The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) is a South African organisation established in 1991 and working throughout Africa « to bring creative African solutions to the challenges posed by conflict on the continent ». Its activities include:
Training in topics ranging from interpersonal conflict resolution to international peacekeeping;
Policy and advocacy;
Exchanges and dialogues;
Research and publishing.
It produces a wide range of publications, available online, from a quadrennial « Conflict Trends Magazine », to biannual academic « African Journal of Conflict Resolution », to a series of Occasional Papers and books on peacebuilding in the African context.
ACCORD’s website lists an impressive range of innovative activities, implemented in the framework of its own programmes or at the invitation of others. What is more difficult to see is why and how these programmes emerged and were prioritized, how various activities were linked or coordinated, what was their content and what difference they ultimately made.
For example, ACCORD’s ‘Training for Peace in Africa’ programme includes training civilian peacekeeping and peacebuilding personnel, research and publishing, and policy development. Through this and earlier programmes ACCORD has trained 12 thousand people from throughout Africa – civil servants, businesspeople, military, police and civil society. What is less evident is the way in which this training programme contributed to or benefitted from the organisation’s other engagements; what links and alliances were made with other organisations; and ultimately, how this work affected the bigger picture. With this undoubtedly excellent organisation, as with others, a major challenge is to be able to demonstrate such linkages, and spell out publicly the theory of change on which its work is based.