Developing peacebuilding skills among civil society organisations in Zimbabwe
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Local peacebuilding practices require a systematic and reflective analysis in order for them to bring an impact. Successful peacebuilding pivots on the development of a set of skills to attend to the challenges presented by the conflict. The study was inspired by an observation that the emergence of CSOs working on peacebuilding in Zimbabwe was happening in a context where there was no proper training and organisational capacity development. Using an action-research design, and a case study of two CSOs operating in Bindura and Mazowe Districts in Mashonaland Central Province in Zimbabwe, the study involved a sample group of fifty-seven participants, and included a core Action Research Team (ART) of twelve participants to initiate the process of capacity development related to peacebuilding in Zimbabwe. Interviews, Focus Group Discussions, Document studies were used in a triangulation approach to enhance validity and reliability of the process. The preliminary assessment revealed that the peacebuilding environment in the two districts is highly polarised. There is a combination of both direct and indirect violence in the area. The state as well as traditional institutions are active perpetrators of both direct and indirect violence in the two district. The use of Local Peace Committees and the workshop method has not reaped the desired outcomes owing to the polarization. After a preliminary assessment of the peacebuilding environment in the area as well as a critique of the peacebuilding models being used by the two organisations, we then set out on a process of identifying strengths and weaknesses in both the programming as well as the delivery of the projects in the communities. A series of focus group discussions and organisational document analysis of the two organisations, we eventually agreed on the development of a training module for the Action Research Team. Five thematic issues were identified as forming the basis of the intervention programme. The five thematic issues were on the conceptual issues of conflict, violence and peace in a local context, conflict analysis skills, conflict sensitive programming, culture, conflict and change and lastly basic counselling skills for peacebuilders. A three-day training workshop was then held in order to develop capacity relating to the thematic issues. The short term evaluation of the intervention showed that the training was successful as the participants had already started implementing some of the new knowledge and skills.