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COMMUNITY BASED PEACE BUILDING IN A FRAGILE CONTEXT.

Byline: NIZAR AHMAD, FARHAT ULLAH and PROF. DR. NIAZ MUHAMMAD

Abstract

Peace without community participation will remain a vision. This study presents the contribution and efforts made by the community-based organizations in view of local conflict affected population, in the Pakhtun Society. Four conflict affected villages of Malakand Division were selected and a sample size of 278 household respondents, out of total 982 household population in the selected research area, was determined through online survey system software. Chi-square test was applied to ascertain the association between various community-based organizations' factors with the state of peace in the area.

It was found that provision of humanitarian aid, rehabilitation of displaced population, rebuilding of trust in the government and peace festivals by communication organizations had a significant association with the state of peace in the area. In contrast provision of training, peace education monitoring and reporting of human rights violation in the war zone by the local organization was non-significantly related to the state of peace in the area. Community-based organization plays an active role in building peace in the area but lack capacity, linkages with external actors and external support. National and International organizational actors working in the area of peace and conflict resolution, need to focus on the capacity building, networking and undertaking peace initiatives of local organizations working in a fragile context.

Key Words: Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), Community-Based Peace Building, Conflict Resolution, Terrorism, Violence, Capacity Building, Peace Initiatives.

Introduction

Fierce conflict and instability have a devastating impact on a society's economy and administrative ruling, Such as war and armed conflicts have always fractured the social fabric of society. But in a situation of extreme and obstinate poverty; native conflicts are likely to turn fiercer and aggravate into wider conflict (Waldman, 2008). Its effects can be tangible in shape of killing and destruction of society's physical structure and can also be immaterial, such as causing the public organizations failure, lack of trust in government, damaging of social relations, creating emotional trauma and inescapable fear among masses (Haider, 2009). Conflicts, latent or manifest tend to escalate if not dealt within time (Schweitzer, 2001). Conflicts of today's era are of hybrid nature; therefore, their transformations also need to be of hybrid nature, combining mechanism based on legal ways, civil society and customs, and traditions.

Moreover, special focus should be given to traditional informal systems, community-based organizations and customary practices (Boege, 2006).

Experts in the field of conflict transformation and Peace Building have widely advocated the utilization of local peace actors and institutions for peace; their capacity building has been emphasized instead of weakening them to avoid any harm. Indigenous peace promoters are making the true difference in the world's most harmful and troublesome conflicts. Daily they endanger their existence for the sake of peace and to prevent conflict in the areas where they operate locally. Local First is a novel approach advocated by Peace Direct that looks for local capacities with in the country before bringing in external expertise (Local First, 2012). The top down process must be linked with bottom up strategy along as Oxfam research study in Afghanistan revealed that most of the problems have local causes and people need to inline the local institutions and personalities to settle them down (Waldman, 2008).

A shift from a short term management approaches toward developing local capacities is needed towards the building of a more animated, holistic approach that generates the place for collective engagement and ownership in building peace (Lederach, 1997, p.53).

Community-Based Approach Towards Peace Building

Focus on the adoption of community-based approach has been increased to address the community needs in conflict witnessed communities (Haider, 2009). Since conflict involves most of the masses (grassroots people) as either active contributors or sufferers, it is rational to include this huge section of the society in the process of Peace Building (Morgan, 2005). In fragile and conflict settings, the public institutions are usually weak thus, local capacities through community-based approach can be utilized to reconnect government with its inhabitants, to establish a healthy relationship, to help create avenues of interaction and for participatory decision making (Haider, 2009). International actors needs enable native mediators by recognizing their applicability, developing a strategy to involve local conflict resolver, build their capacities, providing support to local NGOs, giving attention to customary approaches (Tool Category B, n.d).

A similar practice can help to build trust and set an example for the nonviolent and productive transformation of disputes in the community (Haider, 2009).

Literature Review

Civil society is broadly supposed to be a vital player for Peace Building. Nowadays significant attention has been paid to the capacity building of civil society for peace work specifically in war torn societies (Paffenholz, 2009). The absence of active civil society actors is a distinct indication of a repressive regime that is characterized by prevalent insecurity, and in which serious exploitation of ethnic and cultural variances is also expected to generate an environment of cynicism and distrust (Bachler, 2004). The activeness of Community-Based Organizations in conflict mitigation, peace-making and in peace building has been increased (Fischer, 2006). Anderson (1999) developed "Do No Harm" approach, which aimed at avoiding doing harm through involvement and strengthening of local capacities.

The local capacities for peace approach (Anderson 1999; Heinrich 1999) hunt for possible actors for Peace Building through the provision of developmental aid and emphasize on supporting local capacities by external donor agencies. This approach means that peace cannot be enforced upon people but must be built within society (Bigdon and Korf, 2004). A majority of the academics and NGOs search to capacitate the local unifiers, rather than the dividers on the philosophy that solid resilient communities are primary necessities for people security and existence (Clements, 2004).

For sustainable prevention, mitigation and management of conflict, there is the need of strong local level leadership, political authorities and civil society groups. Colvin (2007) reported the enormous number of administrative processes, both local and national, which involved the communal members (especially victims, ex-combatants, and perpetrators) in negotiation, in increasing shared understanding, in building confidence, in images modification of the enemies, in building or realizing communal values, and in assisting social reintegration. NGOs function as both 'pressure groups' and 'service providers' for reconciliation work. Bruton (2002) reported the Civil Society work in Nigeria that, the establishment of the community-based organization needs to be sensitized to intervene in conflict occurring within their communities, and to be equipped with the conflict resolution techniques.

Ndiku (2013) reported about the role of civil society organizations as actors of lobbying and advocacy for rights. A leading civil society can build a strong social fabric which can resist civil conflicts (Bachler, 2004).

Conflict Abatement through Local Mediation (CALM) in Jos-Nigeria, has helped to create peace zones and provided training in conflict resolution, that was used by participants, to persuade some youths not to engage in fighting during the January 2010 violence in Jos (Steele, n.d). The Mozambican Force for Crime Investigation and Social Reintegration (FOMICRES) is an NGO established by ex-child combatants to handle the huge number of weapons sprinkled all over Mozambique at the exit of war. In partnership, the Christian Council of Mozambique and FOMICRES together collected weapons and worked for the promotion of peace culture (Local First, 2012).

The Peace Building and Conflict Resolution sector of NGOs are expanding, procuring professionalism and acquiring more resources to engage local people in conflict transformation process (Clements, 2004). In Cambodia, the result is mixed; civil society was highly embedded in Peace Building but the government now curtails its role in a number of ways. Even so, civil society is able to wield the "power to expose" injustices and surface conflict non-violently (Iglesias, 2013). Drawing from a diagram in Making Peace by Adam Curle, Lederach recommends that activism and lobbying are the means to balance the powers to aware the people of the adoption of peace values (Peavey, 2012). Civil society activities in Mindanao include inter-faith dialogue, coalition building, community organizing and media advocacy (Iglesias, 2013)

Local NGOs build confidence between state actors and local Communities, control rumors, involve in interactive monitoring, and have an early warning/early response mechanism (Easthom, 2012). The analytical framework established from the discipline of democracy and development, seven core roles of the civil society can be drawn such as (i) protection; (ii) monitoring and accountability; (iii) advocacy and public communication; (iv) socialization and a culture of peace; (v) conflict sensitive social `cohesion; (vi) intermediation and facilitation; and (vii) service delivery (Paffenholz and Spurk, 2006: Paffenholz, 2009).

Steele, (n.d) wrote in his manual that the main tasks for NGOs (religious and secular) are to develop a network of interfaith (Peace Building), create NGOs (including women's groups), create inter-ethnic or inter-religious centers, develop specific justice projects, help in mobilization of affected business community to join Peace Building process, develop an early warning early response mechanism for timely information to security agencies, and to counteract false rumors and reform media.

Transforming the causes and consequences of conflict - CSOs play a role in (1) promoting structural transformation to address root causes of armed conflict; (2) demilitarizing minds, healing psyches and fostering reconciliation e.g. through truth-telling processes and cultural traditions of conflict resolution; (3) Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) by involving local civil society actors and framing DDR as part of community needs (thereby increasing its chance of success); (4) transforming values and cultures - particularly through education for peace (Iglesias, 2013). The activities of NGOs have been increased in conflict resolution and Peace Building process such as they are involved in early warning activities, preventive diplomacy through third party intervention, facilitation of debating workshops and negotiation, reconciliation and initiatives for relationships building for cross-cultural groups (Fischer, 2006).

Research Methodology

The rationale behind this study is to document the role of the community-based organizations in preventing violence and building peace in conflict affected fragile context. For this purpose, four villages were selected from two conflict affected Districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa i.e. Dir Lower and Dir Upper. These areas have witnessed violence and conflict in the shape of Taliban presence and army operation towards combating militancy. Local people also had played a vital role in the prevention of militancy through Local Jirga System, Armed Lashkar (militia) and local peace committees. This study only takes into account, the role of Local Community Based organizations during and after the conflict for building peace in the area.

A sample size of the 278 households was drawn from a total of 982 households of the selected villages via online survey system software. The proportionate sampling method was used for sample allocation to each village and a systematic sampling procedure was adopted in selecting target respondents from the given population. Detail of the selected villages and sample respondents are as follows:

Table 1. Selected Villages and Sample Size

S. No Name of the Selected Village###Household Statistics###Sample Size

###1###Gedaro (Dir Lower)###202###57

###2###Brekanai (Dir Lower)###304###86

###3###Samkot (Dir Upper)###259###73

###4###Dog Payen (Dir Upper)###217###62

###Total###982###278

Data was collected from one adult member of each household through a structured interview schedule based on Likert scale. Data was analyzed with the help of SPSS 20 version using Chi Square test for measuring association between the Independent variable i.e. community-based organizations role with the dependent variable i.e. the state of peace in the area.

Results and Discussion

Respondents' Political Affiliation

Political affiliation is a factor which can give us a clear picture of people's participation in the democratic process and Peace Building activities. The table indicates that majority of the subjects (77.7%) having political affiliation while a small portion (22.3%) had no affiliation with any political party. The table further describes names of the parties to which respondents have an affiliation, where 42.6 percent respondents were affiliated with Jumati Islami, 42.6 with Jamiat UlAma Islam, 7.4 with Awami National Party, 17.6 with Pakistan People's Party, 25.5 with Pakistan Tehreek Insaf and 4.6 were affiliated with Pakistan Muslim League-N. It was found that majority of the respondents were affiliated with Jumati Islami, Tehreek Insaf, and Pakistan People's Party.

Table 2. Sample Distribution of Respondents' Political Affiliation in Society

###Political affiliation###Frequency###Percentage

###Yes###216###77.7

###No###62###22.3

###Total###278###100.0

name of Political Party###Frequency###Percentage

###JI###92###42.6

###JUI###5###2.3

###ANP###16###7.4

###PPP###38###17.6

###PTI###55###25.5

###PML-N###10###4.6

###Total###216###100.0

Respondent's Level Of Support To Non-State Local Peace Actors

Support of local people for any institution working in an area is important and determines its chances of success and acceptability. The table indicates that local NGO or CBOs were fully supported by 18.3 percent of total respondents, 30.6 only favored them, 18.1 percent were undecided and 23 percent were not in support of their role in Peace Building. It can be concluded from the table that the level of support is less as the CBOs are very low in the area. It shows people attitude is still unfavorable in respect of NGOs and their work in the area.

Table 3. Support of Local People to Non-State Actors

S.No Local Peace actors Full support Only favor Undecided###No support###Total

5###Local NGOs/ CBO###51(18.3)###85(30.6)###78(18.1)###64(23)###278(100)

Community Based Organizations Role in Peace Building

The formal non-state Peace Building approaches are mostly advocated by international actors and donor agencies through the local community or civil society organizations and are mostly in the context of fragility and weak responsive public Institutions. The community-based approach is used to re-connect the citizens with the state and to strengthen local governance (Haider, 2009). It was found that the provision of humanitarian relief to affected population (P= .008) supported the rehabilitation of displaced people (P= .011) thus, contribute to the peace of the area. It acknowledges the activities Mentioned in the June 2009 UN Secretary General's Report on Peace Building which accounted the provision of basic life needs and a safe and sustainable return of internally displaced persons and refugees. CBOs rebuilding trust and confidence of people in government (P= .000) through raising awareness and providing support were significantly associated with the state of peace in the area.

It supports the UNICEF (2011) reported views of restoring government functions in basic public administration by NGOs in fragility while Waldman (2008) also accounted that Peace Building is both social and structural and aims at developing trust, safety, and social cohesion. Further, a significant association was noted between CBOs arranged peace festivals, using traditional songs (P= .042), with the state of peace, which is in consonance with the findings of Colvin (2007), who reported the engagement of local and national organizations in the process of dialogue, improvement of mutual understanding, building trust, modification of enemy images and realization of common values through different activities. A significant relationship was recorded between CBOs bringing people of different ideologies together for a positive behavioral change (P= .000) with the state of peace.

It confirms the conclusion of Haider (2009) that Community Based approaches to create safe space for interaction for the divided societies and to bind them together. It also supports Waldman (2008), who accounted the promotion of inter-ethnic and inter-group dialogue and seek attitudinal and behavioral change through promotion of peace values and tolerance.

Mentioned in the June 2009 UN Secretary General's Report on Peace Building, In the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict, protection of civilians; disarmament, demobilization are important Peace Building activities (UNICEF, 2011). However, this study recorded a non-significant association between CBOs demobilized miscreants (P= .445) with the state of peace. It could be the reason that local traditional institutions are stronger than CBOs and these tasks are performed by traditional actors. Further, CBOs linkages with the state and the International actors (P= .056) is not significantly related to the state of peace, although it is very important for getting support and donation from International Actors and Government agencies for strengthening local level structures (Tool Category B, n.d). The inclusive partnership of people, institutions (national and international) and civil society is important in Peace Building process (Waldman, 2004).

Howard, Schweitzer and Stieren (2001) also argued that the donor agencies identify the local capacity and strengthen them through combined conflict transformation approaches, with aid and provision of conflict resolution skills. It could be said that local CBOs have no or weak linkages with outside organization and donor agencies, which are a must for their efficient work in the peace process. Furthermore, a non-significant association was found between CBOs provision of peace education to youth (P= .254) with the state of peace in the area which is in contrast with the findings of Iglesias (2013), who reported about CBO's role as demilitarizing minds and transforming culture through education for peace.

CBOs provided training on conflict resolution to other Local Peace Actors (P= .876) in the area has a non-significant association with the state of peace. CBOs of the area may not have their own capacity to build the capacity of other LPCs, as Ndiku (2013) also concluded from his study in Nigerian conflict situation that, civil society itself needs training in conflict resolutions and reconciliation. Likely the state of peace was also found having a non-significant association with CBOs support of government strategies through awareness training (P= .276), the capacity of CBOs for peace work has a non-significant value (p= .424) in the area. It can be meant that the local CBOs lack the required capacity for peace work. Civil Society is an important factor in Peace Building and a substantive focus needs to be given towards strengthening and building their capacities in places emerging from armed conflict (Paffenholz, 2009).

CBOs promotion of human rights, justice, and non-violence (P= .060) has a non-significant relationship with peace in the area, while in conflict situation NGOs act as both "service providers" and "pressure groups" (Colvin, 2007) and doing lobby and advocacy for human rights (Ndiku, 2013). So it could be said that in this conflict context local CBOs are frail in the promotion of human right and justice. Similarly, no role of CBOs in monitoring and reporting of the peace process (P= .278) and CBOs monitoring and reporting of human rights violation in the situation of conflict (P= .197) was found in the area. In contrast, Iglesias (2013) wrote that civil society has the power to expose injustice and surface the violation. Paffenholz (2009) also talked about CBOs effectiveness in monitoring and advocacy while our study in this area found no evidence of CBOs in monitoring, reporting, and advocacy of injustice and human rights violations.

Table 4. Role of Community Based Organizations in Peace Building

###State of Peace in the Area###Chi square

Statement

###Yes###No###Don't know###P Value

CBOs Provided###Yes###141(50.7%)###49(17.6%)###16(5.8%)

###13.894a

Humanitarian relief to###No###27(9.7%)###14(5.0%)###4(1.4%)

###P= .008

affected population###Don't Know###14(5.0%)###5(1.8%)###8(2.9%)

CBOs helped in###Yes###135(48.6%)###46(16.5%)###15(5.4%)

###12.963a

rehabilitation of###No###34(12.2%)###15(5.4%)###5(1.8%)

###P= .011

displaced people###Don't Know###13(4.7%)###7(2.5%)###8(2.9%)

###Yes###82(29.5%)###26(9.4%)###11(4.0%)

CBOs Demobilized###3.722a

###No###62(22.3%)###21(7.6%)###8(2.9%)

soldiers or miscreants###P= .445

###Don't Know###38(13.7%)###21(7.6%)###9(3.2%)

CBOs Have linkages###Yes###94(33.8%)###25(9.0%###8(2.9%)

or relation with state###9.216a

###No###36(12.9%)###21(7.6%)###10(3.6%)

and international###P= .056

actors###Don't Know###52(18.7%)###22(7.9%)###10(3.6%)

CBOs Rebuild the###Yes###119(42.8%)###30(10.8%)###10(3.6%)

###21.539a

trust and confidence###No###38(13.7%)###16(5.8%)###6(2.2%)

###P= .000

of people in Govt.###Don't Know###25(9.0%)###22(7.9%)###12(4.3%)

CBOs Arranged peace###Yes###75(27.0%)###29(10.4%)###12(4.3%)

festivals, using###9.885a

###No###85(30.6%)###26(9.4%)###7(2.5%)

traditional songs that###P= .042

depict peace###Don't Know###22(7.9%)###13(4.7%)###9(3.2%)

###Yes###85(30.6%)###24(8.6%)###15(5.4%)

CBOs Provide peace###5.344a

###No###77(27.7%)###31(11.2%)###9(3.2%)

education to youth###(P= .254)

###Don't Know###20(7.2%)###13(4.7%)###4(1.4%)

Table 4. Role of Community Based Organizations in Peace Building (Continued)

###State of Peace in the Area###Chi square

Statement

###Yes###No###Don't know###P Value

CBOs bring people of###Yes###99(35.6%)###26(9.4%)###5(1.8%)

different ideologies to

###No###60(21.6%)###23(8.3%)###8(2.9%)###30.764a

work together for a

###P= .000

positive change in

their behavior###Don't Know###23(8.3%)###19(6.8%)###15(5.4%)

CBOs Provide###Yes###80(28.8%)###27(9.7%)###10(3.6%)

###1.211a

Training to other LCPs###No###69(24.8%)###27(9.7%)###11(4.0%)

###P= .876

in conflict resolution###Don't Know###33(11.9%)###14(5.0%)###7(2.5%)

CBOs support the###Yes###100(36.0%)###43(15.5%) 12(4.3%)

Govt. peace strategies###5.113a

###No###54(19.4%)###13(4.7%)###11(4.0%)

through raising###P= .276

Awareness###Don't Know###28(10.1%)###12(4.3%)###5(1.8%)

CBOs of the area###Yes###89(32.0%)###28(10.1%) 12(4.3%)

have the adequate###3.871a

###No###51(18.3%)###24(8.6%)###6(2.2%)

Capacity for peace###P= .424

work###Don't Know###42(15.1%)###16(5.8%)###10(3.6%)

CBOs Promoted###Yes###100(36.0%)###34(12.2%) 15(5.4%)

###9.056a

Human rights, justice,###No###42(15.1%)###26(9.4%)###5(1.8%)

###P= .060

and non-violence###Don't Know###40(14.4%)###8(2.9%)###8(2.9%)

CBOs did monitor###Yes###66(23.7%)###20(7.2%)###10(3.6%)

###5.096a

and report the peace###No###50(18.0%)###26(9.4%)###5(1.8%)

###P= .278

Process###Don't Know###66(23.7%)###22(7.9%)###13(4.7%)

CBOs monitor and###Yes###59(21.2%)###23(8.3%)###6(2.2%)

report the violation of###6.029a

###No###52(18.7%)###24(8.6%)###6(2.2%)

Human rights in###P= .197

conflict situation###Don't Know###71(25.5%)###21(7.6%)###16(5.8%)

Conclusion and Recommendations

Community participation through the local organization is no doubt a vital factor in conflict resolution and post conflict Peace Building. This paper is set out to assess the Peace Building role of the community-based organization in terrorism prone areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. On one hand, community-based organizations played a significant contribution in the areas of provision of humanitarian aid and rehabilitation of affected population. It played an active part in building the trust of people in government, arranging peace festivals through traditional songs and poems, and bringing people of different backgrounds together for a positive behavioral change. But on the other hand, the community-based organization in the area were weak in demobilizing miscreants, providing peace education, training of other Peace Building actors, promotion of social justice and creating awareness regarding support to government strategies for peace.

Local CBOs also lack the capacity for peace work with no or limited linkage with national and International organizations working for peace. Although monitoring and reporting of peace process and human rights violation is an important task of civil society organizations, in our study area, local CBOs could not monitor and report the peace process and human rights violation in a conflict situation.

Based on the above conclusion this study put forward the following recommendations for the effectiveness of community-based organizations' work in a conflict situation. These recommendations are of utmost importance to international and national actors working for a sustainable peace in fragile context to build local capacity rather than wasting aid on finding short cut solutions to the problem.

* Capacity building of community-based organization in conflict resolution skills is the need of the day.

* There is the need of an active Networking of local organizations in the area to share information and support each other's work.

* Linkages with International organizations and donor agencies need to be established.

* Community-based organizations need to monitor and report the peace process and human rights violation in the area.

* For everlasting peace, community-based organizations should inculcate peace values and establish a culture of peace through awareness raising and peace education programs.

* Donor agencies need to support local organizations through peace education projects.

* Local Peace Building organizations need to provide training for monitoring and reporting of the peace process and human right violation in the conflict situation.

* Community-based organizations also need to have linkages with human rights organizations in order to monitor human rights violation and social injustice in the area.

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