Conciliation Resources is a non-profit organisation working with people in conflict-affected areas to prevent violence and build peace in eight regions across the globe. With its local partner organisations, it provides advice, support and practical resources to help divided communities resolve their differences peacefully. Conciliation Resources also reaches out to decision-makers to improve policies and peacebuilding practice worldwide.
While Conciliation Resources has a very reflective organisational culture – including through the publication of the review Accord which analyses lessons learned and promotes innovation in peace processes and peacebuilding – its own learning is not being systematically captured and fed back into its organisational practice. The organisation approached PeaceNexus for help with developing a comprehensive learning strategy that would embed organisational learning at all levels, including in their interaction with and support to partners.
Conciliation Resources opted for a step by step approach, accompanied by a consultant specialising in peacebuilding impact. The development of the strategy was to be built on a comprehensive review of existing learning practices as well as an exploration of approaches taken outside the peacebuilding sector, including in the commercial, social enterprise and development sectors, in order to stimulate out-of-the-box thinking.
A mid-term report set out a range of areas for change, including in roles and incentives, knowledge management and stronger integration of learning in programme design and development. These ideas were the focus of a retreat for all staff and Trustees in November 2016, following which a comprehensive workplan and audit tool to monitor progress were developed. A learning strategy will be finalised in early 2017 and will provide the strategic direction and priorities for learning, and outline the organisation’s ambition to invest in an overall organisational culture that has learning at its core. Once progress is made, Conciliation Resources plans to look further into how it can better learn with and from its partners.
“Being ‘led by enquiry’ has been central to Conciliation Resources’ way of working. We invest a lot in comparative learning in our programmatic work and the Accord series, and are keen to learn from each other and from others how to tackle challenges and improve our practice. PeaceNexus Foundation’s support and accompaniment is helping us to better understand and articulate how we learn. It is helping us to identify and address gaps and weaknesses in our organisational systems, and to explore new and innovative ways to capture, document, apply and share learning.”
Teresa Dumasy, Director of Policy and Learning, Conciliation Resources