Peacebuilding Manual/Introducing the Peacebuilding Manual

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Introducing the Peacebuilding Manual

This Peacebuilding Manual has been prepared as part of a peacebuilding project funded by the Tawanmandi programme and implemented by OHW (Organisation of Human Welfare), Afghanistan. The project was implemented, from January 2013 to end-December 2014 in 80 communities of 8 districts in the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Bamyan and Parwan in Afghanistan.

This Peacebuilding Manual is based on OHW's sector-specific research work, experience in peacebuilding projects/activities/advocacy initiatives carried out by it, in the past years, in the South, central highlands and North of Afghanistan. The Manual also includes content from training workshops conducted by OHW on developing peacebuilding skills amongst rural communities, project learning and best practices as well as experiences and learning of other organisations working for peacebuilding in Afghanistan.

As growing shares of aid resources, time and energy are being devoted to conflict prevention and peacebuilding projects, programmes, and policy strategies, more evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of these endeavours is essential. There is an increased interest among donors and practitioners, as well as people affected by violent conflict, to learn more about what works, what does not work, and why and how we could improve. This manual is an output of our quest to improve our understanding of what contributes positively to peace is motivated by the desire to develop more coherent, co‐ordinated and effective interventions at all levels.

Most contemporary armed conflicts take place within states, the majority of the victims being civilians. Not only is the human cost of armed conflict devastating; its impacts on political, social and economic development are profound. The benefits of development assistance are usually reversed by violent conflict, which is not only an accompaniment of poverty but one of its main causes. There is also an emerging understanding that development assistance and other donor policies (when not well designed, implemented and co‐ordinated) can increase tensions or restrain capacities for peace.

The primary goal of this Peacebuilding Manual is to provide direction to those undertaking conflict prevention and peacebuilding projects, programmes, and policies, especially in rural communities across Afghanistan and around the world. It aims to assist practitioners working for conflict prevention and peacebuilding to better understand related concepts, causes, challenges, and impacts; to better acquire skills and knowledge in building peace, and to better address and achieve, in interventions/activities, peacebuilding processes and/or peaceful resolution of conflicts.

OHW has availed of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle to bring together this Peace Manual that is based on OHW’s experiences, knowledge and testing. This learning cycle is a model for understanding the process of how experience evolves to learning. It suggests that there are four stages that follow on from each other: Concrete Experience followed by Reflection on that experience, followed by Abstract Conceptualisation where general rules are set to describe the experience, or the application of known theories, and then to Active Experimentation that help validate and/or modify the experience next time. This may happen in a flash, or over days, weeks or months. The facilitator or trainer has to ‘follow’ participants around the cycle, asking questions to encourage reflection, conceptualisation and ways of testing the ideas.

We recommend that the actors facilitating peacebuilding processes first acquire a basic understanding of the concepts, causes, impacts, processes and challenges of peace, conflicts, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, especially at the community level, before applying the steps to building peace as elaborated in this Peacebuilding Manual.