Socio Economic Empowerment with Peace and Reconciliation
About the publication
- Published: September 2016
- Series: --
- Type: NGO reviews
- Carried out by: Laura Coulter
- Commissioned by: Normisjon
- Country: India
- Theme: Conflict prevention and resolution, peace and security
- Pages: 33
- Serial number: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organization: Normisjon
- Local partner: Lutheran World Service India Trust (LWSIT)
- Project number: QZA-12/0763-163
Lutheran World Service India Trust (LWSIT) is a leading not-for-profit non-governmental organization in India. LWSIT has been working in the areas of disaster relief and integrated development for more than four decades. Its National Office is located in Kolkata and it currently works in the states of Assam, Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
In Assam, LWSIT intervention was initiated after the riots in 1996 and 1998. The focus was initially on Relief (1996-2003) followed by Rehabilitation (2004-2008) and then on Development (2009-2013). The current project – Socio-Economic Empowerment Project for Peace and Reconciliation (SEEPRP) – started in January 2014 and is operating in 2 districts of Assam- Kokrajhar and Chirang targeting 100 communities in five zones.
The Project is supported by Normisjon and, although Project work continues in the areas of development, livelihood and health, the main focus is now on peace and reconciliation. The Project has been in operation for over two years and will continue until 2017. This mid-term evaluation has been requested by Normisjon and facilitated by Mrs. Laura Coulter, Peace Advisor to United Mission to Nepal with assistance from Ms. Natasha Datta, Assistant Manager, Content Development, LWSIT.
- Assess progress made towards the achievement of results at outcome and output levels.
- Determine if the results contribute to the overall goals of peace-building and sustainable development.
- Assess the reasonability of the project financial costs and project activity results.
- Assess performance in terms of the relevance of results, sustainability, shared responsibility and accountability, appropriateness of design, resource allocation and informed and timely action.
- Identify lessons learned and provide inputs and recommendations for the next phase of the project in partnership with Normission.
Unstructured interviews and focus group discussions were held with project beneficiaries and groups who participate in the project activities such as VDCs, SHGs, Village Headmen, students who have received support, PCs and PMFs. Community assets, such as a grain bank, compost pits, goat rearing and a bamboo plantation were checked at several villages.
The evaluator had one meeting with the Project CC, an interview with the two current Project Co-ordinators and a discussion with all staff to assess their understanding of the project. One meeting took place with a government official at Gossaigaon Government Sub-Divisional Office.
A debrief meeting was held at the National Office in Kolkata on 8th September 2016 where the evaluation team shared details of the field visits and discussed the initial findings to the programme staff. Their feedback has been incorporated into this report.
- The formation of the Gaonbura (head of village) Federations has been a strategic and useful step forward to establish more links at local level, which have been important for development of local villages and for active engagement in conflict resolution and peace-building. Project has encouraged women’s empowerment through opportunities for leadership development and using decision-making skills.
- The Peace Mediator Forums (PMFs) and Peace Committees (PCs) model seems to be working well in raising awareness of peace-building and intervening to help with minor village disputes. There seems to be a good involvement of the young people in the Project, but exact figures are difficult to verify.
- More needs to be done to develop local mediators’ skills in order to address conflict and community unrest.
- Income-generation schemes have brought improvements in the level of household food security and the achievement of 36% or 2551 families as now being food secure signals good progress and will hopefully increase over the coming two years
- Project staff recognizes the need for more specialized training in conflict management and mediation skills.
- In the last two years the staff have developed skills on Project management and monitoring project activities. Recent monitoring and reporting systems that have been implemented will help to increase the level and quality of information about the progress of field work.
- Set up formal links between the Gaonbura Federation with the relevant PCs and PMFs in order to strengthen involvement and further strategic links for the PMFs.
- Conduct a conflict analysis of the Project area with the CC and Project Coordinator. This will help in identifying the key actors involved in the conflict and in planning appropriate intervention strategies by Project staff.
- Establish more youth groups so that they are well represented among the 100 targeted communities and are working for sustainable peace.
- Specialized training on peace-building and mediation for staff members’ and PMF members should be organized to build knowledge and skills in order to increase the effectiveness of building peace in a conflict area. Exposure visit to similar projects in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka could be arranged to observe the strategies employed and gain knowledge from different contexts.
- Increase the amount allocated to Peace Education budget to enable further training and support for sustainable peace-building initiatives.
- Increase links between the project and key stakeholders such as police, political and religious leaders, Student Unions and extremist groups.
- Continue to support SHGs to build linkages with banks and other relevant institutions so that more SHGs develop sustainable income generation schemes.
Comments from the organisation
One of the recommendations from this evaluation is to carry out a separate additional conflict analysis to address the relevance of the selected project strategy against the conflict situation in the project area. Normisjon encourages LWSIT to follow-up this as soon as possible and identify areas of improvement.