Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding

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Everyday Peace Indicators: Including Hard to Access Populations into International Peacebuilding Efforts


On May 7, 2015, the Network for Peacebuilding Evaluation and the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium had the pleasure of hosting a Thursday Talk with Dr. Pamina Firchow of George Mason University who discussed the Everyday Peace Indicators and how to include hard to access populations into international peacebuilding efforts.  

The Everyday Peace Indicators project aims to create alternative, bottom-up indicators of peace. It seeks to address the limitations of existing approaches to measuring peace and reconciliation, as well as limitations in evaluation practices. The project is being piloted in four sub-Saharan countries (South Sudan, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Uganda) using participatory action research methods and longitudinal, multi- mode mobile phone surveys to reach hard to access populations.


PowerPoint: Pamina's PowerPoint is available here.

Summary: Check back soon for the summary.

About the Speaker: 

Pamina Firchow is an Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include political violence, transitional justice (especially victim reparations), reconciliation and peacebuilding. In particular, she is interested in the study of the ‘local turn’ in peacebuilding and the international accompaniment of communities affected by mass violence. Her most recent publications focus on reparations in Colombia, the nexus between reparations and peacebuilding, as well as publications on using technology in peace research, creating inclusive surveys and creating bottom-up indicators of peace based on the Everyday Peace Indicators project. 

Question posted on behalf of Nathaniel Lewis-George - Universalia & McGill University: 

Given the disproportionate burden of violence on women, were gender issues taken into account during your focus group meetings (i.e power dynamics in communities, differeing risks, exposure, etc) & were there any trends in responses and indicators based on gender

Thanks so much for your question, Nathaniel. Indeed, we were very keen to think about community dynamics between groups including those between men and women. For the initial focus groups, we split up men and women and youth - this meant that they had their own long lists of indicators. However, we also analyzed chosen indicators in the short lists to determine whether there might be any trends in terms of selection by a particular group (women, men or youth), however we found no clear trend except that the majority of indicators that were chosen came from the adult groups. There were some outliers such as a high prevalence of final indicators chosen from the youth group in Nimule, South Sudan and a significantly higher prevalence of indicators chosen by women in Atiak, Uganda. When disaggregating for men, however, they did not have significantly more indicators chosen than any other group in any of the pilots.


Question posted on behalf of John Okanga, CHF International:

Thanks to all off you there who work tirelessly to get this knowledge to practitioners across the globe. Kindly pass my appreciation to Dr. Pamina. I wanted to raise a concern on the sustainability and/or reliability of some of the indicators she presented, which I do agree are very useful measures of peace. My concern is, many governments and authorities, in an effort to demonstrate are doing something, may move to invest in short term healthcare services, deploy security and show some indications of caring for the plight of women and their rights, then suddenly, this just fades off, especially in post-election periods. How then would we rely on these as indicators. Would Dr. Pamina recommend some time frame that accompanies these indicators for them to be reliable and valid? I am based in Kenya, working in informal settlements of Nairobi City County and these are some of the issues I have with authorities, not just here but have also observed in other neighboring countries.


Thank you, John, for your very insightful question. This is definitely a concern and something we've discussed since the conceptual beginnings of the project. In the implementation of the EPIs, this has also been an issue in South Sudan where high levels of violence broke out after the indicator collection in some of the communities. This left us wondering if the indicators that were collected before the violence reflected the reality of the community afterwards. I think this would be similar to an increase or drop off of interventions on the part of governments and civil society actors. When we initially conceptualized the indicators, we planned to return to communities every so often to repeat the first phase of the indicator collection process. However, for the purposes of this pilot, we decided to forego this step in order to be able to adequately collect longitudinal survey data. However, in the longterm, these indicators would need to be reconfirmed every so often in order for them to adequately represent people's perceptions of peace and change.

Posted on behalf of a webinar participant:

Isn't it possible for governments to create temporary situations of peace, like ensuring the presence of security and even providing social services like healthcare, even though they may be unsustainable and only serve to present an alternative image to the outside world when there are peace concerns?