Strengthening Resilience

In fragile and conflict-affected countries, civil strife pins communities against each other as spoilers manipulate existing tensions, deepening fault lines and fracturing relationships.

Nathalie Al-Zyoud with Communities in Transition introduced future policy-makers, strategic planners, and program managers at George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs, to concepts of resilience in the peacebuilding field.

Violent conflict can have a devastating impact on the social fabric of a country and disrupt patterns of inter-group convergence.  It can affect a community’s ability to maintain a positive peace, or press for change non-violently, manage grievances, maintain order in the absence of the rule of law or consolidate gains once the open conflict has subsided.

To opt out or overcome an eruption in violence, communities need to possess enabling social characteristic and institutional processes to help mitigate, adapt, recover, thrive and learn from a violent outbreak.

If the peace infrastructure characterized by a leadership who incentivizes practices, norms and policies that support trusting inter-group relationships, nationalism, a respect for diversity, a sense of belonging and a common vision for the future does not exist, a community crumbles in utter chaos.

Rebuilding patterns of trust networks and communication through repairing the harm that has been done, transforming the intense emotions emanating from the trauma of experiencing brutal violence, and re-establishing local grievance mechanisms, are needed first steps to help a community stand back up and begin to resolve the root causes that almost brought it to its knees.

 

 

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