In line with its strategy ECLF focuses on the following programme areas:
- Conflict Prevention Management, Resolution and Transformation (CPMRT) training,
- Dialogue platforms for consensus building and leadership buy-in,
- Healing and Reconciliation,
- Strengthening community capacities to manage and resolve conflicts as they emerge,
- Strengthening Communities’ capacity for lobbying and advocacy,
- Mainstreaming community development initiatives in peace building as a unifying strategy to the disjointed communities,
- Strengthening of the Indigenous peace building strategies,
- Capacity building of local peace infrastructure as peacekeepers and early warning signs detectors and involving leadership at all levels in peace building initiatives.
Conflict Prevention Management Resolution Transformation (CPMRT)
CPMRTH is a holistic and multi-faceted approach to peace building which involves the identification of various cause and effects aspects of conflict and issues that need to be addressed at community down to the individual level to support sustainable peace and hence development. The conflict prevention facet entails undertaking short-term activities that reduce tensions and/or prevent the outbreak or recurrence of violent conflict. They can be diplomatic initiatives used to pre-empt and subsequently neutralize potential triggers to widespread violent conflicts. The conflict management facet involves initiatives that prevent further spread or escalation of an existing violent conflict through positive behavioral changes of conflicting parties. The conflict resolution facet entails initiatives undertaken in the short-term to end violent conflict. The transformation aspect are sets of activities designed to bring about constructive change to the energy created by conflict and hence previously underlying the toxic relationships and social structures while the healing aspect entails developing a sense of personal wholeness that involves the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of human experience.
Local Peace Committees Capacity Building
The LPCs are strategic infrastructures that can be used as agents of development in the community. Their roles in engaging on development initiatives can be in two forms attribution and contribution. They are formed soon after a community has gone through a CPMRTH sensitization workshop facilitated by ECLF. These are three-day workshops that lead to a buy-in of the idea of peace building by the community. The community then select eminent persons that are respected and trusted from among those that would have participated in the peace building sensitization workshop. These include ordinary community members, local leaders (traditional leaders such as headmen and village heads and elected leaders like councilors), religious leaders (including church and African Traditional Religion leaders), women and youth leaders, businesspeople, war veterans, people living with disabilities, members of resident’s association in urban areas, neighbourhood watch groups and some government officials stationed and serving in the communities. LPCs are generally commended as being community based, owned, and run and inclusive as they incorporate all sections of a community. A typical LPC has 20 or more members among whom would be a chairperson, a vice chairperson and a secretary and vice secretary, a treasurer, and several committee members. LPC members undergo further training on CPMRTH by ECLF, thereby capacitating them to lead.
Dialogue and Mediation
Dialogue and mediation are a key part of the peace building work by the Forum through facilitators in the provinces, districts, LPCs and ECLF Secretariat staff. Over two hundred peace mediators had been trained across the operational districts. Peace mediators provide dialogue facilitation and dispute resolution services in cooperation with LPCs. ECLF staff were also mediate in conflict in organisations including churches, state and non-state players and has developed and perfected a mediation methodology premised on Contextual Theological Reflections. This methodology entails use of relevant and appropriate theological pieces or concepts to identify and agree on conflict causes, potential common grounds on which to build new peaceable co-existence or relationships, agree on a way forward to build new relationships and undertakings or commitments by the conflicting parties for peaceable co-existence. The methodology is participatory involving the conflicting parties with the help of a trained facilitator or mediator. It is a methodology that ECLF developed and adopted for use especially with church groups and in conflict situations where parties appreciated or preferred a Christian perspective to conflict dialogue and mediation like those situations that would normally be referred to church leaders for resolution and or counselling. The methodology is much deeper than the usual counselling as it is anchored by CPMRTH principles and incorporates Biblical perspectives in the form of the reflections.
Peace Education in Schools
The schools peace education programme holds a close place in our hearts because it is one initiative which enables us to rewrite the course of our history as a country by helping support the development of a generation of young people who value and are committed to peace.The project seeks to build and strengthen peace awareness, knowledge and practices in addition to strengthening local community systems and structures for peace by building sustainable peace processes through CPMRT awareness workshops, healing sessions, reconciliation and dialogues; transforming education processes into a participatory and inclusive one; and improving livelihoods through rural resources based enterprises.
Youth in Peacebuilding
Young population offers an opportunity for innovation, development, and economic growth, but today’s young people are confronted with violence and armed conflict. They face stigma and they are viewed as either perpetrators or victims of violence is very common. Young Peoples’ participation in peacebuilding should serve as a base from which to mainstream youth in peacebuilding. ECLFs peace building programmes tries to be conflict sensitive by ensuring young people and youth organizations are consulted and represented of their broader communities and societies. This engagement occurs across peacebuilding processes in general and not limited to youth-specific issues. The organization prioritize programmes that engage youth as active agents of change across all sectors and considers the active presence of youth as a criterion and asset. Mechanisms of feedback report on the role of youth in peacebuilding between community, State and non-state actors have been established by ECLF in all its communities that it is operating in.
Gender, Justice and Social Inclusion
Through its community work ECLF has come to realise that conflict affects women and men differently and that local governance processes are largely dominated by males neglecting the contribution and needs of women. Despite women’s contributions to preventing and resolving conflicts, they are often excluded from negotiating tables. Kofi Annan said:
“We can no longer afford to minimize or ignore the contributions of women and girls to all stages of conflict resolution, peacemaking, peacebuilding, peacekeeping and reconstruction processes. Sustainable peace will not be achieved without the full and equal participation of women and men.”
The importance of bringing gender into peacebuilding is not confined to redressing the violations of the human rights of women or addressing women’s economic, social, or justice needs. Instead, for many, a gendered perspective represents peacebuilding as a process of inclusion.
Effective sustainable community development initiatives cannot afford to minimise or ignore the contributions of women and girls at all stages of conflict resolution, peacebuilding, community planning and decision making. To enable sustainable peace and development there has to be full and equal participation of women and men. ECLF has a gender policy and has assigned an officer responsible for ensuring gender is integrated into all its work so as to redress any violations against the human rights of women and address women’s economic, social, or justice needs. ECLF ensures that there is integration of gender equity in all governance processes through gender mainstreaming, mentoring women leaders so they can better contribute to peace-building and local development and promote women’s participation in community organizations and management structures. Gender Justice in Peacebuilding for Social Transformation and Human Security” addresses gender disparities and the related paucity of peace.