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Understanding change and peacebuilding in a Colombian human rights NGO

REL Practice Paper 2 This paper looks at the Theory of Change of the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP), a human rights NGO and long-term partner of Christian Aid Colombia. It offers a window into understanding how an organisation set up to respond to a violent conflict perceives change in its own role as the conflict itself changes.  The paper traces shifts in CIJP’s relationship with the state, with communities, with its allies in civil society and with the private sector, and the strategies and interventions it now uses to work towards mobilised communities, an operational rule of law, and a democracy based on justice and peace. As well as documenting its current ToC, the paper proposes to Christian Aid and CIJP an approach that could be used to track future shifts to build up a detailed, long-term picture of the strategic evolution of a CSO in a shifting political context.   Author: Rosemary McGee

Balancing research and practice in an international NGO

REL Practice Paper 1 Ten Years of Change is a collaborative, long-term practitioner research initiative designed to take place in three countries – Colombia, Kenya and the UK. It is implemented by the Research, Evidence and Learning team at Christian Aid. The research began with the overarching question how are community members and supporters being influenced by, and influencing, processes of social change? Each country team adapted the question to make it relevant to their socio-political context, and designed research at several different levels, from local to national. This paper tells the story of the first three years of Ten Years of Change. It narrates our ideas and ambitions and how we clarified them; how we identified where, by whom and how the study would be implemented; and how we worked with colleagues in other countries to begin to translate our idea into practice. It then discusses the forces that shaped the parallel but distinct evolution of each of the three streams of the study, before reflecting on the challenges of trade-offs and power. It concludes by returning to some of our assumptions about practitioner research, reflecting on how they played out in practice, finally turning to considerations for the next stage of the study.  

Engaging in the peace process in Colombia

Christian Aid and our partners have worked to tackle violence and build peace for more than 20 years in Colombia, demanding an end to violence and calling for justice on issues of impunity and human rights violations committed in the course of the conflict. This paper, on the second anniversary of the signing of the Colombian Final Peace Agreement, gives a brief overview of this work and shares the key programmatic learnings, reflections and insights from this experience of peacebuilding by our partners.