Since March 2010, the EFCA has been implementing a 2-year regional project with the goal of reducing vulnerability to local civil conflict on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border. Small-scale violent conflicts – like the confrontation in Aksai in March 2008 when 150 Tajiks attempted to cross the Kyrgyz border to release much needed irrigation water – are common in the region. The project addresses the local conflict flash-points identified through extensive research of the cross-border region: primarily water supply, land use and creeping migration. Through the project, the EFCA also addresses the social root causes of the tension: the lack of trust and interaction between cross-border communities, the lack of capacity to resolve conflicts, the isolation and disenfranchisement of young people, and interethnic suspicions and segregation.
The EFCA establishes greater interaction and trust between members of border communities as one of its objectives. The EFCA provides small amounts of funding for cross-border social events to provide opportunities for informal interaction and breaking down barriers, to strengthen inter-ethnic dialogue and to foster good neighborly relations between communities. To bring young people together and empower them to make positive contributions jointly within their communities, the EFCA develops a YouthBank in each of the 4 pairs of communities.
The second objective is designed to increase shared capacity of border communities to mitigate conflict. To further build the local capacity, a four-day training-of-trainers workshop is delivered by the US-based “Partners for Democratic Change” – global experts in conflict resolution and pioneers over the past 20 years of the “Multi-party Mediation” methodology. Trainers then deliver conflict mitigation training to four groups – one in each pair of Tajik and Kyrgyz communities in actual or potential conflict to create an opportunity for people from across borders, ethnic divides and past conflicts to interact, and to unite in a common effort to understand tensions and avoid future conflict.
To leave a legacy of conflict mitigation expertise within the communities and reinforce relationships between key actors, 24 of the 120 participants in the joint conflict mitigation training are selected for further in-depth training in conflict facilitation, leadership and consensus-building through the “School of Conflict Management.” The EFCA also builds the capacity of local CBOs to ensure that there is sustainable, local capacity to bring together communities involved in conflict and organize joint activities. This also includes provision of small funding for rapid-response interventions proposed by these CBOs or others involved in conflict mitigation in the target communities. Importantly, to provide vital information in support of these joint conflict prevention activities and to promote common understanding between opposing sides, the EFCA develops information guides on the causes of conflict in the region. These include water resource management, land ownership legislation, the role and responsibilities of local government, border and customs procedures.
The project is expected to achieve the following results:
The EFCA uses internationally recognized practices and lessons learned in conflict mitigation, and work with and through local NGOs and CBOs to encourage local capacity building and sustainability. The EFCA has 5 years experience addressing cross-border conflict issues in the Ferghana Valley and draws on experience from Northern Ireland on YouthBanks as a tool for community reconciliation. The EFCA’s local NGO partners Leilek Daanyshmany (KYG) and New Generation (TAJ) have over 10 years experience working on conflict prevention and mitigation on either side of the border. U.S. experts “Partners for Democratic Change” the project’s external evaluators, trainers and advisers, have 20 years of experience in building sustainable solutions to conflict situations.
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