Training for peacebuilding policy makers and practitioners is an emergent and rapidly evolving field. Alert aims to develop new training and learning practices based on our field experience and a growing knowledge base on the factors underpinning effective and sustained peacebuilding. International Alert considers it essential to strengthen cooperation in the field of training and learning; to this end we work with a range of stakeholders across a broad spectrum of peacebuilding activities.
Alert designs and delivers training and learning events that are participatory and practice-based. It is crucial that people working in tumultuous environments feel they possess the skills needed to maximise the impact of their activities and take the time to reflect and exchange on their experience. The training team brings the methodology and the expertise to accomplish them in this work.
Alert also develops training and learning activities for our thematic programmes and in partnership with academic institutions and governments.
Examples of recent and current projects include:
In response to the events in May-June 2010, Alert was approached by DFID-Kyrgyzstan to work with a local government agency, ARIS, which employs community mobilisers and experts across Kyrgyzstan.
Two phases of training were undertaken to: build the capacity to understand conflict; work in conflict situations with an increased awareness of potential additional issues they may face as a result of the outbreak of violence in the South and to build their skills to respond to conflict in a constructive way. The programme reflected this approach and ensured that trainees were given time and space to unlock and articulate their own experience and to test their newly acquired skills with others.
In addition, the team is working with other international (Helvetas, UNDP, NDI) and local organisations (FTI) to develop capacities for conflict-sensitive approaches and support local capacities for peace.
The marginalisation of young people and women in decision making has been identified as both a cause and consequence of the many political and civil conflicts within Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. In response to the need for effective citizenship of women and young people, Alert developed and rolled out a training course to improve their skills and confidence to participate effectively in decision making at the household, community and political levels. This involved training 34 facilitators in the communities where we work and supporting them to train 325 people, 224 of whom are women. The next phase of the project will follow up with training participants on the progress of action plans they developed, particularly given that elections are planned for 2011 in both Liberia and Guinea.
The Training and Learning team is also part of the ENTRi project, partnering with leading training institutions in Europe. ENTRi is a two-year project funded by the European Commission aimed at strengthening civilian capacities working in crisis management type missions.
The Training and Learning team has been working in Eastern DRC with the Great Lakes programme to assist local organisations in South Kivu, North Kivu and Ituri. This has enabled medium- to long-term activities with local organisations to build capacity and learn from their experience. Starting with a comprehensive training needs analysis, the training team and local partners have identified a number of capacity-building activities as crucial to improving the effectiveness of peacebuilding work in the region. Training has been delivered on: training of trainers, communication, mediation, good governance and other accompaniment activities, such as the development of a Training of Trainers and Land Conflicts manual. The learning from these projects has been fed into further activities at the regional and global levels.
In recent years, the discussion on aid effectiveness and state ‘fragility’ has focused on the need for international and national actors to take the local context of conflict-affected countries into account - and reflect on how their interventions can fuel or minimise conflict. The training and learning team is currently developing the learning component of the international institutions programme to ensure that UN and World Bank operations in Burundi, Nepal and Sri Lanka are informed by context-specific, good peacebuilding practice. This involves using research on peacebuilding and conflict in these countries to deepen dialogue with UN and World Bank staff on opportunities and challenges to build sustainable peace through funding and activities.
Since 2007, Alert has coordinated an interdepartmental Conflict Foundation Course for HM Government involving DFID, FCO, Stabilisation Unit and MOD staff in London, the Western Balkans, South Asia and the Middle East/North Africa. The course includes analysis of the countries where HMG is involved in peacebuilding and development work and encompasses the social, political, economic and security dimensions of particular conflicts in specific contexts. Based on the success of this course, Alert piloted a conflict practitioner’s course targeting high-level officials.
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In 2010, Alert became the partner of choice for the Netherlands Government Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has provided training on conflict sensitivity in fragile countries in their head offices as well as in Yemen, the DRC and Mali. Further courses are planned for Sudan and Pakistan in the coming months.
As its partner, the Dutch Government recently awarded Alert Transition International (TI), a three-year contract to continue the Reintegration of Ex-combatants week-long residential training course in the Netherlands. This builds on the courses conducted by Alert and TI in the UK and Netherlands over the last three years. This high-level course is aimed at senior practitioners from around the world drawn mainly from government and UN agencies.
In 2010, Alert became a strategic partner of the University of York’s Post-War Reconstruction and Development Unit in launching the Chevening Senior Fellows’ programmes on Reforming the Security and Justice Sectors in Post-Conflict Countries and on Conflict Prevention and Resolution.
Alert also delivers a range of courses at leading UK universities including the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia, the War Studies Department at King’s College London and the London Metropolitan University.