CARE- SIERRA LEONE

1.         Background to ‘The Practice of Conflict Sensitivity Project-concept to Impact’ :

The project “The practice of conflict sensitivity – concept to impact” is intended to strengthen the
practice of conflict sensitivity throughout and beyond a broad consortium of humanitarian, peace-
building and multi-mandate development NGOs.

The project aims to ensure greater impact of development and humanitarian assistance through
improved and more widespread mainstreaming of conflict sensitive approaches. The purpose is to
improve policies and practices that support Conflict Sensitive Approaches (CSA), across a broad
network of NGOs, local partners and donor agencies.

The project will complement efforts by DFID to promote conflict sensitivity and envisages working in
partnership with DFID on some advocacy activities. It will harness collective experience from
development, multi-mandate and peace-building NGOs to document best practice in CSA, build
capacity at institutional and field levels, share learning across broad networks and influence policies
and practices of donors and other NGOs.

Project Objectives:

The project purpose is to improve policies and practices that support CSA across a broad network of
NGOs, local partners and donor agencies.

Project key outcomes:

          Shared understanding of CSA across a network of international and local development,
           humanitarian and peace building organizations;
          Lessons and recommendations for mainstreaming effective CSA across a range of contexts
           and sectors disseminated to policy-makers, donors and practitioners;
          Strengthened expertise and capacity amongst member organizations and civil society
           partners to institutionalize and implement CSA, at HQ and local levels.

The project will contribute to better programming on the ground, whilst stimulating organizational
change within consortium partners, and generating learning and practical recommendations to
promote mainstreaming of conflict-sensitivity across a wide network of policy-makers and

    The Practice of Conflict Sensitivity- Concept to Impact, Care International UK

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What is the CSA pilot project all about? – Conservation Agricultural Project (CAP)

The goal of this three-year project is to introduce innovative agricultural practices that are more
productive and more environmentally sustainable, benefiting 11,000 people, including all land users
and marginalized groups, in 40 communities in Koinadugu district. This will be achieved through
three specific objectives shown below with their correspondent outputs.

Objective 1: Increase the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices by 11,000 people in 40
communities in order to increase productivity and incomes through environmentally friendly use of

1. Output 1.1: Expose 3000 farmers to conservation farming practices through establishment of 40
    demonstration plots;
2. Output 1.2: Improve animal husbandry through access to veterinary services for 120 livestock
    farmers and animal feed, establishment of 20 fish ponds, and improvement of beekeeping
    practices for 20 farmers.
Objective 2: Improve the social and economic position of women and other marginalized groups
(e.g. youth) by fully and directly involving them in agricultural development.

3. Output 2.1: Assist 40 women’s groups in the establishment of profitable fruit and vegetable
   processing enterprises;
4. Output 2.2: Assist 500 youth (members of FFS and VSLA) in getting sustainable access to the
   inputs and technical skills necessary to increase agricultural productivity and value addition.

Objective 3: Establish land use agreements for marginalized groups, including women, livestock
farmers, immigrants and youth

5. Output 3.1: Improve long term access to land for women and other marginalized groups
6. Output 3.2: Prevent and mitigate land conflicts related to gender and ethnicity
The project implementation methodology is built on the platform of the existing CARE Sierra Leone
projects and lessons learned. It will use the following strategies to achieve impact: 1) promoting
conservation agriculture (CA) techniques; 2) encouraging agricultural production diversification; 3)
economically empowering women; 4)improving access to land for women and other marginalized
groups; and 5) preventing and mitigating land conflicts. The project will be implemented by a team
comprising staff from CARE and Future In Our Hands (FIOH), with ad-hoc technical assistance in
innovative practices (conservation techniques, livestock, fish farming, beekeeping and land access)
provided by Agro Eco and Wageningen University.

FIOH is an indigenous Non-Governmental Organization with its main office in Makeni (Bombali
district) and sub-offices in Kabala town (Koinadugu District) and Mile 91 (Tonkolili District). It was
established in 1993 as an offshoot of what was formerly the Yoni Farmers’ Union. It has continued to
build partnerships and linkages with a variety of local and international organizations and is currently
implementing three projects (Livelihoods, Expansion and Assets Development (LEAD) propram,
Villages Savings and Loans (VSL) project and War-Wounded and Amputee Community Support
(WWACS) project with CARE in Koinadugu and Bombali Districts.

The total budget of this project is about USD $1,724,479 covering a period of three years.

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Opening Session:

Participants were welcomed to the workshop following the registration process and briefings on
housekeeping issues by the CARE Team who played host to partners and beneficiaries . The CSA
project Coordinator Fred Goba, re-echoed the purpose of the training as an exercise aimed at
building the capacity of partners of consortium members on one hand and that of developing skills
on how conflict sensitivity approaches can be applied during the project implementation phase.


Participants introduced themselves using the format below:

       Who am I?
       Which organization or project do I work for?
       What is my key responsibility?
       Who is one of my expectations of this workshop?

Quote Of The Day
The following quote was discussed in relation to our pilot project:
        “ If you don’t look
           You don’t know
          If you don’t know
          You don’t look”

Expectations of Participants:

Responding to the question, what is or are your expectations of this workshop? Participants stated
the following expectations although they were ambitious considering that it was only a day’s

    (i) To get a clear understanding of the concept of ‘Conflict Sensitivity’ and the various
          components of CSA
    (ii) To acquire conflict analysis skills
    (iii) To understand what has changed in the CAP Project after the initial analysis
    (iv) To identify causes of conflict in the CAP project
    (v) To acquire conflict management skills
    (vi) To know how to work in a conflict environment
    (vii) To know how to manage a project cycle in a conflict sensitive way

    (viii) To develop skills of managing conflict between animal and crop farmers.

Objectives of the workshop:

    •   To have a clear understanding of the CSA concepts

    •   To improve the CS of selected consortium partner projects

    •   To ensure high professional standards and good practice

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        To improve policies and practices that support CSA within the organisation

        To identify how CS is applied during project implementation phase.

Getting to Understand Conflict Sensitivity Approaches:


Conflict sensitivity is the ability to:

        Understand the context in which you operate

        Understand the interaction between your intervention and the context

        Acting upon the understanding of this interaction, in order to minimize negative impacts and
         maximize positive impacts.


As a consortium, a working definition has been developed relating to the country specific context as
defined below:

         “A conflict sensitive approach involves gaining a sound understanding(through conflict
         analysis)of the two-way interactions between activities and context and acting to minimise
         negative impacts and maximise positive impacts of interventions on conflict, within an
         organisation's given priorities/objectives(mandate).” (CSA Consortium, Sierra Leone).


The participants identified the following as possible causes of tensions in the project environment:

        Lack of understanding of the focus of the project or partner organisation’s mission.

        Individual differences

        Different priorities and interests

        Unequal power relations

        Lack of confidence and trust among group members

        Lack of unity and cooperation among group members

        Demonstration of dishonesty among team members

        Ineffective communication and language barrier.

Theorizing Conflict concepts

Conflict Sensitivity is Based on the hypothesis that:

        Any initiative conducted in a conflict-affected area will interact with that conflict.

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        Such interaction will have consequences that may have positive or negative effects on that

        All interventions be they Humanitarian, Developmental or Peace building in a conflict
         context, have some kind of interaction with that context.


 -   Conflict is caused by ongoing mistrust and hostility between different groups within a
     community. This could be minimised by Improving communication, tolerance, understanding &
     acceptance of diversity in the community.


 - Conflict is caused by incompatible positions during negotiation process. A possible management
strategy would require parties to the negotiation to be able to negotiate on the basis of their
interests rather than fixed positions as this approach will facilitate mutual gain for all parties.


 - Conflict is caused by unmet or frustrated basic human needs. To minimise such tensions, the
challenge would be that of identifying unmet needs and generating options for meeting those needs.


 - Conflict is caused by feelings of threatened identity, hence, recognising the core identity needs,
threats and fears of all parties, would a possible way of managing such tensions.


 - Conflict is caused by incompatibilities between different cultural communication styles. It is
therefore important that partners increase the conflicting parties’ knowledge of each other’s culture
and also to reduce negative stereotypes they have of each other realising that individual differences
do exist.


 - Conflict is caused by real problems of inequality & injustice expressed. To minimise such
problems, it is critical that we develop processes and systems that promote empowerment, justice,
peace, forgiveness, reconciliation & recognition in our communities.


Using a case study approach, participants discussed a case set in Kayonkoya Village in Koinadugu
District to identify the key components of a conflict being: the causes, actors profile ( context) and
the interventions.

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 A short definition of the concept – conflict analysis was discussed as: ‘conflict analysis is a practical
process of examining and understanding the reality of the conflict from a variety of perspectives:
(policy, programme, gender, culture, religion, self-interests etc.) this understanding then forms the
basis on which strategies can be developed and actions planned.’ ( Identification of key players in
the conflict, root causes, effects and possible interventions to minimise the negative impacts of the

Using the Conflict Tree and The Onion as two common conflict analysis tools a simulation exercise
was conducted to facilitate participants hands on in acquiring skills for analysing their given contexts.
The Conflict tree helped them to identify, the root causes, The Core Problem and the effects that
have resulted from the problem ,while the onion helped participants to better understand the
notion of ‘group think’ as individual members of the groups often take their own positions with
different interests and varying needs.


    •   To understand the background and history of the situation as well as current events

    •   To identify all the key actors involved in the conflict

    •   To identify factors and trends that underpin conflict

    •   To learn from failures as well as successes

    •   To know more about how various actors relate to each other


This session gave an opportunity to the participants to share some of the key findings from the
previous project context analysis.

Causes of conflict in the project locations These conclusions were reached following a study of four
chiefdoms in the Koinadugu district that most tensions in the project environment (in 40
communities, aimed at targeting 11,000 people) are caused by:

       Tensions between Agro Versus Pastoralists farmers

       Pastoralist Conflict including cattle theft

        Scarcity of Water

       Politicisation of Land Distribution

       Corruption in dealing with cattle cases and land allocation

       Unequal Power Dynamics ( Abuse of Local Authority)

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       Limited access to water by cattle farmers during the dry season for their animals

       Limited access to grazing areas

       Fewer ‘Cow Boys’ in the warrehs, hence cows are left to wander about. This increases the
        risk of cows grazing on the fresh vegetables and fruits grown by agro farmers.

       Tensions between paramount chiefs and land owners arising from the allocation of land to
        cattle farmers who in turn ‘shower’ them with ‘gifts’ ( cows depending on the size of the
        grazing land requested)

       Heavy fines levied by local authorities on youths ranging from Le 40,000 to Le 100,000 which
        sometimes leads to the migration of these youths from the district whose manpower is
        heavily relied upon for the agricultural activities in the district.

Mapping of key flash points in the project context

As a strategy of updating the context analysis, participants discussed the findings of the previous
project context focusing on ‘what was’ and ‘what is’ still in the project environment:

‘What was’                                           ‘ What is ‘

Tensions between the Agro and pastoralist            Yes, but minimised during the raining season

Cattle theft ( pastoralist conflict)                 Still on the increase despite the stiff jail
                                                     sentences running from three years to five years
                                                     eg. The case in Gbaruria Bambakoro

Scarcity of water                                    Not during the raining season

Politicisation of Land Distribution                  Yes, still prevalent in all chiefdoms

Corruption in dealing with cattle cases and land     Yes, as paramount chiefs and other local
allocation                                           authorities make a living through such funds.

Unequal Power Dynamics ( Abuse of Local              Yes, still very strong

Fire disaster ( Bush Fire)                           No, not during the rains.

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To further identify the ‘dark / blind spots’, participants used the Attitude, Behaviour and Context
tool (ABC) to identify conflict insensitivity issues from the organisation and community perspectives
which included:

COMMUNITY MEMBERS                                     CARE STAFF

Untimely supply of seeds                              High expectations from community members

Supply of unwanted seeds to the community             Comparisons on input and outputs of CAP
                                                      project and other community projects

Supply of Limited seeds and tools to farmer Use of culture and tradition as guiding tools for
groups (FFS)                                farming practice ( CAP seen as a new form of

Unfair payment of transport refunds to and from Lack of corporation towards project activities
workshops, meetings & trainings to host

Ineffective / late communication between staff Too demanding from project staff
and community people.

           Unfulfilled promises by project staff      Misuse of inputs and outputs

The following action points were suggested by participants as possible bridges to fill the gaps
identified as flash points in the project context. This can also be plotted as a pilot strategy to
increase conflict sensitivity within the 12 months period. No timelines or indicators were allocated
to the various activities during the workshop as the one day was not enough for thorough planning.
It is anticipated that the project team will review the issues and actions below to come up with
detailed and SMART activity plan.

Issues                                             Action points Suggested
Water Scarcity                                     Digging of water wells in Warrehs
                                                   Project should prepare paducks to collect water
Abuse of power by local authorities                Project to facilitate open dialogues between land
                                                   Owners and chiefs prior to allocation of lands for
                                                   The construction of warrehs
                                                   Bye-laws should be developed to minimise
                                                   Discrimination against women
Tensions between agro farmers                      Project should facilitate open dialogues between
And pastoralists                                   both farmers.
                                                   Cattle farmers should make fences around warrehs

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                                               FFS members should be prepared to fence their
                                               Facilitating rotation of farming areas, ensuring
                                               Distance between animals and crops
                                               Farmers to be trained to grow folder crops
                                               More cow boys should be encouraged to stay
                                               In the warrehs.
Bush fire                                      Project should facilitate the formation of fire
                                               Force Committees
                                               Fire Force Committee should be trained in disaster
                                               Fire belts should be developed

As a pilot project, the following expectations were discussed and agreed upon as key expected
outcomes of the CSA pilot project:
    (i) Effective documentation of CSA ( flash points, pitfalls, best practices and worst practices)
    (ii) Generate evidence based conflict sensitive lessons the implementation of the project
    (iii) Identify key interactions through comparative analysis
    (iv) Identify what stages of the project that conflict blind decisions occurs and how this is
          checked and adapted
    (v) Devise strategies and options of project to be redesigned with an adoption strategy
    (vi) Use the pilot lessons learned as advocacy messages
    (vii) Develop a CSA tool Checklist

Seventy-five percent of the participants evaluated the workshop through a questionnaire by strongly
agreeing that the content of the workshop met their expectations, while 20% agreed with 5% not
agreeing that their expectations were met. Similarly, eighty percent of the participants agreed that
the venue was not ideal with 20% preferring the venue. Ninety-eight percent of the participants
strongly agreed that the facilitation skills and process met their expectations with two percent
agreeing that it met their expectations but suggested that more time should be allocated for such a

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