By Edward Beswick, Research Coordinator, Generations For Peace Institute and Love Calissendorff, Research Associate, Generations For Peace Institute

The inaugural GFPI Forum finished today at the organisation’s headquarters in Amman, Jordan. The day involved four sessions, which covered the topics of volunteerism, monitoring and evaluation, the value of research, as well as a closing Q&A session with questions coming in from around the world.

Like yesterday, a lot of issues were covered in the sessions but we (Edward and Love) decided to pick out some of the highlights using quotations from the panel participants.

What follows is a snap-shot of what was covered during the day:

Panel – GFP Volunteers and Volunteerism

‘People in my community think that voluntarism is not important, the only thing that matters to them is to have a job and earn money. I tell them that it is very important, it is important to give back to your community. We have to give our volunteers a lot of time and attention. We need to show them that they matter and how important they are to us.’ 

– Malaka Samara, Palestine

Panel – De-Mystifying Monitoring and Evaluation  

‘We had some basic knowledge (of monitoring and evaluation), but it helps to have clear and practical guidelines. We had a meeting with the Pioneers and discussed what were the issues etc. regarding the Participatory Evaluation*, I think it was a crucial moment for us in the process, as it is a way of involving everybody in a process of seeing how far we have come. We had focus groups with Delegates and Pioneers, and were able to register every change that had happened so far. It was a very emotional moment when we realised that the work we had done had actually changed the lives of some people.’ 

– Tamar Nasidze, Georgia

*Participatory Evaluation is the approach adopted by Generations For Peace for the evaluation of its local programming. A Participatory Evaluation brings together representatives from the various groups affected by GFP programming to partake in a full day of discussions: those in attendance are the GFP Delegates and Pioneers, representatives of the Key Stakeholders, people from the Target Group, and people from the wider Beneficiary Community. It is a very valuable process as the attendees are given a chance to voice their opinions, and to collectively identify the successes and challenges they faced during the planning, design and implementation of their GFP interventions. Participatory Evaluation grants communities ownership of their GFP programmes.

Panel – Research: What purpose does research serve?

‘Research is very good for the different people involved. Research brings out the real part of the conflict from the inside and from the outside.’ 

– Abdullahi Benaiah, Nigeria

Panel – Question and Answer  

‘Teamwork, leadership, respect, and responsibility: these are all values that we try to show within the work that we are doing. The motivating part – I would say – is to see results in different communities. Witnessing [the] successes that volunteers have been able to achieve in their communities is the most rewarding thing for us. It makes the long hours worth while.’

– Lama Hattab, GFP Programmes Department 

Final Question: Looking Ahead

‘We are expanding our research in Europe, Africa and Asia. Over the course of the next year, we are planning to expand to Sudan, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, and the Republic of Macedonia among others. In terms of thematic areas, [we are looking to research] different frameworks of conflict analysis, transformation, and dehumanisation, as well as research on our own programmes and how to improve them.’

– Sairah Yusuf, GFPI

That is all for today, if you would like to find out more please check out our social media channels.

The inaugural GFPI forum has provided a fantastic opportunity for practitioners, researchers and stakeholders to exchange experiences, ideas and best practices on issues essential to community-level peace building. GFP recognises that theory and practice should be closely linked and the Forum has provided an excellent platform for this type of exchange. Let’s hope it is the first of many.

Thanks for reading!