University of Cambridge mission to pilot initiative to improve intercommunity relations in communities affected by conflicts and tensions

November 9, 2021

Photo: UNDP, 2021

From the 19th to the 30th of October, in Guinea-Bissau, a mission from the University of Cambridge took place to implement a pilot initiative that aims to improve intercommunity relations in communities affected by conflicts and tensions, namely land ownership, observing if tensions decrease when social bonds increase. This work focused on the communities of Arame and Elia, in São Domingos, and Lungum and Sum, in Nhacra.

In the first phase, consultations with local communities were carried out to understand signs of peaceful coexistence and intercommunity well-being. Then, an exercise was held with the communities currently in tension so that they can find a consensus on aspects that would improve their lives. Finally, small interventions were carried out based on the exercises done with the communities, to understand if greater interaction and contact to achieve a common goal can reduce conflicts.

The Cambridge University and Cambridge Enterprise pilot initiative with UNDP will implement two pilots of the peace behind a veil of ignorance (VOI)  initiative in neighbouring communities affected by tensions and conflict. During the upcoming months, the project will seek to improve intercommunal relationships and minimise the impact of violence through a series of innovative exercises built around concepts of justice, identity, and emotion regulation. So far, the pilots have had 600+ participants from the four communities involved.

The initiative is carried out under the project “Political Stabilization and Reform through Confidence Building and Inclusive Dialogue”, implemented by UNDP Guinea-Bissau with support from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.