What We Do

Community Based Conflict Resolution: Solution to preventing conflict and sustaining peace

The impact of conflict in any society can be overwhelming to the members and economy as well as political governance. The immediate effects range from psychological trauma, fear, uncertainty, and shattered social relationships. Bringing the society members together for conflict resolution is vital for building peace and harmony.

With the influx of refugees into Tanzania following the 2015 political crisis in Burundi, a UN joint project involving UNDP, UNHCR and IOM in Burundi and Tanzania was established to promote concrete cross-border, human rights-based and multi-agency approaches to peacebuilding in line with the UN Great Lake Regional Strategic Framework through the project – “Preventing Conflict and Building Peace through Addressing the Drivers of Conflict and Instability with Forced Displacement between Burundi and Tanzania.” The project had three objectives: strengthen cross-border protection monitoring, increase resilience and improve conflict and grievances mechanisms. 

In February and March 2019 prior to the conclusion of the project, UNDP Tanzania held two review workshops with beneficiaries – host communities and refugees - from the target districts of Kakonko and Kibondo as well as key stakeholders including Government partners, UNHCR and UNDP Burundi to reflect on the work undertaken to increase the resilience and improve conflict and grievance mechanisms through the application of the Community Based Conflict Resolution (CBCR) approach, which is based on the Community Dialogue for Sustainable Peace (CDSP) Approach.

Through CBCR process, communities are guided to share experiences of existing tensions that may lead to conflicts and how they may affect or have affected them. This process helps in the development of a shared social narrative about the causes and nature of potential conflict. During the process community members hear views from each other and together define the best strategies for preventing potential conflict or addressing identified key issue.

Speaking during the workshop and on behalf of the Regional Administrative Secretary, Samuel Tenga said, “Peace is very important in our communities, and it is everybody’s responsibility to ensure peace prevails.” He further commented, “The government of Tanzania has been working in close collaboration with UNDP, other UN agencies, partners, host communities and refugees on enhancing capacities of community-based conflict resolution”.

Presenting on the overview of the project, Nirina Kiplagat, UNDP Community Dialogue Specialist reiterated the importance of dialogue and sustaining peace. The National Project Officer, Zakiya Aloyce gave a summary of activities, which included training of 14 (7 women and 7 men) local facilitators to undertake training of trainers; 27 (22 men and 5 women) host community leaders; 30 host community women;  56  Nduta refugee leaders, youth and women (32 men and 25 women); 51 Mtendeli refugee leaders, youth and women (32 men and 19 women). Among the trainees the level of understanding and knowledge of community level conflict resolution mechanisms improved by more than 50%. Following the trainings both Kibondo and Kakonko Districts reviewed their conflict resolution mechanism to include CDSP elements.  

The participants had an opportunity to share their experiences, whereby a number of them said their knowledge on the importance of community dialogue for sustainable peace has been broadened and some changes have started to be realized. In Kibondo District 45 sub-villages CBCR committees, 5 Village CBCR Committees and 3 Ward CBCR committees have been formed. These CBCR committees are actively functioning and communities have expressed satisfaction in using CBCR approach as it has been helping them to address their conflicts peacefully. Meanwhile in Kakonko District 32 sub-village CBCR committees and 5 village Committees have been formed in Kasanda and Kiziguzigu wards for assisting communities in resolving conflicts. Results include resolution of intra-communal land conflicts as well as inter-personal conflicts; in Mtendeli Refugee Camp the number of conflicts which were being reported to the Refugee Camp Chairman on a weekly basis reduced from 7 to 3; meetings between host community leaders and refugee leaders have been successfully conducted with   constructive dialogue on how they should end up their differences; and it has helped beneficiaries save money and time, by having an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, they did not need to always use the formal justice mechanisms. Furthermore, this community focused approach resulted in mutually agreed outcomes, hence increased satisfaction with the outcome by all involved parties.

From the presentation by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) it was noted that the project has had a replication effect as DRC adopted the CDSP model following participation in one of the trainings. Following the training, DRC began to apply this model, following the steps outlined in the approach. In terms of geographic scope, they went to the same villages as UNDP to build upon the work done under the Cross-border project and included 5 more villages where they introduced the approach.

The complimentary experience from the Burundi side was presented by Cyriaque Ndasiagye, UNDP National Project Coordinator. Ndasiagye highlighted the operationalization and capacity building of paralegals at community level who are placed in targeted communities to help in mediation. “I am delighted to tell you that the beneficiaries have testified that the project has contributed towards strengthening social cohesion as well as peace through peaceful conflict resolution” said Ndasiagye.

The workshop concluded with several recommendations aired by the participants to the government, UN agencies, NGOs and CBOs. Here are some of the recommendations:

  • Respective councillors should be fully involved in the Community Based Conflict Resolution (CBCR) and Community Dialogues for Sustainable Peace (CDSP) model
  • Capacity building on CBCR and CDSP model is still needed in Kigoma, therefore more resources need to be mobilized to continue to support these efforts, particularly since the cross-border project is ending.
  • Increase support to refugees in provision of alternative sources of energy as competition over resource use and lack of energy have been some of the main sources of conflicts between refugees and host community.
  • More dialogue meetings between host communities and refugees need be conducted on a frequent basis
  • There is a need to form a joint conflict resolution committee between refugees and host communities.

 

About the project: Preventing Conflict and Building Peace through Addressing Drivers of Conflict and Instability Associated with Forced Displacement between Burundi and Tanzania

The project was designed in 2016 and started on 15 December 2017. With a duration of 15 months, the aim of the pilot project was to promote concrete cross-border, human rights-based and multi-agency approaches to peacebuilding in line with Pillar 3 (Mobility) and Pillar 6 (Justice and Conflict Prevention) of the UN Great Lake Regional Strategic Framework. Supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, UNDP, IOM and UNHCR worked across the Tanzania-Burundi border utilising an innovative cross-pillar peacebuilding approach to address forced displacement.

 

About Community Based Conflict Resolution (CBCR)

Community-Based Conflict Resolution (CBCR) is a community determined dialogue aimed at supporting the community to analyse and understand the root causes of tensions, acknowledge the transgressions perpetrated by community members against each other; as well as facilitate healing and undertake negotiations to secure formal commitments for durable and peaceful solutions to their conflicts.

Through this process, communities surrounding the refugee camps and refugees are guided to share experiences of the existing tensions that may lead to conflicts and or open conflict and how they may affect or have affected them. This helps in the development of a shared social narrative about the causes and nature of potential sources of conflicts that may have erupted. It also addresses grievances and potential sources of conflict and mitigation measures. The process also helps refugees and community members to hear views from each other and together define the best strategies for preventing potential conflict or addressing identified key issues.