Capacity building of partners
One of LPI’s main modes of operation is through engagement with, and support of, civil society groups. LPI’s capacity-building work is placed within a conflict transformation framework with the aim of building an in-house expertise within the partners’ institutional set-up and programming.
At the beginning of the engagement with partners, the selected partners will go through a process of organisational analysis and strategic positioning that will clarify their engagement in conflict transformation, priorities, resources for conflict transformation, as well as strengths and weaknesses.
This is done through a series of workshops and conversations that, besides clarifying the issues mentioned above, will familiarise the partners’ staff with LPI and its work, as well as conflict transformation theory and practice. The workshops will also serve to accompany the partners in a strategic reflection on their vision, mission, field of intervention, services, target groups, areas of engagement and principles.
The objectives of the exercise will be on the one hand to offer training to the partner on the theory and practice of conflict transformation, and on the other to enable them to clarify grey zones or incoherencies in some of the strategic decisions they might have made in the past or the way they position themselves today. These workshops will result in LPI and its partners arriving at a common vision for the work to be done and agreeing on the identity of the organisation, which will serve as a basis for defining the modalities of their collaboration for the coming years. LPI also supports the institutional and organisational development of its partners.
Following the process above and depending on the current expertise available, specific and tailor-made plans will be developed to determine the step-by-step accompaniment of partners necessary to enhance the partners’ conflict transformation capacity. With the capacity-building plan as a basis, each partner will be accompanied by LPI staff during each step of the plan. To ensure a close accompaniment of partners, LPI strives, whenever possible, to have a presence in the programme countries.
Accompaniment of partners in conflict analyses and research is at the core of LPI’s work. LPI’s conflict transformation approach is based on research both as a precondition for understanding the context of engagement, as well as a methodology for conflict transformation. LPI will support its partners in carrying out conflict/context analysis, monitoring and evaluation and thematic analysis. Capacity-building will involve a close accompaniment of partners’ technical teams in action-research methodology and systemic analysis and formulation, including writing and presentation skills. Particular emphasis will be given to PAR (see next section).
Capacity-building will also be carried out through formal training and workshops. Training of selected staff within the partner organisations will occur throughout the duration of the programme. Formal training will focus, inter alia, on conflict analysis, methods and tools in social science research, scenario planning, monitoring, evaluation, conflict transformation intervention skills, and processes of learning and change in conflict, as well as on PAR, PME&L and gender sensitisation.
LPI’s approach to capacity-building will be one of training through action, which means that emphasis will be put on offering the possibility to partners to apply their knowledge directly to concrete activities in the field. It will be necessary therefore to fine-tune partners’ actions to their immediate capacities and to their acquiring of new skills. LPI’s role will be to help the partner determine what is feasible in the short-term and what will be feasible at a later stage. This will require a refined capacity-building process. Plans will not only be tailor-made to the particular needs of each partner, but will also be flexible to allow for readjustments according to learning capacities.
LPI’s capacity building work will, most often, involve financial support for partners’ projects on the ground. The partners will be able to present proposals for conflict transformation interventions, within the operational framework of a previously agreed Memorandum of Understanding. Though the objective will be to ultimately disengage after a capacity-building phase and to ensure that partners are able to mobilise funds autonomously in the long run, given the difficulty for (unknown or weaker) local actors to mobilise these funds in the areas of engagement, it will be necessary for LPI to provide, in the first years, sufficient means to its partners to apply what they have learned in concrete initiatives.