Strengthening Communities’ Capacity to Mitigate Conflict and Advance Reconciliation
With a final peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed in November 2016, Colombia is currently turning the page on half a century of armed conflict. Despite the promise of peace, tremendous difficulties persist in conflict-affected regions. Against this backdrop, the USAID-funded Program of Alliances for Reconciliation (PAR) accepts the challenge of carving out a space for reconciliation, bringing together actors from all corners of society and transforming mentalities marked by war, intolerance, and fear.
At this pivotal time in Colombia’s history, the ACDI/VOCA team is excited about supporting inclusive and lasting peace for the Colombian people. PAR aims to ensure that Colombians are better prepared to come to terms with the past, strengthen communities’ capacity to mitigate conflicts, and actively embrace and advance reconciliation.
- Enhance the Government of Colombia’s (GOC) capacity to address truth telling and memory
- Increase civil society’s knowledge of the consequences of the conflict and awareness of the importance of reconciliation
- Foment reconciliation-oriented behavioral change by fostering strategic public-private alliances to support community reconciliation initiatives
Project Activities & Approaches
PAR will implement a facilitative approach underpinned by ACDI/VOCA’s understanding that Colombians must be informed and educated about the conflict (information), recognize that they are part of the solution (awareness), and be willing to participate in that process (action/change). PAR expects to carry out the following activities:
- Provide practical support for establishing the Truth Commission (TC), provide technical assistance during the TC’s implementation, incorporate international best practices, and develop information dissemination strategies.
- Provide technical assistance to the Center for Historical Memory (CHM) to deepen its geographic coverage, strengthen national and local memory and truth-telling initiatives, and implement the CHM’s communications and outreach strategy.
- Partner with GOC entities, private-sector firms, and the media to develop multimedia messaging campaigns geared at increasing citizen engagement and promoting shifts in attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors
- Implement a grant fund to promote initiatives through which communities and individuals build trust and strengthen relationships, including dialogue, income generation, and cultural and sports activities, among other interactions
- Incorporate gender, social inclusion, and psychosocial support initiatives into all phases of program activities
Anticipated Project Results
- TC, CHM, and community-level reconciliation efforts strengthened to collectively enable Colombians to better address the past
- Public opinion shaped through effective multiple stakeholder-driven communications campaigns in favor of reconciliation
- Trust and relationships rebuilt within communities and capacity to mitigate conflict and advance reconciliation increased
- Private sector, government, and civil society linked to secure one-to-one leveraging of all reconciliation initiatives, ensuring buy-in from stakeholders and long-term sustainability
- Existing gaps—based on gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability—narrowed
- Vulnerable populations included in community-based reconciliation initiatives
Project Specialist: Yamil A. Roger Nasser, email@example.com
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