About This  Website 

Throughout history, warfare has caused untold human suffering and economic cost. In recent times, many organizations have attempted to reduce political violence. While they have achieved some successes, much of their work has been ineffective. Overall, the level of political violence has increased and is forecast to rise still further in the years ahead. This website is intended to stimulate thinking about how members of the peacebuilding community can achieve better results, individually and collectively.


Suggestions for improving the effectiveness of peacebuilding activities will be welcome. 



Milt Lauenstein

miltlau@me.com

Increasing Effectiveness

The peacebuilding community can make use of several approaches to increase its effectiveness. One is for peace building organizations to collaborate in developing shared strategies, priorities, and plans. A second it is to do the research needed to determine where and how to allocate resources to get the best results. A third is to rely on local knowledge and understanding in determining what actions to take.

Collaboration

To achieve their objectives, people have found the following approaches to be helpful:

  • Cooperate
  • Establish a strategy
  • Base decisions on evidence

In the peacebuilding community, practitioners and funders largely act independently. They have no generally accepted strategy. They have a little hard evidence on which to base decisions about where and how to allocate their resources. As a result, they have failed to achieve a reduction in armed conflict in recent years. 

In recent years, various initiatives have been made to collaborate, especiallyin the area of monitoring and evaluation. That trend holds promise for increasing the effectiveness of the peacebuilding community. 

Research

While here and there, peacebuilders have demonstrated that they can prevent and even stop wars, their successes have been more or less at random. They have not had the evidence they need to focus their resources where they will be most effective. Without it, they are flying blind. The result is that much of their work has been ineffective, and political violence continues unabated.


Much data on past peacebuilding projects is available to researchers. Using random control trials can produce additional evidence how about where and how resources can be most effectively applied. 


A new initiative, the Better Evidence Project was been established at George Mason University in 2020 to support new research that is needed. It is described below.

Local Leadership


Each situation involving actual or threatened political violence is unique. Stopping or preventing bloodshed requires in depth knowledge of the conflict, the people, and the culture. Outsiders are not a good position to know what approaches are most likely to promote peace. Encouraging the participation of local citizens to participate in leading projects to promote peace in their communities is usually more effective than trying to apply preconceived theories about peacebuilding.