Interpeace and its local partner, the Institut malien de recherche-action pour la paix (Malian Institute of Research and Action for Peace, IMRAP) aim to help establish a culture of inclusive, participatory and constructive dialogue. The programme aims to restore and enhance trust between the different segments and levels of Malian society, and to respond jointly to present and future challenges to peace and social cohesion.
Through long-term commitment, local ownership, inclusiveness, fairness, representation and active participation of all stakeholders, the programme aims to contribute to:
- Identifying challenges and opportunities for peace and social cohesion;
- Developing consensual, tailored and sustainable solutions to current and future challenges to peace and social cohesion;
- Restoring confidence within and between communities, establishing sustainable spaces for dialogue between the different components of society; and
- Defining a common vision for a shared future of Mali that transcends all divisions.
Interpeace peacebuilding principles
As a peacebuilder, Interpeace’s role is to assist in the development of local and national capacities for peace – values and attitudes, social processes and relationships, political and social institutions – all necessary to overcome the dynamics of conflict that lead to polarisation, violence and destruction.
1. Peace must be locally-owned
Local ownership begins by ensuring that peacebuilding priorities are determined locally. If local people and groups are included in defining the problem, they can be engaged to also take ownership of the solutions. IP works on the basis that if people feel that the peace belongs to them, they are more likely to take personal responsibility for preventing its collapse. In this way, every citizen becomes a peacekeeper and peace becomes sustainable.
2. Reaching out to all parties in the process
Participatory processes are at the core of Interpeace's approach to peacebuilding. By reaching out to all relevant groups in society in the dialogue and priority setting process, actors from each social group are instilled with a sense of responsibility for the rebuilding and reconciliation process. By taking a comprehensive approach, they enable societies to find compromises, and develop constructive relationships between all sectors and levels of society.
3. The heart of the challenge is building trust
Interpeace sees building trust as at the heart of peacebuilding. Trust cannot be imposed, imported or bought. It emerges slowly and is built through collective engagement on issues both small and large. Trust is also built through consistent commitment to a common vision and is the most difficult outcome to achieve. More than the revitalisation of infrastructure or the presence of government, trust is the glue that keeps society together in intangible but essential ways. It is trust that gives institutions their legitimacy and help individuals and groups to remain engaged as a society builds lasting peace.
4. Peacebuilding is a long-term commitment
Interpeace is committed to accompanying societies along the often lengthy and bumpy roads to peace. Support of local efforts must be patient, adaptable and consistent. There are no short-cuts or quick-fixes. Recognising that the process of overcoming mistrust and deep divisions can be a difficult one, Interpeace seeks to empower local actors to establish independent peacebuilding institutions, which continue to address root causes of conflict and to promote peace over the long term.
5. Process matters
Interpeace puts as much effort into what needs to be done to enable a society to build peace as to how the process is approached. There is a need not only to focus on the end goal of building peace, but also on the process that will lead to lasting peace.
Strengthening the foundations of a society that is divided is not business as usual. Mistrust tends to be deeply engrained. Every major issue is explosive, political and urgent. Because of this urgency, the tendency is to bring technical solutions to problems rather than to seek holistic solutions to complex problems. How the process is managed and how the engagement of all sides is carried out will determine, in large part, the success of an initiative.
Last updated: September 2016