Conflict-Sensitive Programming

Why is there a need for networking?

Every context is different. Even in our "Do No Harm" workshops we have realized that the contextualization of the workshop content to the reality of the participants always yields new insights, and so each workshop does offer learning opportunities also for the facilitators. The examples from own experiences of participants and the analysis of different contexts in different countries continue to make workshop facilitation a rewarding task. When it comes to practical application, this is even more true. Practitioners in many countries have developed options for difficult situations, and colleagues all over the world can benefit from this creativity and get inspired to look for options in their own contexts.

Practical Experience from a Wide Network:
Continuous Collaborative Learning

The Knowledge of Practitioners

It is sometimes a big step from training to practical application. What sounds easy when presented in a lecture becomes complicated when transferred into a real case scenario. And what sounds like a great idea later turns out to have other unforeseen side-effects. It would be worthwhile to collect such experience, and we are inviting all our colleagues to contribute to the global learning with positive or negative examples.

Research and Documentation

Some of our colleagues have been very persistent in their efforts to integrate "Do No Harm" in their project operations, inviting different ethnic groups to participate in joint workshops and to overcome their animosities through common project activities. And, sometimes, external evaluators visiting the project area come to realize that there is indeed a different work atmosphere at a particular location. This has, for example, happened in Ileret, a location in the far north of Kenya, where different pastoralist communites had been engaged in mutual cattle raids over a long period of time. VSF Germany has managed to analyse this context and to promote common interests through the application of the "Do No Harm" approach.

We are always happy to document such experience so that others can learn from it. The example of our colleague Eunice Obala with VSF Germany may encourage others to increase their efforts, too. For more information on Eunice's work, see the documentation of VSF's ICRD project on this website.
go to: Material / BestPractices

Adaptations and Translations

Our colleagues are working in many different countries and have to be aware of the specific social and cultural characteristics in each location. As a result, modes of operation, teaching styles, methodologies of presentation, approaches to participatory planning or negotiation techniques need to be adjusted to the specific context. Consequently, we have made it a general rule to facilitate workshops or to conduct evaluations in teams of two, so that methodological competence and global perceptions are always complemented by the profound knowledge of the local context and the respect of local cultures.

The "material" pages on this website contain translations of documents to a number of languages as well as locally developed material used for training or practical implementation.

New Developments

Following years of practical experience in many countries of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, we have also developed ourselves. Some aspects of the "Do No Harm" concept have been slightly adjusted, and our way of disseminating information has changed drastically since our first workshops in 2001. We are in the process of assessing this experience and to update our "Trainer's Manual" during the coming months.

Another idea is to produce illustrations highlighting the effect that relief or development interventions may have on local contexts. CARE Somalia has already published a brochure with drawings depicting the "Implicit Ethical Messages" in a way that can easily be understood by local people in that country.