be doing a series profiling different organisations that are working
in the arena of conflict prevention, management and peace-building.
It is hoped that sharing information on objectives and programmes,
strategies that have been found effective and problems encountered
will inspire and help others working in this field. We all need
to be peace-builders in Zimbabwe and to learn from the experience
features the Centre
for Conflict Management and Transformation [CCMT], an organization
providing conflict intervention services to communities and organizations,
using training and dialogue as tools for conflict resolution.
Veritas conducted a question and answer interview with CCMT’s
director, to learn more about the organisation’s outreach
programmes, achievements and the challenges it has faced along
Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation
[Q]: What are your organization’s objectives?
[A]: CCMT’s vision is to promote “a society
where people actively participate in creating social and economic
justice by managing and transforming all forms of conflict constructively”.
CCMT’s objectives are to raise awareness and enhance the
capacities of communities in conflict transformation to enable
them to deal with their conflicts constructively. We do this using
capacity building, intervention and research.
management and resolution are difficult enough in less complicated
situations, how has the concept been received in the polarized
political atmosphere prevailing in Zimbabwe.?
Our work has been very well received in both the urban and rural
areas. Our approach is to sensitize communities on what we offer
but it is up to them to identify problems and disputes affecting
them. We do not go into communities to dictate but to facilitate
dialogue and help them tackle the issues they see as problems.
Does your initiative have the support of politicians?
A: We work
within the framework created by the political environment at the
grassroots level, mainly through local government structures which
include district councils, elected local officials and legislative
representatives. Members of Parliament attend our workshops. If
we are required to seek authorization from the DA to enter a community,
Q: Do you
intervene in conflict situations by invitation from the community
A: Yes, we
intervene only by invitation. However, not every community experiencing
problems knows about CCMT. If we see a problem, we may go into
a community to organize a workshop to sensitize community leaders
about our work. But after that it is up to them to invite us or
Q: Tell us
about some situations CCMT has tackled and whether long-term impacts
have been achieved in the communities in question?
resolution associations have been formed as a result of CCMT’s
work. We support such associations in Epworth, Chitungiza, Mbare,
Kuwadzana, Highfield and Tafara-Mabvuku in Harare. Other associations
are in Rujeko and Mucheke in Masvingo and Mkoba North and South
Q: How do
you ensure that communities feel they own the process rather than
that CCMT imposes or prescribes solutions?
A: We clarify
the role that CCMT is able to play; we only go in as facilitators.
CCMT’s role is to create a safe space where conflicting
parties can discuss and identify solutions to their problems.
We do not impose or prescribe solutions, those have to come from
Q: What are
the measures that communities emerging from conflict situations
must take to ensure that they do not relapse into violence and
A: When we
facilitate dialogue between conflicting parties, we make sure
participants internalize the process and that way learn relevant
skills. CCMT’s hope is that they can use these skills beyond
the specific intervention. In the main, we try to impart skills
for communicating in a non-violent way. We also equip communities
with skills to analyse a conflict so that they can identify its
root causes and work on them.
Q: It is common
knowledge that in any conflict situation, it is women and children
who bear the brunt. Does CCMT take this into consideration when
implementing outreach initiatives?
A: While it
is true that women and children bear the brunt in conflict situations,
the creation and exacerbation of a conflict is a collective responsibility.
All members of a community bear responsibility. Therefore our
approach is as inclusive as possible. We recognize that women
are an intrinsic part of the community and can play a vital role
through their ability to influence as mothers and nurturers. We
believe it is good to equip them with skills to deal with conflict,
but do not regard them as a separate entity.
Q: Apart from
conflict linked to political affiliation and land occupation,
what other issues spark disputes within communities?
A: Every day
disputes are the ones that give rise to political conflict as
people will seize on them, misinterpret them and take them out
of context. As an example, CCMT is facilitating the resolution
of disputes in schools between parents, school development associations
and school administrations.
Q: The work
of CCMT involves giving communities capacity to manage conflict.
Tell us about CCMT’s training programmes?
A: We provide
training linked to specific interventions. If a particular intervention
is needed, we bring in training for it. To cite an example, in
one area of Zimbabwe we have brought together a group of headmasters
to equip them with conflict management and transformation skills
to deal with disputes within their field of professional operation.
Ideally, however, it is the conflict that defines the training
needs. It should not be the other way around.
Q: How does
CCMT liaise with other organizations undertaking similar work
so as to avoid duplication?
A: We are
part of the Peace-Building Network of Zimbabwe whose very purpose
is to enhance co-ordination among organizations involved in peace
building. At community level we network with organizations operating
in the same districts. This rules out unnecessary duplication.
Q: Has the
existence of the government of national unity created a better
operating environment for CCMT?
A: Yes, it
has created a better operating environment in that communities
are more open to assistance from outside and there is more tolerance
between conflicting political groups. This has generally created
a more conducive environment. We hope to work towards maintaining
and enhancing it
to handle differences amicably must be instilled early in life.
Does CCMT have programmes specially tailored for schools and youth
A: We do not
have any programmes for pupils in schools, but are initiating
a pilot project in association with the National University of
Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo. This involves building
up intervention skills within a select group that includes students,
lecturers, university administration and support staff. This is
in recognition of the fact that universities and other tertiary
institutions are hotbeds of conflict. We will assess the success
of the pilot project and decide where we go from there.
Q: How do
you disseminate information about your programmes and successes
so that communities in conflict can benefit?
A: We are
currently developing a strategy by building up our research department
which will package and disseminate our information.
Q: What are
some of the challenges CCMT has faced along the way?
A: One that
comes to mind immediately is the imbalance between the work that
needs to be done and the availability of resources to do the work.
An additional challenge is CCMT’s ability to be flexible
in responding to situations on the ground. Funding partners expect
specific outcomes from specific areas in specific timeframes and
this can be very limiting when a situation demanding immediate
We would be
pleased to hear from any organisations working for peace that
would like their work featured. We are aware that some organisations
are working in very difficult circumstances and cannot therefore
give us full details of their work, for the sake of the communities
they work with. But any strategies that can be shared are of interest.
We have a policy of sending a profile to the Director of the organisation
featured for the go-ahead before it is distributed by Peace Watch.
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot
take legal responsibility for information supplied.