“Documenting Impact of Community Peacebuilding in the Post-Yugoslav Region as a Basis for Policy–Framework Development”




Since the beginning of wars in the post-Yugoslav region in 1991, at first weak and later stronger and more innovative peacebuilding initiatives have given a major contribution to the societal transition from violence to democracy, which was most visible in the 2000 citizen mobilization that led to the election of moderate and democratic political forces in Croatia, FRY and, to a smaller degree, in B-H. Despite the fact that different indigenous civil initiatives with peacebuilding missions have been developing slowly at the community-based (”grassroots”) level, contributing to the empowerment of citizens, their work remains undocumented and largely invisible in the national and regional public policy arenas. Their impact, although visible at times of elections, has not been not fully researched in a way which would allow for presentation of locally devised methodologies and their relevance to long-term stability, democratization and social development.
The intention of this research is to start filing the existent gap, by validation of contextualized evaluation criteria and their application on eighteen carefully selected grassroots projects, among which two thirds are explicitly committed to peacebuilding, while the remaining third represent a control group of diverse community-development projects. The findings would enable the discovery of patterns of successful practices, which can be used not only for the improvement of present projects in the border areas of Croatia, B-H and Serbia, but also for timely integration of long-term peacebuilding strategies into the stability and development policy frameworks at the local, national and regional levels in the whole post-Yugoslav region and Southeastern Europe.

Over the past decade, parallel to diplomatic-military operations and political negotiations related to the break-up of Yugoslavia, a number of diverse grassroots peace initiatives and projects emerged in the war-stricken parts of the new political entities in the post-Yugoslav region. They were supported and initiated by various actors, including local NGOs, community groups as well as international donor agencies, relief and development NGOs and peace organizations, which had very different degrees of experience in the region, different and often implicit understandings of peacebuilding and different restrictions in terms of their mandates.

Due to an acute sense of urgency regarding timely implementation, continuous pressures for securing trend-based funds, lack of experience with any formal methods of evaluation apart those externally induced by Western donors , as well as strong identification with community members and their needs, most local projects had little capacity to document, reflect upon and evaluate their work, especially in ways which would be meaningful and useful to them and their counterparts in the region.

Ten years after the emergence of the first peace initiatives, the past and present practices remain scarcely documented and interpreted in ways which would include the perspectives of all peacebuilding actors (stakeholders) and which would be useful to the local policy-making. In the new post-war realm, where the new government of Croatia is open to cooperation with NGOs and at least declaratively supportive of integrated approach to refugee return and post-war development, while remaining incapable of initiating the design of policies supportive of long-term peacebuilding at the community level, there is a consensus among peace activists in Croatia that documenting the past and present peace practices and their critical review are necessary for the generation of locally relevant models of community peacebuilding, which could be further developed, adapted to new settings and even presented to the government.

Documentation and analysis of local peacebuilding practices from the Western Balkans would provide a valuable resource for social innovation in the area of conflict transformation, which seems necessary in the light of persisting political crisis in Macedonia and status quo in Kosovo, where inter-ethnic distrust and top-down political, developmental and military solutions continue to prevail.

Similarly, at the regional level, Stability Pact for SE Europe offers at least political endorsement for greater coordination between governments in the SEE region and cross-sector networking for the purpose of devising complementary and viable policies and programs for sustainable security and peace. However, great expectations stemming from the political agreement in Sarajevo to synergize long-term stability and social and economic development efforts were not matched with adequate financial commitment. Lack of experience in such complex inter-governmental, cross-sectoral coordination contributes to insufficient focus on the most invisible and politically least powerful forms of social organizing. Documentation and impact analysis of existing, locally relevant community-based peacebuilding projects is a necessary and currently missing input into this regional process of conceptualizing a stable and prosperous future of Southeastern Europe.

The key element in reviewing the local peacebuilding practices is the exploration of implicit and explicit evaluation criteria, as constructed by diverse stakeholders (including community members/project beneficiaries, peacebuilding activists/project organizers, local and national decision makers and donors), that could give insight into the actual perceptions of points of relevance of these practices to the war-stricken locales. If best practices or local peacebuilding models were to be generated and presented to the Croatian peace movement, general public, Croatian and other governments in the region and regional mechanisms, such as Stability Pact for SEE as well as donors and other agents of change, such as Open Society Institute, it is necessary to:

1) Validate those evaluation criteria that would be both meaningful in a broader range of communities and sensitive to the specificity and uniqueness of each local approach. On the basis of my past evaluation research of various peacebuilding projects in the region (the most recent study of the Peace Teams Project of the Center for Peace, Nonviolence and Human rights Osijek) and overview of peacebuilding literature (primarily Lederach, Stubbs, Rothman, Fetherston), I propose the following criteria as a starting point for empirical validation and further theoretical elaboration:

1.Impact on livelihoods / Capacity to respond to strategic needs of the community;

2. Impact on social integration /Mobilization of peace constituents;

3. Impact on local culture of peacebuilding and conflict;

4. Impact on social infrastructure and political structures/ Transformational capacity responsiveness;
4.1.Transformative capacity of the organizational structure for peacebuilding
4.2.Impact on peacebuilding practices elsewhere

Validation will be conducted on three current peacebuilding projects, one of which is already specified - “The Peace Teams” project of the Center for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights from Osijek, Eastern Slavonia. The project’s first phase lasted for two years (1998-2000) and took place in six small towns or villages in the former UNTAES (United Nations Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia 1996-98) and UNPA (former United Nations Protected Area Sector West 1992-95) zones, i.e. parts of Croatia severely affected by war-related atrocities, migrations and shifts in governance and political control. As I was one of the three evaluators who conducted the impact assessment of the project’s first phase in summer 2000, I am familiar and involved in the research back-up of its second phase, which will focus on the establishment of local councils for dialogue and tolerance that will be integrated into the local government structure.
A series of validation workshops will be organized to include peacebuilding practitioners from the examined projects as well as other peacebuilding evaluators with extensive experience in the post-Yugoslav region. Methods will include participant observation, semi-structured interviewing, social network analysis, focus groups, workshops, document analysis and questionnaires

2) Apply developed criteria (with contextual modifications) to document and assess impact and transformative potential of nine community-based peacebuilding projects and six community-development projects, which are not explicitly committed to peacebuilding. The latter category of projects will serve as a control group for assessing the significance of self-identification with peacebuilding for successful practice, as well as opportunity to explore peacebuilding potential of a greater pool of community-based practices. Two thirds of selected projects will have to operate in the cross-border region between Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and FRY, while the remaining third will be selected from Kosovo and Macedonia. Methods will include participant observation, semi-structured interviewing, social network analysis, focus groups, workshops, document analysis and questionnaires.

3) Through comparative analysis, articulate (a) range of impact, (b) conducive organizational structures and (c) prerequisites for sustainability (focus on relevant governmental and multilateral support), of community peacebuilding projects in the post) Yugoslav region, which can be used as a basis for improvement of existing peacebuilding practices region-wide and developing and/or enriching national and regional peacebuilding policy frameworks (primary focus on Croatia and Stability Pact for SE Europe).

1. Improvement of peacebuilding practices and accompanying evaluation procedures of peacebuilding practitioners in the post-Yugoslav region. Results will be further contextualized, discussed and disseminated in collaboration with Center for Peace Studies, Zagreb; Center for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights, Osijek; MOST Belgrade; Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Banja Luka, Bureau for Human Rights Tuzla, Youth Center Gornji Vakuf/Uskoplje, B-H and other local organizations with explicit peacebuilding mandate in all post-Yugoslav countries.

2. A policy paper on impact and prerequisites (including institutional support) for sustainable peacebuilding at the community level will be used as a lobbying tool by the Croatian peacebuilding practitioners and presented to the Croatian parliamentarians; Ministry of Reconstruction, Government Office of Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Stability Pact Department); local government officials in all towns and regions where research will be conducted. The policy paper will serve as a basis of further, two-year research on the prerequisites for the development of a comprehensive, national peacebuilding policy framework, which will necessarily include analysis of institutional mechanisms and legal frameworks with potential to support sustainability of community-based peacebuilding efforts.

3. Development of a regionally relevant set of guidelines for effective support for sustainability for community-based peacebuilding projects, which can be used as a preliminary resource for advocacy with other governments, donor community and regional mechanisms such as Stability Pact for SE Europe for future development of comprehensive peacebuilding policy frameworks.



“Društveni utjecaj lokalnih projekata izgradnje mira u post-jugoslavenskim zemljama”

Ovo istrazivanje zapocelo je u ozujku 2002 i trajat ce najmanje godinu dana, uz institucionalnu podrsku Centra za mirovne studije iz Zagreba i financijsku podrsku Instituta otvoreno drustvo iz Budimpesta (International Policy Fellowship Program), te u suradnji s nizom organizacija, kao sto je i Centar za mir Osijek, voljnih da svoje potrebe za procjenom utjecaja vlastitog djelovanja uvezu s potrebama ovog istrazivackog pothvata, cija je glavna svrha prikazati vrijednost rada na izgradnji mira u postjugoslavenskoj regiji.

Usprkos cinjenici da su mnoge domace civilne inicijative s misijom izgradnje mira niknule u ratnim i poslijeratnim zajednicama Hrvatske, Bosne i Hercegovine, Kosova, Makedonije i SR Jugoslavije, njihovo djelovanje ostaje nevidljivo u javnosti te prilikom formiranja nacionalnih i regionalnih politika koje se ticu poslijeratne obnove i razvoja. Drustveni utjecaj tih inicijativa nije dovoljno istrazen, uz neke iznimke poput Projekta Mirovnih timova Centra za mir Osijek, na nacin koji bi omogucio predstavljanje i prijenos domacih pristupa, izniklih iz iskustva prezivljavanja i transformacije sukoba posljednjih deset godina. Uslijed potrebe za sto hitnijim djelovanjem, stalnim pritiscima za nabavkom vecinom stranih financijskih sredstava, opterecenih promjenjivim donatorskim prioritetima; nedostatka iskustva s formalnim metodama evaluacije osim s onima koje su provodili zapadni donatori; kao i zbog snazne identifikacije s potrebama stanovnistva u ratnim i poslijeratnim sredinama, vecina je mirovnih projekata imala malo mogucnosti da dokumentira, promislja i procjenjuje vlastito djelovanje, narocito na nacine koji bi omogucili prijenos tih iskustava i posluzili kao temelj javnog zagovaranja. S druge strane, vanjske su evaluacije provodili strani konzultanti, prvenstveno zadovoljavajuci donatorske interese ili pak gostujuci znanstvenici sa stranih sveucilista i instituta radi vlastitih istrazivackih interesa

Iako se o nama mnogo pisalo, malo je evaluacijskih nalaza i znanstvenih clanaka stvoreno u suradnji s domacim mirovnim aktivistima te dostupno na domacim jezicima u domacim organizacijama. Bez dokumentiranih primjera, nemoguce je lokalni rad na izgradnji mira ugraditi u nacionalne, pa i medjunarodne politike.
Na osnovu vlastitih iskustava organizacije i evaluacije mirovnih projekata, te na tragu Johna Paula Lederacha, americkog mirovnog aktivista i istrazivaca, izgradnju mira shvacam kao siroki spektar drustvenih aktivnosti kojima se stvaraju i osnazuju vertikalne i horizontalne drustvene veze, pospjesuje zadovoljenje ljudskih potreba, stvara prostor za konstruktivnu, nenasilnu transformaciju sukoba i utjece na veci senzibilitet drustvenih institucija za drustvenu pravdu te opcenito djeluje na stvaranje kulture mira i dijaloga. Izgradnja mira trajan je proces preoblikovanja drustvenih odnosa koji omogucuje drugaciju upotrebu i pravedniju raspodjelu moci na razini pojedinaca, institucija, zajednica te cijelog drustva i kulture.

Namjera je ovog istrazivanja doprinijeti popunjavanju postojeceg jaza izmedju bogate domace mirovne prakse i manjka potkrijepljenih argumenata za vaznost oblikovanja politike izgradnje mira u Hrvatskoj i drugim postjugoslavenskim zemljama. Zelim prikazati drustveni utjecaj barem deset inicijativa izgradnje mira u Hrvatskoj, Bosni i Hercegovini, Juznoj Srbiji i na Kosovu, koji cu istraziti metodom «studija slucaja» (case study), uz pomoc kriterija za transformativnu izgradnju mira, prosteklih iz promisljanja vise teorijskih pristupa te evaluacijskog procesa projekta Mirovnih timova CZMOS-a u kojem sam i sama sudjelovala. Primjeri ce obuhvatiti kako one projekte koji svoje djelovanje izrijekom povezuju s izgradnjom mira, tako i one koji sebe sagledavaju u okviru razvoja zajednice, ne isticuci mirovni aspekt, no djeluju u poslijeratnim sredinama. Na taj nacin namjeravam ispitati koliko je za uspjesnost rada na izgradnji mira vazno naglasiti mirovnu orijentaciju. Nadam se da ce nalazi omoguciti prepoznavanje obrazaca uspjesnih pristupa izgradnji mira koji mogu biti od koristi prilikom poboljsavanja postojecih i oblikovanja novih inicijativa, te kao smjernice za integriranje izgradnje mira na lokalnoj razini u razvojne i sigurnosne programe i politke u post-jugoslavenskim zemljama i regiji.

Kljucan je korak u proucavanju lokalnih praksi izgradnje mira otkrivanje implicitnih i eksplicitnih evaluacijskih kriterija, kako ih shvacaju i oblikuju razliciti dionici u toj praksi (aktivisti, mjestani, lokalne vlasti, donatori, lokalne institucije) te njihovo povezivanje s kriterijima koji proisticu iz teorijskog promisljanja (prvenstveno Lederacha, Stubbsa, Rothmana i Fetherston) i analize drugih primjera. Povezivanjem unutarnjih i vanjskih kriterija utjecaja, moguce je obogatiti teorijski okvir iskustvima i shvacanjima iz specificnih lokalnih sredina, te s druge strane olaksati usporedbu razlicitih mirovnih projekata.

Sljedeci kriteriji za transformativnu izgradnju mira posluzit ce kao okvir za prikaz drustvenog utjecaja izabranih primjera iz prakse:

1. Utjecaj na kvalitetu zivota/Kapacitet inicijative da odgovori na strateske potrebe zajednice;

2. Utjecaj na drustvenu integraciju/Mobilizacija mirovnih aktera u zajednici;

3. Utjecaj na lokalnu kulturu izgradnje mira i sukoba/Njegovanje kulturnih praksi koje pogoduju izgradnji mira i unosenje kulturalnih promjena koje promicu vrijednosti nenasilja;

4. Utjecaj na drustvenu infrastrukturu i politicke strukture/Poticanje transformacije lokalnih struktura, te dodatno:

4.1. Tranformativni kapacitet organizacijske strukture za izgradnju mira;
4.2. Utjecaj na prakse izgradnje mira u drugim sredinama.


Prilikom sagledavanja utjecaja odredjene mirovne inicijative, vezano uz svaki kriterij uzet ce se u obzir pokazatelji utjecaja (indikatori), kako ih shvacaju i koriste sami dionici odredjene mirovne inicijative. Takodjer ce se razmotriti i dodatni kriteriji koji su vazni unutar same inicijative i zajednice, a mozda nisu obuhvaceni kriterijima koje koristim u istrazivanju. Istrazivacke metode ce vecinom biti kvalitativne i ukljucit ce promatranje uz sudjelovanje, polustrukturirane intervjue, analizu drustvenih mreza, mapiranje potreba i sukoba u zajednici, fokusne grupe, radionice, analizu dokumenata i ankete.


Kroz komparativnu analizu studija slucaja, u kojoj ce sudjelovati i svi zainteresirani aktivisti/ce i istrazivaci/ce izgradnje mira, pokusat cemo artikulirati (a) raspon utjecaja; (b) pogodne organizacijske strukture i (c) preduvjete za odrzivost (s naglaskom na vladinu i multilateralnu podrsku) programa izgradnje mira u lokalnim zajednicama u post-jugoslavenskoj regiji. Namjera je da ove preporuke budu od koristi postojecim i buducim inicijativama izgradnje mira te prilikom oblikovanja okvira za nacionalnu i regionalnu mirovnu politiku.