09 Aug Cross Cutting Skills in CPPB
Peace training focuses on developing techniques of conflict analysis, prevention and peacebuilding and applying these skills in a variety of social contexts. This involves teaching how to do something, for example, how to create trust or how to facilitate dialogue between conflicting parties. Yet, applying skills successfully and confidently requires practice. While many skills within CPPB are applicable across sectors, they may need to be tailored to a specific mission or a particular sector. For instance, communication skills may cut across all CPPB activities, but they are applied differently in community-based mediation and supporting military reform processes. A skills training should focus both on the technique and the way that technique is applied to a particular context. We have identified the following skills as cutting across sectors and CPPB activities.
“We did a training… to help the internationals understand how to move away from taking action themselves to supporting national actors to act. It’s quite subtle skills that you need in terms of acting in support of national actors, and being able to step back and allowing them to take the lead in the way they think it needs to be done.”
Senior Advisor, NGO
Cross-cutting Skills in CPPB
Active listening skills, using de-escalating language, non-verbal communication
Open-mindness, avoiding miscommunication, sensitivity, respect and adaptation to local contexts (hierarchies, roles, etc) and cultural rules of communication including non-verbal forms
Challenging stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination, challenging power imbalances, creating spaces to empower and give voice to marginalised populations or co-workers, local partners etc.
Personal safety and security, resilience, work / life balance, health
Skills for dealing with stress, e.g. meditation, breathing exercises, music, sports, other leisure activities (according to personal preference)
Upon self (motivation, interests, biases, behaviour, attitudes), relationships, employer worker etc.
Gender Awareness & Gender mainstreaming
Addressing stereotypes relating to gender, promoting women’s participation and empowerment, challenging gender-based violence and attitudes that promote it, ensuring a gender lens in all work activities
Conflict and cultural sensitivity (incl. Do No Harm)
Building relationships with local stakeholders, conducting a needs assessment with local stakeholders and designing an intervention that reduces risk of harm; mainstream conflict and cultural sensitivity to all CPPB activities, from conflict analysis, project / mission design, implementation to monitoring and evaluation.¹
As mentioned above, skills put knowledge and beliefs into action. One may have a belief in cultural sensitivity and may know what it is and what the steps for achieving it are. Yet the essence lies in transforming it into behaviour. This involves practicing, the skills and reflecting upon practice to improve further. Knowledge is the cognitive ability to understand, but skill-building enables one to apply it to various settings.
¹ Details in “How To” guide by Conflict Sensitivity Consortium (2012)