We are committed to staying and working in fragile states for as long as necessary, working with our partners, and directly where necessary, to respond to immediate needs and find sustainable solutions.
In looking at fragility we prioritise the risk of violent conflict as a significant cause of long-term instability and a major driver of fragility. Our response to fragile states, therefore, focuses on transforming violent conflict and addressing both its causes and effects.
Tearfund is committed to promoting peace and reconciliation, supporting activities that impact positively upon situations of conflict while safeguarding staff and project participants (Tearfund’s Quality Standards).
Tearfund’s vision for building peace in fragile and conflict-affected states
Tearfund’s Christian ethos and established networks of local partners, faith and interfaith communities around the world mean that peacebuilding can be linked with other Tearfund relief and development initiatives. Our ability to facilitate our work through these widespread networks ensures a deep and sustained reach into communities.
- We address the root causes of poverty and counter the issues that drive conflict, with a particular emphasis on building resilience and restoring broken relationships.
- We work through the church as part of an approach we call church and community transformation.
- We work with individual peacebuilders to nurture, equip and connect them, enabling them to form movements of peacebuilders locally, regionally and nationally.
Read more about Tearfund’s peacebuilding strategy in Tearfund peacebuilding: Reconciling divided communities
Conflict and WASH
When working in conflict contexts, it is important for projects to be sensitive to their impact on the dynamics and drivers of the conflict. In the case of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects it may be possible to design activities to have a positive impact on the conflict itself, rather than just on WASH needs.
Tearfund's conflict-sensitive approach to WASH in conflict-affected and fragile states is based on a growing understanding of the contribution of WASH service delivery to peacebuilding and state-building. WASH programming can provide a key entry point for capacity building (strengthening governance and accountability) and infrastructural development, as well as acting as a vehicle for citizen engagement, community mobilisation and empowerment.
Conflict and SGBV
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is present in communities before a crisis hits, but risks and vulnerability to SGBV increase during emergencies and their aftermath. Those in positions of authority, such as the police, security officials, community leaders, teachers, employers, landlords and humanitarian workers, may abuse their power. During armed conflict, sexual violence may often be used as a weapon of war.
In a crisis, churches and mosques often become places of refuge, and in practice faith leaders are often the first responders. Lack of knowledge or capacity, taboos and harmful beliefs among these leaders can mean they are unable to engage positively in SGBV issues. When meaningfully engaged, faith groups can have a great impact on SGBV prevention in conflict-affected communities.