This week, Hope for Women participated in the two-day Workshop on Conflict Analysis organized by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the international NGO Search for Common Ground (SFCG). The workshop was targeted towards various NGO groups in Male’, including ACC, TM, HRCM, DYM, DH, and the National Panel for Peace and Harmony.
During the initial stage of the workshop, participants were brought to the understanding that the term “conflict” is in itself neutral; it is our actions towards dealing with conflict that makes the experience of conflict either negative or positive. Therefore, turning a conflict situation into something productive, that benefits all parties, was highlighted as important.
At the workshop, participants were introduced to the different tools for analyzing conflict. For instance, The Conflict Tree allows analysts to break down the key issue, asking the following questions: “What is the core problem?”, “What are the root causes?”, and “What are the effects that have resulted from that problem”? This tool is noted as being an entry point for joint analysis and planning, to get a basic understanding of the conflict.
Another tool introduced was The Onion, which is a model used to understand the dynamics of a conflict situation. This model is also noted for being helpful before entering into a negotiation, as a means to understand each actor’s interests, positions, and needs. Through this model, analysts recognize three main components in a conflict situation for every single party involved: “positions” (what we say we want), “interests” (what we really want) and “needs” (what we must have). This model, therefore, makes us aware of the distinction between what a group of people allow everyone to see and here, or what they say they want, and what they actually wish to achieve in a conflict situation, what they really want or motivates them.
When analyzing conflicts, the importance of asking questions was highlighted throughout the workshop, specifically asking the question “why” at every level. This, it was noted, allows us to delve deeper into the situation, gaining more insights into the conflict, hopefully resulting in a better understanding of the situation.