Peace Building and Conflict Management
This strategic focus area aims at contributing to harmonious and peaceful coexistence amongst communities and various people groups in Tanzania. It puts emphasis on strengthening capacities for dialogue and conflict resolution among citizens to contribute to peaceful engagement and coexistence in all key social, political and economic areas. Under the current Strategic Plan 2016-2020, Foundation for Civil Society has incorporated this new sub-strategy in order to promote peace maintenance and conflict management under the broader outcome area of Good Governance.
This strategic area adds a new focus on dialogue and conflict resolution processes between citizens and the state, particularly through the priority areas of dialogue on political divisions, particularly on land-related conflicts, where this relationship between citizens and the state features as well. In addition, the focus on peace maintenance also represents an additional emphasis on dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution among citizens. This is both a vertical (state-citizen) as well as horizontal (citizen-citizen) engagement.
Why focus on peace maintenance and conflict management in Tanzania?
Most recent conflict analyses indicate a number of growing divisions and potential for violent conflicts among Tanzanian societies. To counter these trends, it is important to strengthen existing capacities for dialogue and conflict resolution in the country considering the fact that in Tanzanian society, there is a sense of taboo on talking about or acknowledging disagreements.
In principle, conflict and differences are a source of much debate, often in heated exchanges, including in the Parliament. Conflict resolution and dialogue practices teach how conflicts can be dissected and dialogue processes can help to find mediated solutions and compromises. The sense of taboo on everything conflictual and divisive may have impeded the development of a culture of dialogue and constructive dispute resolution.
Programs priority areas
- Dialogue efforts to bridge political divisions
- Dialogue and conflict resolution for land-related conflict
- Inter-religious dialogue
To be effective, dialogue and conflict resolution processes need to ensure they include relevant groups. This will differ depending on the issue to be addressed, but also on the level of society engagement. In-depth stakeholder analysis helps identify all relevant stakeholders and to make well-informed choices on when, how, why the dialogue can be initiated (who sits around the table, this can also differ at different points/steps during the engagement). Relevant stakeholders can include government representatives, members of political parties, security institutions, traditional leaders/elders, religious leaders, and civil society representatives, amongst others.
In addition, this strategic programme area proposes the mainstreaming of women and youth not only as important actors but also as entry points in the society communities.
- The strengthening of dialogue and conflict resolution initiatives (both short to medium term initiatives).
- The formation/strengthening of dialogue platforms (both medium to long term structures and mechanisms).
- The strengthening of a knowledge base on conflict analysis and conflict resolution (research and training on conflict analysis, conflict resolution processes and early warning/response mechanisms).
Dialogue and conflict resolution initiatives
This focuses on supporting alternative processes to address particular tensions, disputes and conflicts. For example, prior to the 2015 elections, a number of dialogue efforts were focused on bringing together supporters and members of the different political parties to diffuse tensions around the highly charged electoral campaigns and constituencies in order to help prevent violence. Support can be provided to short-medium term initiatives from civil society that aim to resolve particular conflicts or bring together parties to particular disputes and disagreements in dialogue processes.
This focuses on the establishment of mechanisms/structures that work on dialogue and conflict resolution. For example, the Tanzania Centre for Democracy has established District Dialogue Platforms in nine districts for this purpose. These platforms are a result of earlier trainings of key stakeholders to diffuse political tensions and disagreements between the incumbent and opposition parties in past elections. In other examples, civil society organisations have in the past helped establish community level peace committees to deal with land-related conflict at the local level. Dialogue platforms aim to bring together a group of relevant and legitimate stakeholders that can help alleviate tensions, provide alternative means of dispute resolution, or work on the resolution of conflicts where the formal justice system is difficult to access.
Knowledge base on conflict analysis and conflict resolution
The focus here is on the strengthening of the knowledge base in Tanzania on conflict analysis and conflict resolution. Existing capacities in universities, research institutions and other relevant organisations with a mandate to research, publish and teach on dispute resolution, political science, diplomatic studies, or inter-cultural relations can be further strengthened and deepened with capacity building practices. Research can draw on international experience, but also investigate and collect Tanzanian examples of dialogue processes and conflict resolution efforts. Peace education in schools can also form part of this element of the sub-strategy.
For the moment, there is no clear policy area within government that can provide a focus for advocacy and lobbying efforts. There are initial ongoing efforts to develop capacity in Early Warning and Early Response (EWER), systematic ways to analyse information about conflict indicators to help facilitate better and timely responses, led by the Tanzania National Committee for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination. This Committee was established in 2012 under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Protocol for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination. Civil society organisations could play an important role in EWER.
Partners and grants
So far, Foundation for Civil Society has issued grants amounting to more than 690 million to 10 CSOs for this strategic programme area. This includes two strategic grantees, two medium grants and six innovative ones.