Conflict-Sensitive Programming

Are there new insights on the practical utilization of conflict-sensitive approaches?

This page is dedicated to interesting discussions around the topic of "Do No Harm". We would like to make you familiar with the challenges that are faced in the field and with the advice that is given by practitioners. Over the course of time, more and more critical aspects of teaching and applying "Do No Harm" may be covered here.

Previous Discussions:
Findings from the Interaction among Practitioners

Working in Conflict and Working on Conflict

"Do No Harm" has emerged as a tool to improve the quality of relief or development projects implemented in a situation of violent conflict. Its aim is to assure that activities do not worsen the existing tensions, but the main objective remains health, or food security, or education, or any other development objective. Accordingly, conflict-sensitive programming does not aim at conflict resolution.

This, however, is the particular aim of peace-building activities. They all aim explicitly to address the key drivers of conflict and, ultimately, change the conflict dynamics, with particular emphasis on reducing or preventing violence as a means of addressing political, social and economic problems and injustices.

CDA's president Peter Woodrow and the RPPP director Diana Chigas have recently explained why the difference is so important: "The distinction between conflict sensitive practice and peacebuilding matters, because the lack of clarity and prevailing confusion are now weakening many programs. People are uncertain about why their peace efforts are failing. All too often, one reason is that they are working on false assumptions about conflict sensitivity or peacebuilding or both. Mixing them up leads to flawed program design."

The full article can be downloaded here:

A Distinction with a Difference: Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding

Name of Author: Peter Woodrow & Diana Chigas

Description: Article highlighting the differences between the two approaches

Version: 2009 (PDF; 102 KB; 12 pages)
download: A Distinction with a Difference