Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding

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Search for Common Ground's Rapid Response to Violent Conflict

Author, Copyright Holder: 
Vanessa Corlazzoli, Search for Common Ground


Violent conflict is not static. While changing political, social, economic and cultural circumstances impact its dynamics in the long run, more immediate events - a sudden change in local leadership, a series of protests, an accident, or even the passing of the seasons - impress a new direction on the evolution of conflict on a regular basis. For us, understanding how to respond to these short-term challenges is as vital as strategizing around the overarching sociopolitical themes.

Over the past three years, we here at the Instituional Learning Team at Search for Common Ground developed a method to collect information, come up with solutions, and involve our local partners in our response to rapidly changing conflict dynamics over a short period of time. This new process is called a Conflict Scan.

Conflict Scans are designed to build upon deeper analysis of the broad ongoing trends, formulated through a thorough Conflict Assessment. While we work on Conflict Assessments before starting our programs in a specific area, Conflict Scans help us stay on track and adapt our strategy; they ensure that we and our partners continue to do no harm and reduce tensions while we respond to the root causes of conflict.

We first developed this process working in the rural areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where we found a need to better track rapidly shifting conflict dynamics in order to provide targeted regional programming. In Burundi, the scans are helping us understand how conflict evolves in the period leading up to and following national elections, and how local perceptions and disputes are shaped at the community level. In Uganda, we use monthly scans to inform short-term approaches to local threats to peace. The methodology has also been tested and adapted to even more contexts, including the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Lebanon and Yemen.

To learn more about Conflict Scans, please take a look at our Guidance Note.

And visit SFCG's Institutional Learning Team here! And read more about what Search for Common Ground is doing on the Common Ground Blog

Vanessa Corlazzoli is the Director of Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation at Search for Common Ground. Boldly leading the Institutional Learning Team to examine and learn from SFCG's diverse programming.