Due to its geographic location between Europe, Middle East and Asia, the Caucasus is a hot spot of geopolitical conflicts over the control of the trade and influence routes crossing through the region and once known as the Silk Road, as well as over the control of its significant natural resources, oil and gas in Azerbaijan especially considered. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union the region has been shattered by the wars over Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Up to day, the root causes of those conflicts remain unresolved, keeping almost 10% of the region’s population in refugee or IDP status and causing devastating emigration, especially of young people. Today the Caucasus remains a dangerous mine-field of unsolved and potential hostilities, with a growing number of very sensitive detonators originating from within the history of the region or from the contemporary geopolitical developments. Those developments have clearly transferred the so-called local conflicts in the Caucasus onto the chess-field of the global game. Here the unprecedented developments in Ukraine and Middle East are playing a yardstick, both with full potential of infiltrating into the Caucasus and even ‘sandwiching’ the region in-between.
The challenge for CSOs, operating in these contexts, is to avoid supporting war through echoing the propaganda of division, yet keep the channels of dialogue open and local capacities for peace intact. International organisations and networks, such as the YMCA Movement, can and must play a role in here. But in order to offer responses matching the magnitude of the challenges, they need to grow as learning organisations. This means constant capacity building in delivery of conflict transformation work. Nowadays peace-work cannot be an ad hoc area to jump in; it requires certain qualities that come with legacy, experience, mandate, structure and competences. The YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation remains a best practice in this line, continuing to build capacities and organisational culture for peace within its network and constituency and within the communities they serve.
All in all every conflict has a lifespan, and the attitudes of reconciliation will ascent sooner or later. Thus we remain convinced that investing in youth activism for peace is one of the key areas attributing to sustainable conflict prevention and transformation. With modern information and communication technologies and platforms at their disposal, young women and men are fortunately free in searching positive values and critical thought for the pursuit of peace and security. Thus YMCA Europe remains committed to the Roots for Reconciliation cause and theory of change as considerable part of its strategy, and believes in its feasibility notwithstanding the emerging contextual challenges.
Within RfR 2020, YMCA Europe plans to continue the enrollment of the following target groups into the project framework:
- Conflict affected youth;
- Youth opinion leaders;
Under conflict affected youth we assume primarily the age group between 16 – 30 years old, with equal gender inclusion and predominantly coming from the region of South Caucasus.
Under youth opinion leaders we assume primarily the age group between 18 – 35 years old, with equal gender inclusion. They are first of all the Peace Work Institute alumni of the previous RfR phase (25), and the PWI participants of the RfR current phase (25) – 50 in total. Coming from all over Europe, yet predominantly from the Caucasus and its neighboring regions, these young women and men have been and will be selected to be the driving force of the RfR 2020.
As the internal impact of the project, it is expected that the RfR 2020 will have its added value on the strengthening of the European, national and local YMCAs involved in its framework. It will influence the participating organisations to either re-oriented their strategies towards greater engagement in peace building or strengthen existing strategies in this direction. Through individual behaviour and attitude change sought by the project effect chain, the RfR 2020 will meantime assist organisational networking and communication between the sending YMCAs and partner CSOs, including the ability to make effective use of social media and ICTs. Through raising the number and competences of volunteers and staff committed to peace work it will provide relevant knowledge sharing platforms and will open up additional funding opportunities for conflict transformation work by those organisations.
The development goal of the project is to empower youth activism towards prevention and peaceful transformation of conflicts in Europe, the region of South Caucasus especially considered.
The project objective and indicators
Through enhancing the skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, perceptions and circumstances of young women and men affected by conflicts to change their approaches and behavior for peace with large.
- Attitude change among 80% of all project participants when dealing with conflict (est. 280: 50% female);
- Behavior change among at least 80% of Peace Work Institute graduates through evidence of their ongoing and quality leadership in peace practice within and beyond the Roots for Reconciliation framework (25: 50% female);
- Behavior change among 20% of all project participants through evidence of their ongoing and quality leadership in peace practice within and beyond the RfR framework (70: 50% female).
Do No Harm Aproach
Through the whole run of the project implementation, Do No Harm approach will regularly used to assess the risks that may concern to the implementation of the project’s specific components, including the sub-grants, as well as to its overall progress towards the intended and unintended outcome and impact.
Using the Do No Harm matrix as risk assessment tool, and trough dividers and connectors exercise the following resource transfer trends especially will be under regular monitoring of the project management.
- Legitimisation Effect: meaning that the project benefits are made available only to organisations and individuals that clearly act in line with its theory of change and value system.
- Distribution Effect: meaning that the project inputs are equally shared amongst the targeted project beneficiaries based on real and justified needs and output capacities, the PWI TGT and LCP SGT components especially considered.
- Substitution Effect: meaning that the efforts within the project and supplementing it are coordinated between all the involved levels (local, national, European) thus avoiding contravention of mandates.
- Market Effect: meaning that the YMCA Europe will continue to monitor and assist the development of the CRCs established during RfR phase 1 (2007 – 2010) in Armenia and Georgia in order to further strengthen their economic and programmatic sustainability and thus keeping the overall RfR impact orientation persistent.
- Derivation Effect: meaning that appropriate criteria and monitoring instruments will be in place to avoid any misuse of the project funding, the PWI TGT and LCP SGT sub-contracts especially considered.
In order to achieve the above mentioned objective the YMCA Europe plans the following activities, which logically are clustered in the following three interconnected sets.
- Peace Work Institute (PWI);
- Local Capacities for Peace Seed Grant Tool (LCP SGT);
- Reflecting on Peace Practices Process (RPP Process).
The total budget of this phase is over 650.000 euro