This is the second in a series of guest blogs written by current VCD student. This week Shiori Ueki asks...
Since 2017, Japanesenon-governmental organization has started a peacebuilding programme through sports in the northern part of Uganda where many refugees from South Sudan live. The programme aims at preventing conflicts by intercultural understanding between Ugandan people and refugees playing football together. In other words, teamwork and interculturalunderstanding play an important role for peacebuilding. At the same time, to prevent recurrence of conflicts it’s important to create job opportunities for people who are the victims of conflicts because of the relationshipbetween economic development and conflict. In this blog, I argue that peacebuilding approaches by intercultural understanding and creating employment impact people differently comparing two cases.
Peacebuilding in South Sudan by NGO
JapanCenter for Conflict Prevention (JCCP), an international NGO, runs the conflict management projects aimed at strengthening community resilience by training young leaders as intermediaries and by expanding ethnic harmonization through vegetable growing activities within opposing communities.
JCCP has started the project In Juba, South Sudan in 2016, which targets youth in opposing communities especially who are going to be the leaders for next generation. There is the tension between the indigenous people and the people from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps which provide people who are forced to flee from his/her home but still remain within their home country to stay safe. JCCP is running conflict management programmes for both communities to resolve the emerging conflicts inside and outside of the IDP camps. This programme intends to train youth to be intermediaries who would be inspiring community members rather than educating random individuals, resulting in exponentially improving the awareness of understanding the backbone of cultural differences in the future. The selected participants learn a competence to manage ongoing community conflicts through leadership training programme and subsequently immerse themselves in dealing with opposing ethnic groups including outside of the leadership programme by cooperating vegetable growing activities. Through this initiative, people can promote not only mutual understanding but learning the way of processing foods for preserving it longer or cooking easily which contributes to overcome the seasonal issues with serious shortage of food.
Training future leaders, learning methods to manage conflicts and other things without violence or co-working with different ethnic groups' people play an important role to prevent and reduce conflicts within and outside of the community.
Peacebuilding through business in Bosnia
BHcrafts, an enterprise in Bosnia, runs a business of handmade crafts by women from Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve both their lives and their families while also conducting a programme for training the youth to run business with cultural heritage.
BHcrafts is an enterprise which started after the highly destructive Bosnian War in 1995, it employed more than 500 women from Bosnia and Herzegovina who became victims of the war and lost their families or homes. BHcrafts decided to give these women opportunities to move forward by generating employment for them. This project contributes to helping women’s past and intercultural understanding between people in opposing sides by working together.
BHcrafts has also implemented 'Youth In Crafts' programme for 8 months since August 2018, targeting around 60 people aged 17 to 23 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through workshops, the youths can learn about social entrepreneurship on BHcrafts model, about filming videos to preserve cultural heritage and about their country's cultural heritage that can be economic resource. This programme's goal is to engage the youths in BHcrafts business. Through this programme, the young will be active, create self-employment opportunities, utilise cultural heritage as economic resource and preserve it for the future generations.
Let’s compare these cases.
The common thing is that they both make products with an aim to combat conflicts in the communities by cooperating activities. But they have 3 differences; whether they sell the products or not, the scale of impact and the requirements to implement the programme in Table 1.
Firstly, JCCP does not generate revenue from the products that participants make during the programme so they might lose job opportunities. On the contrary, BHcrafts generates profits and contributes to provide the job opportunities. According to World Development Report 2011, unemployment is one of the key factors that causes violent conflicts. The Bhcrafts' project therefore would contribute to conflict prevention as it offers job opportunities to people.
Secondly, the type of approach to prevent the conflicts is different. The impact of the JCCP programme can be measured by the increased number of the people who understand and accept opposing culture or perspective via training leaders, which would be exponentially expanding illustrated in Figure 1. This is because training leaders acts as influencers raising awareness in the communities. People around the leaders learn how to response to conflicts from their behaviors and even eventually admire their attitudes. In contrast, BHcrafts focuses on promoting the employees’ intercultural understanding rather than educating people across communities. People who can understand the cultural difference might be confined within the employees in Figure 2.
Figure 1: Impacts given by JCCP programme by author
Figure 2: impacts given by BHcrafts programme by author
Thirdly, what they need to implement the programme is different. JCCP programme needs to incentivise people to participate in the programme without salary. In other words, participants are required to be able to afford for their living expenditure during the programme. In contrast, the Bhcrafts creates job opportunities for the local under the condition that needs the established eco-system where company can run their business with sustainability in the country, for instance, accessibility to financial resources, labor force, material resources that would help them generate the profits.
Taking two cases as examples of peacebuilding by intercultural understanding there are many differences between the NGO and the enterprise. NGO projects do not create job opportunities, but it can exponentially improve an awareness. In contrast, enterprise might confine the number of participating people, however, they give job opportunities and contribute to the country's economy. If you are the practitioner aiming at prevailing in intercultural understanding, which would you like to choose, or to prefer hybrid?