to the effective delivery of humanitarian aid by the international community. A lack of conflict sensitive approaches by some international agencies has led to unintended consequences and hindered the delivery of aid to those who need it most.  

Conflict sensitivity is an approach which helps those working in conflict-affected contexts minimise the negative impacts of their actions and work towards peace. In this blog post we explore the pressing need for increased conflict sensitivity skills amongst those delivering aid in Northern Mozambique. This includes having a solid understanding of the root causes of the conflict, learning from local expertise, and adapting actions based on this understanding. 

The challenges of delivering international aid in Northern Mozambique 

One of the critical issues that has emerged, and is now widely recognised in Northern Mozambique, is the unequal distribution of aid between internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities. While addressing the immediate needs of IDPs is crucial, neglecting the host communities has created feelings of resentment and worsened existing tensions. It is essential for aid organisations to recognise and respond to these grievances, adopting an inclusive approach which supports everyone who is affected. Conflict sensitivity guidance can help international aid agencies understand and address such disparities and existing lines of tension, ensuring they foster social cohesion rather than undermine it. 

Another widely mentioned challenge is the recent influx of international organisations working in Northern Mozambique, which brings the risk of duplicating efforts and inadequate coordination. Without good coordination, efforts may inadvertently overlap, resulting in inefficient resource allocation and missed opportunities to address the critical needs of people. Such circumstances can not only lead to inefficacy but can also fuel grievances against international agencies or ignite tensions among the communities they serve.  It is important for organisations providing international aid to have a space for reflection and to come together to build a common understanding of how they can contribute to peace.

How conflict sensitivity can help international aid agencies navigate these challenges 

Aid agencies working in Northern Mozambique must prioritise conflict sensitivity expertise when delivering assistance. Having a clear picture of the conflict landscape, recognising the grievances arising from aid disparities, acknowledging and addressing corruption challenges, and promoting inclusivity and local participation are essential steps towards ensuring effective and sustainable aid delivery.  

International organisations have a responsibility to invest in conflict sensitivity training and expertise, which will help them to navigate complex conflict dynamics, build meaningful relationships with local communities, and deliver aid that addresses the diverse needs of people affected by conflict. Building these skills include recruiting staff who have an excellent understanding of the communities agencies want to work with, and ensuring these staff can inform and influence context analysis and project design and adaptation. 

We are working to strengthen conflict sensitivity skills amongst national and international humanitarian and development organisations in Northern Mozambique. We do this by helping agencies conduct and make sense of conflict analysis, to identify and prioritise conflict sensitivity risk and design mitigation strategies, and to design, adapt and monitor projects based on this knowledge. 


This blog was written by Lorenzo Giuliani, Project Officer for the East and Southern Africa team. Learn more about why we are working in Northern Mozambique on this page, and how we are working there on this page.