Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is important in determining how accurately initial conflict analysis has been reflected in programming and provides the space for updating analysis and adapting interventions such that they comply with conflict sensitive principles (UNDG-ECHA, 2013). Provisions for M&E should be included early on in the design of interventions. There must be flexibility to adapt and modify the original project design during implementation in response to M&E findings (How to guide).
The Conflict Sensitivity Resource Pack) recommends the use of perception-based indicators (e.g. if a respondent feels more or less safe) alongside objective indicators (e.g. incidents of violence) to capture intangible impacts. Disaggregation of data on indicators by group can also help to detect conflict sensitivity concerns.
Goldwyn and Chigas (2013) emphasise that M&E of conflict sensitivity differs from that of peacebuilding in focus, purpose and contribution to peace. Peacebuilding M&E is concerned primarily with achievement of peacebuilding goals, whether positive changes can be attributed to a specific intervention, and whether an intervention affects key conflict drivers. Peacebuilding initiatives thus need to be both conflict sensitive and accountable to peacebuilding evaluation criteria. In contrast, conflict sensitivity is concerned with any contribution to peace – whether related to drivers of conflict or not, intended or unintended, significant or not. It is also concerned with negative impacts on conflict. If a programme aimed primarily at improving literacy, for example, also incorporates messages of peaceful coexistence, the M&E process would entail examining the extent to which these messages are understood and adopted by participants and how the intervention may have contributed to an increase or decrease in tensions. If the programme was designed instead as an explicit peacebuilding intervention, the M&E process would involve looking at the degree to which the messages changed participant attitudes and the effect of these changes on the key drivers of conflict (Goldwyn & Chigas, 2013).
M&E processes must themselves be conflict sensitive (OECD, 2012; How to guide). Transparency and the creation of safe spaces can reduce tension and suspicion, encourage open dialogue and the sharing of potentially sensitive information. It is important to consider who is conducting M&E and how they are perceived by respondents and whether respondents are drawn from diverse groups. It is also important to ensure that M&E outcomes are communicated back to relevant communities.
Goldwyn, R. & Chigas, D. (2013). Monitoring and evaluating conflict sensitivity: methodological challenges and practical solutions (CCVRI Practice Product). Cambridge, MA: CDA
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OECD. (2012). Evaluating peacebuilding activities in settings of conflict and fragility: Improving learning for results. Paris: OECD
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Villanueva, S. D. (2009). Managing performance in peacebuilding: Framework for conflict sensitive monitoring and evaluation. GoP-UN ACT for Peace Programme.
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Bush, K. and Duggan, C. (2013). Evaluation in conflict zones: methodological and ethical challenges. Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, 8(2), 5-25. doi: 10.1080/15423166.2013.812891
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The learning portal for design, monitoring and evaluation for peacebuilding.
- Conflict Sensitivity Consortium. (2012). How to guide to conflict sensitivity. London: The Conflict Sensitivity Consortium. See document online
- APFO, CECORE, CHA, FEWER, International Alert, Saferworld. (2004). Conflict-sensitive approaches to development, humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding: Resource pack. London. See document online
- UNDG-ECHA. (2013). Natural resource management in post-conflict transitional settings (UNDG-ECHA Guidance Note). United Nations Development Group (UNDG). See document online