LPI believes that activities to build and support peace can only be effective if they build on a systematic study of a given conflict and context, with the aim of reaching a better understanding of the causes of conflict and the societal changes brought about by them.
Context analysis is conducted on two levels: firstly, as part of the Institute’s planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning process and secondly as a central activity in implementation of programmes carried out together with LPI’s partners. On both levels, we apply a gender sensitive approach.
LPI’s approach emphasises the importance of working in partnership with different actors who in turn are best equipped to work with a range of actors on varying levels. In accordance with LPI’s scope and mandate, the Institute places special emphasis on supporting what John Paul Lederach (Professor of International Peacebuilding) refers to as the ‘middle-range’ and ‘grassroots’ levels, including faith-based actors where possible and relevant. However, in order to safeguard a coherent multi-track approach, LPI’s context analysis specifically looks at how the Institute’s activities can complement and support those of other actors with peacebuilding activities so that the activities integrate into a comprehensive peacebuilding framework.
Peace can only arise and be sustainable through the active involvement of the communities in the conflict areas. Indeed, people in societies affected by conflict often have local customs and traditional methods to build peace, combined with the will to do so. LPI seeks to learn from this local knowledge and, where possible, build on it. LPI endeavours to be sensitive to cultural differences, customs and faiths, as long as these do not undermine respect for human rights and gender equality.
The Institute’s conflict transformation methodology ensures that the cultural dimension, focusing on patterns, norms and values, as well as how violent conflict can cause deep-seated cultural change within a society, is incorporated in the context analysis. The results of the research are presented and shared locally, with the aim of encouraging action for positive change.
Conflict transformation and peacebuilding are dependent upon effective cooperation with organisations within conflict-affected societies to ensure that activities are culturally and contextually sensitive and to ensure sustainability.
LPI works in partnerships with local civil society organisations to ensure local ownership in every step of the project management cycle. By learning from, and building the capacity of, these partners, LPI hopes to empower them as agents for change in their own contexts. To ensure both local ownership and sustainability, LPI only enters into a conflict area/country with clear invitation from a local civil society actor.
Partnership and peace are seen as processes, and so LPI believes in engaging in a region for a longer period of time, setting long-term goals together with partner organisations, but also planning for withdrawal when the time is right.
Armed conflict affects men and women in gender-specific ways and a gender-sensitive approach to conflict transformation and peacebuilding needs to take into account the different needs, situations and conditions of men and women in conflict areas. We apply a gender sensitive approach to the Institute’s research with partners in order to develop a gender-based understanding and analysis.
LPI’s capacity building activities also include a gender-sensitive approach, both building on the needs of, and targeting, men and women. Furthermore, the Institute provides specialist support and advice on gender issues to partner organisations. LPI is currently reviewing and complementing its previous gender work by expanding the knowledge and providing specific support to the work of the Institute’s field offices and partners.
LPI believes that accountability, transparency and trust towards the Institute’s partners in the field and its donors are instrumental for the Institute’s work. LPI does not transform conflicts by itself. Rather, it is accountable towards its partners to provide them with tools and knowledge to be able to analyse the conflicts in their area and to play an active role in their transformation.
To promote transparency and build trust with our partners, LPI uses a list of criteria for partner selection, sign specific Memoranda of Understanding with each partner and ensure ongoing discussion at all steps in the programme cycle to create a shared vision and ownership throughout the process. In regard to donors, besides meeting the formal reporting requirements, LPI adheres to professional standards in its management of administration and finances, and utilises both administrative and financial manuals.
Partiality and discrimination are two common problems in situations of high political tension, both during and post-conflict. Although LPI’s objective is to help partners transform the conflict situations in which they live, the Institute does not take sides when pursuing this objective.
Conflict transformation and peacebuilding activities require the engagement of all relevant parties. Clear partner criteria, dialogue with different groups, donor transparency, and open communication are important tools to ensure not only that LPI conducts its work in a non-partisan way, but also that the Institute is perceived as impartial.
8. Conflict sensitivity
LPI reflects upon and is sensitive to how its identity, principles, and practices influence the communities, conflicts, partner organisations and contexts where it works and vice versa.