Participatory Community Peace and Conflict Assessment - PCPCA - Advantages and Limitations

  • By integrating local perspectives systemically, conflict parties have to respect different perceptions and realities in the conflict system.  They are encouraged to integrate different conflict aspects in the search for a peaceful solution; as such the conflict transformation work and intervention already starts with the joint assessment;
  • Addressing the root and proxy causes of conflict helps in focusing on the interaction and interdependence of these issues. The method looks at both the problems but also initiates the process of developing solutions that can be generated or stem from within the group;
  • Contributes to enhancing the willingness to compromise, allows for and improves communication amongst the stakeholders, assists in the opening of the negotiation and pre-negotiation process;
  • By supporting the stakeholders and enhancing the structures the necessary conditions can be created which allows the communities to be able to lead and manage the conflict assessment process;
  • Is a structured approach for covering a wide geographic area and large population size in an affordable and realistic manner;
  • Provides a very good baseline for assessing conflict situations in the future and serves as basis for future interventions and monitoring.
  • The assessment questions the existing coping strategies of the community. The coping system has to be carefully “de-constructed” (e.g. un-build the structures of violence as well as to build the capacities for peace) and immediate alternative strategies have to be offered, otherwise the danger will be to leave the community without a proper coping strategy for dealing with the existing conflicts. It is essential to ensure the ability to continue to support the processes that are triggered. This requires the allocation of adequate resources necessary to complete the peace building processes.
  • There is a danger that in any community stories are monopolised, voices and grievances are mainstreamed, accepted and repeated. Those who might contradict these mainstream views are often silenced and ignored;
  • The approach is neither about the truth nor about the right or wrong attitudes, but about the stakeholders’ perceptions of the conflict. There is a danger of opening latent conflicts if the process is left unguided i.e. without some external advice or contingency mechanisms for mediation or a set of criteria that defines when to stop the process;
  • Requires immediate follow-up to ensure that the momentum of ownership is not lost and the transformation processes triggered continues. Otherwise, the stakeholders may become frustrated and will possibly become more entrenched in their positions. Otherwise there is a risk of doing harm in the communities by creating lots of expectations.