Local Peace Committees (LPCs) have become an important strategy of NGOs to promote transitional justice in conflict-affected contexts. In practice, working with LPCs implies important strategic choices: do they emphasise justice or peace? Do they cooperate with the local government or do they stay independent? To what extent do they use customary law, which might have local legitimacy but also marginalize certain groups. Are the LPCs temporary structures or do they have a permanent role? ZOA in collaboration with Mi Parec and the Radboud University developed a toolbox to facilitate this critical reflection based on field research in Congo and Burundi.
ZOA supports LPCs in many countries including Congo, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan and Ethiopia. LPCs play an important role in local conflict resolution, early warning in case of conflicts, and prevention through awareness raising and advocacy. However the contexts in which these LPCs operate are very diverse. How do LPCs make strategic decisions on their role in these contexts? Are we as NGOs aware of the often implicit assumptions we have about the positive role of LPCs? These questions encouraged us to launch a research on these topics.
Research on Local Peace Committees in Congo and Burundi
ZOA in cooperation with Radboud University and the Burundian peacebuilding organization Mi Parec started a research project called “ Enhancing Local Peace Committees – Facilitating stakeholder debate on the strategic choices involved in transitional justice in Burundi and DR Congo”. Through literature research and interviews with representatives from local and international NGOs in Burundi and Uvira Territory (eastern DR Congo) the project explored the assumptions and preferences guiding interventions to support LPCs.
Development of Toolbox including Videos and Pictures
On the basis of this research and in close collaboration with practitioner organizations from the region a toolkit was developed to visualise the strategic choices involved in designing interventions around LPCs. The toolkit is based on 10 strategic choices related to the vision on conflict and peace, the methodology of the LPC and their relations with other stakeholders. For each choice a short video, picture and discussion questions are available in English and French.
One of the videos used in the toolbox, all videos are available on Vimeo. The links to the videos can be found in the toolkit (below).
The toolbox can be used and copied freely, as long as credit is given to the authors. We would appreciate feedback from organisations that have used the toolbox. Please send your feedback and ideas to Corita Corbijn (email@example.com), sector specialist Peace Building. In the downloads below you can find the research reports, the toolkits and an example of the pictures. The pictures are included in the toolbox in a low resolution. Please send an e-mail to Corita Corbijn to recieve all pictures in high resolution.
Joint research programme
The applied-research project ‘Enhancing Local Peace Committees’ was financed by the Security & Rule of Law in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings research programme, under the Applied Research Fund: Evidence-based policy advice and tools; and co-financed by ZOA, MIPAREC, and the Faculty of Management Sciences of the Radboud University Nijmegen.
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