The executive director of the Platform for Dialogue and Peace (P4DP), James Shilue, has returned to Monrovia from participating in a weeklong global forum in New York (USA) to articulate findings from a recently completed resilience study entitled: Frameworks for Assessing Resilience (FAR) in Liberia.
FAR is a project led by Interpeace and implemented in collaboration with the Centre for the Studies on Peace and Development (CEPAD), P4DP, Interpeace-Guatemala and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI).
Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
(Sida), FAR was undertaken in Liberia for several objectives, including de-emphasizing fragility and to promote the concept of resilience; lifting local voices into policy arena nationally and internationally; identifying local and national structures that help to build lasting peace and enhance social cohesion, especially as UNMIL draws down; contribute to the new deal objectives of legitimate and inclusive politics; and explore what practical measures women use in dealing with marginalization and other forms of violence.
As in other pilot countries where the project was implemented, FAR projects sought to understand the sources of resilience in society that can be leveraged for building peace.
In Liberia, the project was able to document both existing as well as potential assets and strengths within societies and institutions that enable Liberians to recover from, overcome and prevent violent conflict.
At the end of the study, there were four key findings that demonstrated the resilience of Liberians.
They include marginalization of women in Liberian patriarchal structure; resilience mechanisms women devised against structural and societal threats; perception of a weak state and governance deficits evidence by people’s reliance on innovative and adaptive measures for survival.
The study also observed the threats associated with increasing pressure on land and the absence of effective regulation that creates various responses from Liberia, and most importantly how Liberia responded to Ebola.
The global forum was intended to hear the unique findings from the various participating countries and provided an opportunity for practitioners, policy makers, donors, academics and members of the various multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, to understand and critically reflect and make inputs on draft document that could serve as guidance for assessing resilience for peacebuilding.
The forum, which was organized by International Peacebuilding Alliance (Interpeace), Liberia, Guatemala and Timor Leste, in collaboration with Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, explored a variety of issues.
With resilience for peace building being a new concept, the forum also unpacked the concept and findings from a global lens in order to identify positive peacebuilding resilience assets.
The underlying principle was to deepen the deliberations and understand the nature and sources of societal and community resilience, viewed through a conflict transformation lens, points to the potential that endogenous process of re-stitching the social fabric of relationships damaged by violent conflict.
This will not only serve as retrospective means of adaptation, but also operate as forward looking and preventive in nature.
Shilue highlighted the added values of the research in Liberia and admonished participants, international policy makers, donors, UN entities and multilateral organizations to harness its rich findings, particularly as UNMIL draws down ahead of the pending 2017 election to help consolidate peace and fortify Liberia against stress and long term conflict.