19 July 2012 zichtbaarzijn

A Face to Face meeting for practitioners working on conflict transformation and democratisation in Africa, Asia and Latin America: sharing experiences from practice and formulating a joint working agenda.

By Saskia van Drunen

In April 2012, the Dutch development organisation ICCO organised a second Face to Face meeting for the Programme Officers (POs) of the various regional offices that are working on the themes of conflict transformation and democratisation. Fair & Sustainable Advisory Services (FSAS) was asked to provide support in the preparation and facilitation of the five days’ workshop, and to prepare a detailed report and a summary of the main conclusions of the encounter.

The first Face to Face meeting took place in September 2011, and was organised jointly by the Conflict Transformation and Democratisation specialists and the Gender and Rights Based Approach specialist. It strongly focused on familiarising POs with ICCO’s policies and concepts on conflict transformation and democratisation, Gender and Rights Based Approach (see blog for more information). This second encounter took a slightly different approach. It focused on specific themes that are particularly relevant to the current practice of POs working on conflict transformation and democratisation, and aimed at stimulating reflection on these themes taking their concrete experiences as a starting point. The workshop was to lead to a concrete follow-up agenda on how to develop these themes further, including a clear task division. Thus, the workshop had the character of a five days working session leading to new insights and concrete agreements on the way forward for the conflict transformation and democratisation program.

The themes that were selected were:

  • Exploring the linkages between ICCO’s Fair Economic Development programme, and its Conflict Transformation and Democratisation programme: what can both programmes contribute to each other? And what happens in practice already?
  • Supporting operational space for civil society organisations: what can ICCO’s role be in this context? What can civil society organisations themselves do to increase their operational space?
  • ICCO’s contribution to initiatives that are taking place on access to land and natural resources: what should ICCO’s focus be within the broad theme of rights and natural resources? What opportunities do we see for lobby on this issue?

Each one of these themes was the subject of an entire day during the workshop, which alternated presentations, plenary discussions and working group sessions. Another full day was dedicated to introducing the Theory of Change as a methodology that can be very useful in strategic planning processes. The last day of the workshop was used for exchange on internal issues and for the formulation of a concrete follow up agenda. The workshop led to fruitful exchanges between the POs and permitted to identify those aspects that require further attention. Having the time and the space to share experiences and receive and give advice on how to deal with concrete dilemmas that emerged in practice, generated a lot of positive energy and new insights. These will certainly feed the programmes at the regional level. 

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