This is the first discussion note in a series intended to inform development of a new tool for conflict sensitive decision-making related to international humanitarian, development and peacebuilding assistance. The tool is intended to help decision makers determine whether an action is conflict sensitive before it is taken and consists of 5 tests, or questions, which should be considered. Click here for the discussion note.
This discussion note introduces and provides an overview to the tool. Subsequent discussion notes will look into particular tests or aspects of the tool. The discussion notes have been prepared as part of a consultation process with conflict sensitivity practitioners, donors and implementers to test and develop the tool.
Peaceful Change initiative was highlighted in the Guardian newspaper over the weekend in a feature about interesting charities. We are exploring new ways of supporting the conflict resolution work we do in some of the world’s most challenging places. If you would like to get involved in supporting the work of Peaceful Change initiative, please visit https://peacefulchange.org/get-involved/
Peaceful Change initiative works with societies to prevent or reduce violence that is triggered by radical and divisive change. We aim to mitigate the effects of violence on people’s lives, while laying the foundations for long-term peace and stability. This commitment to making a difference within communities experiencing conflict means that we work in some very difficult places, often very close to the point of violence. This kind of work inevitably places some stresses on PCi team members. The challenge for us is to work together to build a culture that helps manage this stress well.
Knowing that the work we do is often hard and stressful, we wanted to provide team members with some basic tools to help them keep healthy. This booklet provides important information about the nature and symptoms of stress. It is intended to help PCi team members recognise their own symptoms of stress and take some basic actions to manage that stress. Maintaining the wellbeing of our team is crucial to maintaining our peacebuilding impact.
Peaceful Change initiative’s Programme Lead on the Western Balkans Programme, Ian Bancroft, participated in the Foreign Policy Centre Webinar on “Building a lasting peace? Power sharing and sectarian identities in Bosnia” on 9 February 2021. The panel discussion was focused on the complex relationship between peace building, power sharing and sectarian identities in Bosnia; it also examined the real challenges of improving public trust and reforming institutions in ways that enhance and protect peacebuilding in Bosnia.
Our work in the year is detailed in our trustees report below alongside our financial statements. Two objectives have been to build resilience in fundraising and grow our expertise and we are pleased to report that we supported 10 separate donors across 15 programmes in the year. We also met our goal to build six months of operating costs as financial reserves and carry a healthy cash balance.
In brief our programme highlights are;
In Libya, PCi has delivered actions that contribute to local peace, development, and stabilisation through the 14 Social Peace Partnerships supporting conflict management at the sub-national level and through the Peacebuilding Network supporting a Network of 44 Libyan peacebuilding practitioners from 26 communities across the country. A number of Social Peace Partnerships have also played an important role as consultative and conflict sensitivity mechanisms to support the implementation of UNDP’s ‘Strengthening Local Capacities for Resilience and Recovery’ and ‘Stabilisation Facility for Libya’ interventions.
In Syria, PCi has delivered actions to strengthen the capacity of a group of Syrian youth in transformational leadership skills and how to apply these across conflict lines. In addition PCi has facilitated a Conflict-Sensitive Assistance for Syria retreat in November 2017 (and April 2018) and subsequently published a report on the Conflict-Sensitive Assistance for Syria Retreat in April 2018.
In Ukraine, PCi has worked with civil society organisations working along the line between Government and Rebel-controlled Ukraine to build their skills as dialogue facilitators and accompanied community groups to deal with practical issues in constructive ways. At the international level PCi has commissioned research and convened discussions to inform the international response to the crisis in Ukraine and how assistance can contribute to addressing underlying drivers of conflict.
On the organisation front we have recruited to strengthen our capability in finance and operations, communications and expanded our outsourced services for managing Human Resources and Payroll. Looking ahead to 2019 we are aiming to complete a strategy review, an upgrade of Finance capabilities and investment and training for improving our programme and business development frameworks.
Our work in the year is detailed in our Trustees’ Report, below, alongside our financial statements. Key charitable programme events in the year were:
Continued delivery for our Libya programmes across a number of governmental and institutional donors;
Completion of our programmatic work in Syria and the winding down of operations to support this work;
Development of proposals and operations for the Black Sea region including Ukraine and Armenia.
A decision was taken by the Board in 2018 to wind down all programmes for the Syria region and halt taking on new work. This was due to PCi’s judgement that prevailing operating conditions inside Syria are not conducive to meaningfully deepening the organisation’s work. Also, despite some governmental and institutional interest in our proposals for Ukraine, we were unable to secure new programme work for this country. We remain in communication with donors regarding the delivery of work for 2020 onwards. However, the Board decided to open up programming in Armenia, and PCi successfully fundraised for a new project there.
On the organisation front we continued to refresh and refine our strategy and business planning and improve governance of risk management, and prepared for new financial accounting and reporting systems from April 2020. Our reserves policy for the year was executed as net-neutral in that we neither added to nor deducted from our cumulated reserves; however, we achieved our goal of £250k reserves, which broadly represents 6 months’ operations. A new reserves policy will be set at the AGM in 2019.
In this webinar, PCi’s Senior Advisers Lesley McCulloch and Anthony Foreman shared the key findings of a new PCi report on the challenges and opportunities of, and lessons learned from, mainstreaming conflict sensitivity in remote programming contexts. They discussed the evolution of the remote programming model employed in Syria and Libya, where PCi works to support and build the capacity of local leaders to manage conflict.
PCi hosted a panel discussion on behalf of the Conflict Sensitivity Hub at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London. Tim Molesworth, PCi’s Senior Adviser, Conflict Sensitivity and Peace Technology, PCi facilitated the discussions – which were also livestreamed on Twitter, enabling conflict sensitivity practitioners to engage in the conversation from around the world. Click here to view a recording of the panel discussion.
PCi seeks to contribute to developing the concept of conflict sensitivity; advocate for incorporating conflict sensitivity into policy and processes; and support the conflict sensitivity of international assistance activities in contexts where they are delivered. Speakers included Rachel Goldwyn, Senior Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding Adviser at World Food Programme; Elias Sadkni, Director at House of Peace Foundation; Albert Souza Mulli, Conflict and Stabilisation Adviser for the British Embassy to Libya; Heloise Heyer, Conflict Sensitivity Lead at PeaceNexus; and Pilar Domingo, Senior Research Fellow at Overseas Development Institute. @CSC_hub on Twitter