Integrated Social Cohesion and Development

Since 2015, our team in Yemen has been working with UNDP to review the success of the 2011 project Integrated Social Cohesion and Development, implemented in the governorates of Taiz and Abyan. The goal of the project was to integrate community-led conflict prevention into development initiatives led by the Government of Yemen.

The review process includes workshops with past participants, in which they reflect on lessons learned and on the original project’s strengths and weaknesses. Based on the result of these workshops, our team is training mediators involved in local peacebuilding who, in turn, lead their own workshops on mediation.

We call these mediators Insider Mediators. They are highly respected and influential insiders within local social and political contexts, who enjoy the trust and respect of their community. With their help, we are able to normalize and institutionalize nonviolent conflict resolution methods at the local level.

Our trainings for Insider Mediators focus on conflict-sensitive mediation techniques, dialogue facilitation, conflict analysis, as well as gender sensitivity and other cross-cutting issues. With our supervision, Insider Mediators lead conflict scans in their communities to understand the roots of violence, identify shared solutions through dialogue between all parties, and implement cooperative peacebuilding initiatives; these include the building of water wells, securing of flood banks, resupplying of health facilities, garbage removal, relocation of displaced people, and other life-saving humanitarian work.

As a consequence, this initiative is able to tackle short-term needs, such as the provision of clean drinking water, while addressing the long-term necessity of preventing conflict and enhancing resilience to violence.