Participatory Community Peace and Conflict Assessment - PCPCA - Brief Description


The Participatory Community Peace and Conflict Assessment (PCPCA) is a method for gaining a more detailed understanding of causes, actors, and dynamics of the conflict as well as to encourage the elaboration of solutions and proposals for addressing the conflicts. This involves developing a vision for the future and identifying the peace building needs and the necessary interventions to start addressing these needs.
The process need to involve and preferably be led by the conflict parties. This is necessary in order to:

  • gain a more “localised” understanding of the conflict situation;
  • achieve greater ownership and learning by the conflict parties;
  • provide important entry points for subsequent locally adjusted peace building actions;

Typically, conflict assessments tend to be externally driven approaches. In many cases the assessments are designed by specialists who are external to the conflict and in many cases do not even have the necessary know-how of the local areas or the country. This “external” view of the conflict has its merits, it allows for a neutral, unbiased and academic view of the conflict situation. However, the peace building proposals that stem from such assessments are often not “owned” by the conflict parties and therefore do not always lead to a sustainable transformation of the conflict.

The strength of the participatory community approach outlined in this method lies in that it provides ways of reducing complexity, it describes how to engage the conflict stakeholders in a constructive manner and ways in which the whole process can be driven by the conflict-stakeholders directly. By seeking to address conflicts in a constructive manner, the approach also has a strong peace-building element embedded within the process.

The participatory approach itself is part of the intervention measures to address and eventually resolve conflicts.

Essential is that the whole process is only suitable if further engagements are planned and will be financed in the communities after the assessment process has been completed.

There is a wealth of literature available on the multitude of different aspects of conflict assessments and analysis. The following methodology has been derived from a recently conducted Participatory Conflict Assessment in the Philippines and is also based upon key elements of the systemic approach outlined by Ropers et al. (Ropers, 2008).