This report reflects learning from a multi-country research project, Integrating Conflict Prevention into Humanitarian Resilience Programmes, implemented by Christian Aid Ireland in Burundi, the DRC, South Sudan and Myanmar from 2017-2018.
This research was designed to assess the integration of conflict sensitivity and prevention in Christian Aid Ireland’s humanitarian resilience programmes, according to the Integrated Conflict Prevention and Resilience (ICPR) approach. This integration was identified as a need from Christian Aid’s programmes on building resilience in conflict settings, where conflict is both a major element of the context and presents risks of direct violence to communities. Addressing violence as a risk is different to addressing natural hazards, and the ICPR approach was developed to better prepare Christian Aid country teams and partners for working in and on violent conflict contexts.
The integrated approach starts with conflict analysis. Conflict analysis covers the local level (the immediate setting of targeted communities) and ‘macro’ (national/provincial) conflict dynamics, to help distinguish which conflict issues are highly local and which link to higher-level dynamics. It is important to distinguish these, both for assessing how sensitive some conflict issues may be, and for understanding what may be realistic for communities to tackle. The conflict analyses support the design of the Participatory Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (PVCA), a participatory process in which communities identify risks, potentially including risks of violent conflict, that may generate humanitarian needs. Crucially, the PVCA process also helps communities to identify their own capacities and create a plan to address risks or advocate for assistance to do so.
The resilience programmes involved in the research were implemented by Christian Aid and partners, with funding from Irish Aid, in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Myanmar and South Sudan in 2017 to 2018, with a view to continuing the programme from 2019 to 2021 should funding be secured. Fieldwork for this research indicates that conflict analysis can help to enhance the conflict sensitivity of resilience programmes; that is it contributes to an understanding of how the conflict context and the resilience programmes interact, and to designing the programme to maximise the positive potential of that interaction while minimizing the negative (‘doing no harm’).
However, further steps are needed to achieve conflict prevention, through identifying specific conflict risks and designing proactive measures that directly address them.