Making all Voices Count

“From Early Warning to Response in Preventing Violence: Transforming Conflict through Citizen Engagement”

The project engages three contexts through partnerships with the Zanzibar Interfaith Centre, People’s Voice for Peace (Gulu, Northern Uganda), and Local Peace Committees in South Africa’s Gauteng Province. The Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies (CPRS) at Coventry University joins the ACTION Support Centre in eighteen months of engagement and investigation with our three partners as we seek ways to examine the communication gaps between citizens and institutions in contexts of conflict. Together we will explore the effectiveness of systems aimed at narrowing these gaps, in hopes of forming strategies to enable a more effective, collaborative partnership between local level stakeholders, including, but not limited to, opportunities specifically presented by innovations in communications and technology.

Key research questions:

  • Who are the political decision makers (government, civil society, etc)?
  • What are the communication barriers between concerned citizens and these political decision makers?
  • What are the communications and technology infrastructures available in the three contexts?
  • How do the active members of our local partners use communications and technology in their daily lives?
  • What opportunities exist, with regard to communications and technology or otherwise, to improve communications between engaged citizens and political decision makers in the three contexts?

The ACTION Support Centre and CPRS will support a conflict-transformation focused learning process in each local context. We will explore opportunities for sharing insights between partners across the project through a broader dialogue. The project will include ways in which new forms of technology, including tools derived out of the work of conflict transformation practitioners, can reduce communication gaps between those with access to first hand information concerning changes in the dynamics of conflict and those with capacities to implement collaborative strategies to respond to escalating dynamics.

Our research approach will employ participatory methodologies to build qualitative and quantitative date for analysis. Our research outputs will respond directly to needs collaboratively established with each partner. In addition to addressing the specific inquiries of our partners, we will also frame our research in the broader context of Making All Voices Count and the larger policy debates concerning communications and technology infrastructures which are taking place in academia, international policy circles, national policy circles, and among funders. Our intent is for the project to shape the discussions and actions of practitioners at all levels.

“From Early Warning to Response in Preventing Violence: Transforming Conflict Through Citizen Engagement” is one of four research projects selected in the first call for proposals by the Making All Voices Count initiative, joining a total of 29 projects selected from over 540 proposals. Making All Voices Count is facilitated by Hivos, IDS, and Ushahidi.

Conflict Prevention in Zanzibar