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value of organized conflict resolution processes
December 01, 2008
Conflict transformation aims to achieve peace. It aims
to end violence and change negative relationships between conflicting
parties as well as change the political, social or economic structures
that cause negative relationships. Conflict transformation is aimed
at empowering people to become involved in non-violent change processes
and to help build sustainable conditions for peace and justice.
society, in their segregated efforts, has been waging peaceful protests
because of the deteriorating socio-economic and political environment.
However, their efforts have largely been ineffectual and a recent
workshop on conflict resolution unpacked a useful tool called Force-field
Analysis to try and understand why civil society is currently in
the state it is in. A focus group discussion came to the conclusion
that it is the lack of coordination by civil society organizations
that is rendering their efforts largely ineffectual.
The focus group
suggested the following as some of the reasons why civil society
is not coordinated:
in a kind of selfishness stemming from the desire to be seen as
more outstanding in implementation as well as to garner donor appreciation
Some civil society
organizations are less committed to teamwork that has the potential
to see real change occur because they thrive on the current chaos.
Their existence is dependent on the continuation of the current
situation and therefore they might not have a desire to see real
with organizing larger scale protest processes could be a major
deterrent from participating in coordinated efforts.
There is a lack
of unity of purpose because civil society organizations do not communicate
well with each other, and they do not try hard to positively foster
individuals willing to kick start the process of forming a more
coordinated movement and managing it.
The crisis in
Zimbabwe has become such that everyone has become more preoccupied
with basic survival and staying afloat so activities like attending
meetings to formulate a coordinated response becomes low priority.
The above list
is not conclusive but it helps us to try and understand where we're
at and how to move forward in achieving a more coordinated civil
society. Using the Force-field Analysis also allowed the focus group
to analyze the existent positives that can help propel civil society
towards forming a more coordinated movement. Here are some examples:
of NGO coalitions like NANGO
and Crisis in Zimbabwe
means that civil society has a starting point for organized and
By coming together
civil society organizations have the opportunity to pool their resources
in order to make a more coordinated movement work.
of the international community not only has the potential to attract
more donor funds, but it also gives participants greater confidence
in the knowledge that they are undertaking a widely accepted form
In order to
effect change there has to be manpower prepared to engage in the
processes. Zimbabwean civil society has demonstrated resilience
in the face of a brutal regime, meaning that the more there are
such individuals working together, the greater the chance of achieving
more effective protest processes. There is also safety in larger
numbers that civil society organizations could benefit from.
can harness as strength, the high stress levels affecting ordinary
Zimbabweans. With the right leadership frustrated citizens would
be prepared to join in coordinated protests that can effect real
This type of
analysis is useful for civil society to understand each other's
positions, to get around their differences and work towards more
meaningful mobilizations in order to end the crises in Zimbabwe.
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