Peacebuilding interventions focus on securing peace. Peace is not only the absence of personal and direct violence, but also the presence of justice, social cohesion and mutual acceptance. These aspects require specific attention and will not come about automatically. Sustainable peace comes from within and cannot be forced from outside since it is very much related to issues such as tolerance, mutual trust and understanding, positive relations and hope.
By applying a conflict transformation approach, ZOA aims to transform attitudes, behaviour and (local) causes of conflict, instead of only mitigating or resolving conflicts. We consider it important to address the key drivers of conflict, since changing the conflict dynamic is necessary for a community to be resilient and to disengage from wider conflicts.
In our (early) recovery programmes, our ambition goes beyond the principle of ‘do no harm’, since we truly want to contribute to more peaceful and just societies. Our relief programmes, however, will limit ambition to the ‘do no harm’-approach. Their limited time frame (maximum of three years) and specific character does not always permit aiming at wider peacebuilding goals. Yet, the ‘do no harm’-approach is very important during relief interventions, as the huge perceived needs and capital intensive actions may easily harm local social structures and fuel conflicts.