Giving voice to (rural) populations: a method of participatory research for conflict transformation
The question this paper seeks to answer is how to create knowledge which serves the purpose of conflict transformation and peace consolidation? In the context of protracted and asymmetric conflicts, narratives of those people affected by the conflict are crucial information for conflict transformation. This paper draws on the implementation of participatory research as a method for conflict transformation in three zones, the DRC, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.
Based on the experience carried out in these areas, we would like to share some observations and preliminary conclusions of our work, answering the following questions:
- How to access people's knowledge through research?
- How to build knowledge based on people's experience?
- How can this knowledge act towards conflict transformation?
Two case-studies are related to this approach :
- "Participatory research in Uzbekistan on forced child labor in the cotton sector:from participation to conflict transformation »
- « Participatory field research in Zimbabwe as a building block for conflict transformation »
Transforming Resource conflicts
Master in International Development Studies
Content Development Workshop in Cameroon
From 19 to 25 November Modop and Irénées will bring together a group of experts in the field of conflict transformation to reflect together on the content of an M.A. program at the Institute for Governance in Central Africa (IGAC). The objective of the workshop is to come up with the framework for IGAC's future training in Yaoundé Cameroon. Beyond this, the expected outcome is an increased collaboration between the participating organisations in the form of a network of trainers that is among others involved in moderating Modop's online courses. A first step has been to create a series of tools to analyze conflict, based on the field experience of the different partner organisations. A first draft can be found here.
Beyond the resource curse
The workshop will explore the new international and national power relations that result from a recent increase of demand by China and India for raw materials. It will analyse the impact of the arrival of new players on international agreements and on state-society relations in raw material exporting countries. It asks what the impact is of rising raw material demand and international monitoring on neo-patrimonial networks and governance in the producing countries and what successful instruments have been to curb the "resource curse". How to devise ways and means in which increasing income from raw material exports can be channelled in such a way that not only a small elite in the producing countries can benefit from it, but the large majority of their people?
Field research in rural Zimbabwe
Summer 2011 Modus Operandi carried out interviews in different rural areas in Zimbabwe. The objective of the wider research project is to understand why Zanu-PF stays in power despite an economy in crisis, increasingly authoritarian tendencies and the existence of growing opposition in politics and civil society. It is a means to test the hypothesis that political rule cannot be based on force or the treat of force alone. To make the population adhere to a party's exercise of power, its discourse must resonate with people's experience and their beliefs. Preliminary interviews have been carried out in September 2010 in the capital, Harare where the support fro Zanu-pf has been dwindling for the past ten years. To get a more complete image of the way in which Zanu-PF's legitimisation strategies resonate with people in Zimbabwe, this field mission seeks to take into account regional differences, focusing on rural areas. In addition it has chosen to focus on youth support for Zanu-pf because ZANU-PF's hold onto power depends on its capacity to make youth adhere to its message and to appeal to its priorities.
Tools for Conflict Transformation
This project is born out of a willingness to learn from the wonderful work of many organisations working on conflict transformation. It has led to the description of 10 tools that are useful for facilitators in a participatory process. Relationships are at the centre of most approaches. The tools either help to build on existing relationships, allow to create new links or change the power relationship between actors. The organisations involved in this project have been working with these tools for years in a flexible setting, often evoking them in a workshop setting with conflict actors. Writing their experience down, visualising the different steps and the assumptions underlying their work is a way to make the knowledge explicit of the organisations involved in this project. It is also a condition for sharing what they have learned. The tools however should not be seen as static. They serve as inspiration for those who want to work on peace-building in the conflict with which they are involved. They will be available in October 2011.
Online courses on Conflict Transformation 2011
A new cycle of
online courses on conflict transformation will start the 7th of March 2011. The courses are intended for professionals who work or envisage to work in areas
conflict or in post-conflict settings. During the course the participants are familiarised with contemporary theories of conflict and conflict resolution, acquainted with a range of relevant information on conflict on the Internet and introduced to practical issues and debates within the field. They are brought together in a 'learning community' with people with a professional interest in conflict.
Read more about the course Transforming Civil Conflicts Read here how to pay and register for the course
Read more about the course Post-conflict politics: State and Society
Modop in Yaoundé
Modop is partner of the international meeting process for debate and proposals on governance in Africa initiated by the Institute for Research and debate on Governance (IRG) in Paris. The meeting that took place in Yaounde from the 22nd to the 24th of November is the Central African stop in this Africa-wide meeting process. The first took place in Bamako (Mali, 2007), the second in Polokwane (South Africa, 2008),the third in Arusha (Tanzania, 2009). Read more
Students research narratives of asylum seekers
- for the students, to increase professional experience
- for the volunteers of the organisation, to be in contact with academic knowledge of conflict analysis and geopolitics
- the dissemination of information about the issue of asylum
Art as a tool for conflict transformation
Tal Ben Zvi, Head of the School of Arts in Tel Aviv and Taiseer Khatib involved with the Freedom Theatre in Jenin explore the question of art as a tool for cultural dialogue and conflict transformation together with a group of students in international cooperation at the University of Stendhal as well as the curator for the Centre for Contemporary art in Grenoble, Inge Linder Gaillard. This theme builds on Modus Operandi's work on artistic expression as a tool for social transformation. It has been made possible by the Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
To understand a conflict in all its dimensions, we have to look at the passions, the stories and emotions behind it. What better way to analyse these than through the use of art? Art shows a level of complexity that is rarely seen in more classical analytical work. In Modop's course on conflict analysis it works with literature; film (Avi Mograbi, For but one of my eyes) and music as a tool to exert political pressure for the release of Mandela and ending apartheid more generally. The potential of art lies in its capacity to create another social reality, to give voice to the voiceless and to to dream a new future to speak with the words of the Zimbabwean poet Chenjerai Hove.
Workshop on Identity as part of dialogue process
Modus Operandi is the European prime mover in the organisation of a workshop on “Ethnic, State and Humankind identities”. The workshop will take place 10 and 11 July in Kunming and will be co-organised with our Chinese partners at the University of Yunnan. The workshop is part of a larger dialogue process aimed at strengthening the exchange between European and Chinese civil society societies. Click here to read the topics that Modus Operandi will bring to the debate. The plenary session will take place 13 and 14 July in Hong Kong.
European Conference Tour
The international speaking tour on "La colonisation comme obstacle à la paix : Quel avenir pour la solution à deux États ?" that passes through London, Amsterdam and Paris, will in Grenoble on 17 March 2010. Representatives from the Israeli and Palestinian NGOs B'tselem and the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem will be present. As part of this tour Modus Operandi will be facilitating a masterclass for students in conflict analysis, and for others who wish to attend there will be a public event in the evening. The speaking tour is an initiative of several European branches of the Faculty for Israeli and Palestinian Peace (FFIPP).
Online courses 2010
Read more about the course Transforming Civil Conflicts
Read more about the course Post-conflict politics: State and Society
Amnesty International at Ecole de Commerce
For more information read Le Monde article.
Shlomo Sand Lecture- 15 January 2010
Co-organised with the Collectif Isérois pour la Palestine and FFIPP (Faculty for Israeli and Palestinian Peace).
Exploratory Workshop, Paris December 2009
Read concept paper