Conflict-Sensitive Programming

Incorporating Conflict Sensitivity

Workshop participants often raise the question about the best timing for a "Do No Harm" analysis. Should it be done in the middle of the project duration in order to redesign activities that have proved harmful? Or should the issue of conflict sensitivity be included in the questions for project evaluations? Or shouldn't the context analysis rather be done before the start of a new project? From our perspective, the use of "Do No Harm" is a continuous task that should be kept in mind throughout the duration of the project! If opportunities exist, however, we would like to help organizations to include conflict sensitivity right from the inception of a new project.

"Do No Harm" as an Integral Component of Project Planning

Project Planning Workshops

The planning of a new project requires time and resources. A good project responds to the actual needs of local people and tries to create ownership among them. There are established approaches how to assure that a variety of basic criteria are met, and many organizations have elaborate procedures how to do good planning. If only time allows, and if resources are available, and if the donors are receptive. Well, conflict sensitivity is another dimension to be taken care of, as are gender balance, environmental impact and so much more. Many a times, processes become rather complicated, and important issues get reduced to a cell in a checklist.

We would like to help you make conflict sensitivity an integral part of your project planning. Our expertise in the application of the Logical Framework Approach, for example, allows us to fully incorporate the "Do No Harm" aspects into a planning workshop, so that they don't remain an add-on.

Participatory Approaches

When projects are implemented at grassroots level, community participation becomes even more important. Development should not only be understood as a process requiring skills and funds from outside but rather as a process utilizing available resources and empowering local actors. So, conflict sensitivity needs to be incorporated into the methods developed among practitioners of participatory planning approaches.

Some of our "Do No Harm" trainers are highly experienced facilitators of such participatory processes, having worked with the concept of "Participatory Integrated Community Development" for more than a decade. We would like to make these specific capacities available to interested organizations.

Strategic Planning

In addition to the planning of individual relief or development projects, organizations do also reflect from time to time about their general orientation. Where should priorities be set according to the specific capacities of staff, to the most serious needs observed, to own experience and to established partnership structures? And what do these decisions mean in terms of conflict sensitivity? Where are strenghts and weaknesses in regard of the achievement of an organization's vision, what opportunities can be used, what challenges may be faced?

We have participated with our "Do No Harm" knowledge and skills in various strategic planning processes, involving local institutions as well as country programmes of international agencies or regional network programmes. It is always a highly rewarding task to play a role in discussions about the long-term orientation of organizations, and we would like to make conflict sensitivity a part of that.