Supporting conflict-sensitive public health and humanitarian responses, alongside long-term recovery interventions

The way in which aid and recovery interventions are delivered in fragile settings is critical, whether this is by external agencies, governments, the private sector or civil society.

Julliene and her daughter stand to the right of their , Mauelle, at the market selling their goods at the market. They stand behind a market stall covered with tomatoes and bananas.
Julliene’s participation in our business facilitation trainings has enabled her to save enough money to help her daughter, Manuelle, start and operate a small business of her own during the pandemic. © international Alert

If delivered without full understanding of existing conflict dynamics or gendered power dimensions, aid interventions can exacerbate tensions, deepen community divides and lead to violence. This is particularly the case during large-scale crises requiring rapid response.

Long-term recovery interventions also have the capacity to amplify conflict dynamics. The widespread economic insecurity stemming from the pandemic’s impact on people’s livelihoods, global trade and investment indicates that economic recovery interventions will be prioritised going forward.

These too will need to be designed and delivered in a conflict and gender-sensitive way to ensure they do not perpetuate the structural causes of violence and inequality.

This work in action

Rapid response to COVID-19 in the Great Lakes region of Africa

We are working alongside Internews and Pole Institute to reduce the overall impact of COVID-19 on communities vulnerable to conflict and violence in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanganyika.

By improving access to accurate information and countering damaging rumours through conflict-sensitive responses, our work aims to mitigate tensions already exacerbated throughout the pandemic.

We are working to increase community awareness and conflict prevention by strengthening community structures and local actors to address existing conflicts and conflict fuelled by the economic crisis stemming from COVID-19.

Conflict-sensitive and gender-sensitive governance programming in Nigeria

We have extensive experience in conflict sensitivity training and capacity-building for government officials and international NGOs in Nigeria.

During the pandemic, together with DAI as part of the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), we produced a diversity, gender and social inclusion strategy for COVID-19 responses in the country, underpinned by conflict analysis, to ensure the inclusion of vulnerable groups and provide recommendations on conflict-sensitive and gender-sensitive responses.

As a result of this document, Kaduna state government and the Kaduna Peace Commission requested a contextualised version of the strategy to improve the conflict sensitivity of their state-based COVID-19 responses.

This was the first time a Nigerian state requested support to improve the conflict sensitivity of their response efforts and illustrates the potential willingness of governments to adopt conflict- and gender-sensitive responses to COVID-19 in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Other ways to build positive peace in pandemic responses

This is just one of the ways to build positive peace in pandemic responses. You can read the other ways below.

Countering divisive narratives and building bridges across divides

(Re)building trust and accountability between citizens and states

Reducing gender inequalities through responding to COVID-19 and its impacts

Using evidence to inform short- and long-term responses to COVID-19 and conflict