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Conflict Transformation

Conflict Transformation Interventions: opening channels

Once the terrain is understood, the real work begins. PaCSIA’s conflict transformation interventions are multi-faceted, employing a range of methodologies from dialogue facilitation to mediation and workshops. Each of these avenues serves a specific purpose. Dialogues aim to open channels of communication, mediation and facilitation seek to find common ground, and workshops impart the skills needed for stakeholders to navigate their own paths to peace.

Methodologies are chosen based on our initial dialogical engagement with stakeholders and local communities and we discuss and develop the methodologies in partnership with our local collaborators. Reflective practice and our action learning approach allows us to consistently adapt the design and to listen to local stakeholders in the conflict so that they know their voices are heard. The dialogical approach also adds our own experience and allows us to connect stakeholders from one community with the experiences from a different community or group.
All our interventions are facilitative and we do not consider ourselves experts or all-knowing teachers but respectful co-learners with the communities we interact with. Often we become mediators between local groups of peacebuilders and donors or the international community. Through our sustained engagement, openness and transparency we engender trust with many different stakeholders and this gives us the legitimacy to bring them together and mediate exchanges. We also aim to always elevate and emphasise the voices of people at the grassroots-level to national, regional and international stakeholders. We do this through narrative approaches to dialogue and reporting that help communities to tell their own stories and to control what they share and with whom. At all times do we respect confidentiality and ensure the safety of the people that we work with.
In our Bougainville Transition Dialogues project we utilise participatory video, in the form of the Wokabaut Senis video series (available on our YouTube channel) to elevate the voices of Bougainvillean communities at the village level. Communities share stories of peacebuilding, economic development, of sharing culture and custom through short videos captured by our local facilitator teams. These videos are shared among the teams to create knowledge sharing and dialogue across Bougainville and are also provided to the international community through PaCSIA’s YouTube channel. Communities and local facilitators have complete control over the stories that they want to tell and the videos are being edited and published by a Bougainvillean film-maker.
The Wokabaut Senis videos are only one example of the use of creative arts by PaCSIA. We are deeply involved in research and practice drawing on local art and craft, including dance, weaving, drama, story-telling, carving, music and visual arts. Artistic expression allows for a much more emotional engagement regarding conflict and peace than political dialogue or mediation. Artists often can speak the unspeakable (or dance it) and touch people in their hearts and soul. The use of art in peacebuilding encourages mutuality, sharing of experience, conviviality and deepening of relationships.