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The tool was developed in a series of training workshops carried out over about 10 years, with aid and development workers, conflict transformation practitioners and staff and representatives of international agencies and institutions from thousands of different contexts.
The framework was originally developed as a way of explaining complex concepts and demonstrating how the thinking they contained could be applied in practice. It is intended primarily for development practitioners and policy makers concerned about how to effectively implement all types of social change processes in contexts deeply affected by conflict and vulnerable as a result of violence.
The tool is concerned with development in contexts deeply affected by social conflicts, particularly those that manifest at community level. It recognises and makes explicit the interconnections between different levels and forms of conflict and seeks to develop conflict sensitive responses to development needs that are informed by this conflict paradigm.
The framework works best when used or discussed by mixed groups of people representing a range of interventions, and developmental change theories.
A facilitated dialogue that uses the tool as a catalyst can frame a peer review type of process that enables the group to reflect together on each other’s and their own interventions. This discussion can also serve as a useful element of a planning or monitoring approach within a broader development process.
As a strong proponent of bottom up and people centred development Chambers points out how information and knowledge is valued differently according to the source from which it emerges. (Chambers 1997) Chambers places learning at the centre of how he proposes we set out to change development practice. It is this centrality of learning that informs both the development of the tool that forms the focus of this assignment, as well as the broader approach to conflict transformation within which it is located.
The praxis cycle approach used in the development of the conflict sensitive framework links research and practice and values all contributions to this particular developmental paradigm. This is part of the conflict sensitive processes that the framework seeks to inform and influence.
Innovation, reflective practice and action research have become the essential tools of many development workers and conflict transformation practitioners who are intent on learning from and improving their practice. This development of an internal and self-reflective learning culture is often taking place in sectors and contexts about which relatively little has been written that is useful or practically applicable.
Chambers recognises the need for experiential learning when he writes, “This is a good time to be alive as a development professional. For we seem to be in the middle of a quiet but hugely exciting revolution in learning and action.” (1997:xxiv)
It was in this spirit and out of this type of learning culture that the integrated conflict sensitivity framework” was developed.