Cycles of violence: gender relations and armed conflict
Publisher: Agency for Co-operation and Research in Development
Publication Date: Jan 2005
This book describes the ACORD research project 'Gender-Sensitive Programme Design and Planning in Conflict-Affected Situations’, which was carried out in 2000 and 2001. ACORD is an Africa-led development organisation working with poor and marginalised communities in 18 Africa countries against social injustice and exclusion. The overall aim of this research project was to enhance gender-awareness in the design and management of development projects in contexts affected by conflict. The field research was carried out by five community-based programmes in Sudan, Uganda, Angola, Mali and Somalia; all of which had been operating in an environment of armed and violent conflict for a number of years, and all of which had employed a strong gender focus in their community support work. Workshops in Timbuku, Nairobi and London were instrumental in developing the ideas and methods used in this research. This publication has been compiled from original contributions made by the research team. The researches find that development agencies have generally tended to move towards the adoption of 'conflict-sensitive approaches to development'; and much progress has been made in adapting the processes of development agencies (programme design, monitoring and evaluation, etc.) to this new approach. However, the authors conclude that development agencies should change their approach to peace-building: adopting a deep focus on contextual understanding, and working more on enhancing a gendered perspective on conflict-sensitive development. The authors conclude that agencies must now address conflict issues directly, rather than struggling to carry out 'traditional' development work in difficult surroundings. There are mind-set changes needed at many levels, including working 'in' rather than 'on' conflict, addressing the psycho-social and political dimensions of conflict impacts, rather than just the material deprivations, for example. Another recommendation is that that agencies should see themselves less as purveyors of services and material assistance, and more as supports to communities in creating the conditions for the emergence of new identities and social values.