Between 7th August to 2nd September, The Peace Centre conducted a series of three days’ refresher training on peacebuilding and conflict resolution for 92 conflict analysts and conflict monitors from refugee and host communities in Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido. The Peace Centre is working with District Peace Committees, Women Peace Mediators, Conflict Analysts and Conflict monitors as the peace structures at District and community level and National Steering Committee at the national level to institutionalize gender-sensitive conflict early warning and early response system. The training was supported by UN Women under the project promoting women’s effective participation in peacebuilding in Uganda.

The training kicked off with reflections on the work led by the monitors and analysts in the three districts. They have increasingly collaborated with other peace structures like the women peace mediators, district peace committees and ably used their conflict monitoring and analysis skills to monitor, identify, refer, report and document conflict incidences as well manage some of the conflicts arising.

Naibok Gertrude, a conflict analyst in Kotido shares the progress made by conflict analysts in Rengen sub-county

Key topics covered during the training included;

Women and governance- This session enabled participants to discuss the role of women in governance and limitations to women’s participation in electoral processes (as candidates, campaign agents or voters) through skits that displayed how single female candidates and single male candidates with the same qualification are treated differently. Issues limiting women’s participation include finances, gender roles, stereotypes, traditional attitudes and practices for example in Yumbe district, a female candidate was reportedly humiliated, “that seat is for men you will stain it with your periods”. Information on advancing women’s participation in governance was also shared- civic and voter education programs must inform citizens of their rights to participate in governance and of the value that women’s participation brings to the country through these programs, women should be encouraged to vote and run for office; Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) should increase public confidence in electoral processes.

Understanding Conflict and Tools for Analysis- In this session, participants were introduced to practical processes for examining and understanding the reality of the conflict from different perspectives using a standard framework in order to inform conflict transformation. Different tools including Photo Language, Perceptions, Animal Code, Wheel of Fundamental Human Needs, The Onion, The Systems Code, The Why Technique were used to understand causes, patterns, trends as well as underlying and proximate causes of conflict. By the end of this session, participants were able to analyse conflict using different analysis tools
and effectively respond to interpersonal conflict. to analyse actors, causes, dynamics and triggers for conflict were shared and used to inform strategies for early response and peacebuilding in order to break the cycles of conflict.

Conflict Early Warning– This session enhanced participants’ understanding of the concept and applicability of early warning and the use of different tools for gathering early warning information and data. Participants learnt that a functional early warning system gathers and analyses conflict-related information to identify challenges to stability and cohesion. Early warning information could be over political, economic, social-cultural, and environmental and technology-related conflict. Early warning feedback is used to respond to early signs of tension through conflict prevention mechanisms. Even with the signals of violence, conflict analysis must be integrated into conflict prevention planning if it is to be addressed. The four pillars of conflict early warning were discussed as follows;

  1. Conflict Risk Knowledge involves; Conflict monitoring and data collection to undertake a risk assessment. Risk assessment should include core questions in relation to women, men, girls and boys and how they are affected by the conflict. Data and information gathering is about monitoring threats using local knowledge of both women and men in the community.
  2. Conflict Analysis is the phase for analysis of the information generated from the data collection phase. The analysis provides for prioritising early warning systems and preparing for conflict prevention mechanisms.
  3. Dissemination & Communication: The information and early warning should be communicated to relevant stakeholders and decision-makers. For the warning to be relevant, it has to reach the intended audience.
  4. Early Response: Officials, individuals and communities should be helped to understand the gravity of the risk, respect the warning and be prepared to act.

Dynamics in Conflict Monitoring–  To understand dynamics and indicators of conflict monitoring, participants discussed conflict monitoring, indicators to be monitored, why we monitor, who to monitor/ likely agents of conflict, qualities of a good monitor, where to gather information. The basics of monitoring and information gathering enhanced understanding of processes for evidence gathering to support effective early warning.

Group presentations of conflict early warning indicators in Dzaipi Sub-county, Adjumani district

Peacebuilding and Human Security– This session discussed the re-construction of structural and systemic issues such as governance, democracy and other long-term instruments to build sustainable peace. The discussions covered topics such as pillars of peace, lobbying and advocacy, negotiation skills for peacebuilders and mediation.

Intentional Wellbeing- This session reminded participants that wellbeing demands deliberate effort; it takes
time, fierce commitment, and resources to galvanize your systems, nurture joy, stability, and a great sense of humour. There is no definite definition of wellbeing. It is a broad subject that happens at different
levels such as the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational or intimate wellbeing. The wellness session helped participants to reflect on their lives and embraced the need to; create healing communities, self-nurturance, eat and rest well,  confide in a trusted person in case they are faced with a challenging situation, meditate and take their mind to places/things that make them feel happy, and to always love themselves first in order to be able to give back.

“The refresher training helped us to reflect on our peacebuilding work, learn from each other and strategize on how to correct where we had not done well and improve”- Opani Rose, Conflict Monitor, Yumbe District 

By the end of the refresher training participants learnt that conflict early warning prevents conflict from escalating; reviewed how to monitor, analyze, document and report conflict incidences and conflict indicators in their communities, peacebuilding mechanism;  are able to monitor, analyse, document, report and refer conflict incidences and are now able to handle some of the cases they interface with more effectively rather than stopping at reporting. Participants agreed to continue collaborating with peace mediators and analysts to contribute to peace.

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