Local Peace Committees (LPCs)
- These are elected by the local community during sensitization sessions. They are more owned by the communities although they have close links with ECLF. LPCS address conflicts at local level, nipping them at the bud.
- The strength of LPCs has been addressing challenges before they escalate and diffusing tensions before the become big issues. This has proved to be a great resource in peacebuilding.
- LPCs are structures which are established by communities after the three-day CPMRT training workshops. These structures comply with the participants’ demand that the CPMRT programme must be owned by communities. The participants therefore choose from among themselves some participants to constitute the LPC. LPCs then become structures for sustainability of the peacebuilding programmes.
- The existence of the LPCs becomes ECLF’s “exit strategy”, since the local community will continue with peacebuilding after ECLF has withdrawn from areas where it is operating.
- Membership varies from one LPC to another due to different contexts and challenges experienced in different areas. All LPCs have chairpersons, secretaries, treasurers and committee members.
- The LPCs mediate conflict situations, conduct sustained dialogues for peaceful coexistence within their context.
- LPCs grow and produce positive unexpected results such as engaging in livelihoods issues and development activities, for example fixing their roads, building Early Childhood Learning Centres and adult literacy classes in their areas.
- The LPCs also act as early warning systems, that identifies areas of potential conflict and make interventions either by engaging parties in dialogue or reporting to relevant authorities
LPCs engaged in Development Initiatives. Many communities have now started engaging in development initiatives championed by their LPCs. Because of their growing influence and recognition, LPCs have become rallying points for community progression and cohesion on development issues. In Masvingo province, Chivi and Bikita district, these LPCs took those who were in the Village Development Committees (VIDCOS) to become LPC chairpersons. The peace that now prevails as a result of the ECLF healing and reconciliation programme has made it possible for people from different social, economic, religious and political backgrounds to work together for a common cause and has engendered a new mandate to actively engage in serious community development using locally available resources. In Bikita there are 8 LPCs who facilitate conflict resolution among villagers, clubs and churches. In Chivi District 27 Ward LPCs have been formed by communities out of 32 wards and 23 of these have been capacitated. The 23 LPCs came up with a District LPC composed of all chairpersons of Ward LPCs and the District LPC is chaired by a District Focal Person (DFP) who interfaces with ECLF for further capacity needs of these LPCs.
LPCs as Platforms for Citizen Participation and Protection of Human Rights
The LPCs have become open platforms where all members of the community, regardless of gender, age, religious or political persuasion are free to express themselves and together agree on their developmental and other priorities. Women and youths are critical stakeholders if genuine peace is to be achieved. LPCs therefore provide space in which voices of women and youths are also heard and taken seriously. The rights of women and youths are better protected within the LPCs. They have become local community infrastructure for peace that truly listens to dissenting voices, identify early warning signs and offer early responses to prevent possible conflict shocks. LPCs have collected money from the Wards in order to fix their roads. Business people have also made some commitments towards the LPCS, assisting them with seeds for farming in an effort to eradicate poverty and hunger.