Conflict Integration

Understanding how conflict dynamics interact with development programs is critical for positive outcomes and sustaining peace and prosperity.

Integrating Conflict Sensitivity and Social Cohesion

Recognizing the interactions between conflict and development programming

Beyond Conflict Sensitivity

From conflict sensitivity to conflict integration

Conflict Integration in Practice

Conflict-sensitive practitioners understand how conflict dynamics influence the development environment and act on these observations. The guides below illustrate how to integrate conflict sensitivity into programs across the development spectrum.

There is no neutral intervention

Practitioners must therefore learn to program in ways that meet project goals without exacerbating problems and that, ideally, foster social cohesion, tolerance, and collaboration.

Responsible Development: A Note on Conflict Sensitivity from USAID's Center for Conflict and Violence Prevention

Assessing the Situation

Conducting a conflict analysis is essential for understanding the conflict context and informing current or anticipated programming. The first step in designing and implementing conflict-sensitive, sustainable and effective programming requires taking an intentional approach to understanding the context. Conflict contexts must consider identity, institutions, interests and incentives, as well as norms, values and narratives.

USAID’s recently updated Violence and Conflict Assessment Framework (VCAF) provides systematic guidance for a conflict analysis and reflects USAID’s approach to analyzing these issues through a development lens. Other tools — including political economy analysis, gender and inclusive development analyses, and risk and resilience assessments — may be appropriate, depending on factors such as time availability, budget and scope of the conflict analysis required.

Designing and Implementing Conflict-Sensitive Programming

Conflict-sensitive design considers how programs may interact with fragility, conflict and violence (FCV) and how those dynamics may affect the implementation and achievement of results. Maximizing the impact of interventions in FCV contexts requires promoting coherence across humanitarian, development and peace assistance during design and implementation.

Conditions in FCV areas can change rapidly and without warning. To increase stability in these contexts, programs should:

  • Build operational plans and strategies that can withstand unpredictable environments or change and involve trust through local systems and partners.
  • Incorporate collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) practices, including pause-and-reflect sessions focused explicitly on conflict sensitivity and internal guidance for shock-responsive pivots in response to changing conflict dynamics.

As programming transitions from design to implementation, some of the nuances associated with conflict sensitivity evolve. Even in FCV contexts, there are windows of opportunity to leverage what is working well and find opportunities to create or bolster peace. Identifying these windows and acting on them requires strong relationships maintained by establishing feedback loops and regular check-ins, visiting sites and encouraging reporting regardless of positive or negative results.

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