This summer (or winter!), catch up on your reading with a list of the Top 10 Resources on ConnexUs
The ConnexUs resource library is a trove of materials on social impact efforts in conflict-affected contexts. Its offerings run the gamut, from practical guides to research reports and more. We’ve combed through the data to see what you all have been reading the most to bring you a sampling of some of the best reads out there.
How can education help curb extremism? What’s the economic impact of youth-led programs? How can you maximize digital technologies for peace? Dive into research and answers.
The selections reflect the diverse array of content on ConnexUs. Whether you’re looking for new approaches or evidence on what works, these Top 10 reads offer knowledge and inspiration. Have you produced something you’d like to share with the community? Click here to post it on ConnexUs.
So get cozy with your favorite summer beverage in hand and explore our picks. We’ll provide an overview and links so you can delve deeper. Let us know which resonate with your work and what other topics you want to see more of.
1. Peace Impact Framework
We need a better way to talk about peace.
Peace is essential for poverty reduction, health, education, economic growth, gender equality, climate action, and more. The Peace Impact Framework allows us to track vital signs of peace by identifying key themes and pillars. It was developed based on insights from over 180 organizations in 45 countries, incorporating local and expert knowledge. This framework provides a structure to understand, measure, and invest in elements most critical for peace.
2. Polarization, Social Cohesion & Atrocities: Approaches for a Safer World
Katie Smith, Search for Common Ground
Despite commitments to prevention, atrocities continue, with millions at risk. Early action is key, as atrocities often begin before large-scale killing. True prevention requires addressing risk factors and building rapid response capacities before violence escalates. This review of 10 high-risk countries found civilians face similar challenges: ongoing divisions, broken government-community relationships, exclusion, weak communal capacities, and closing civil society space. Improving early action requires long-term investment in social cohesion, inclusion, and local capacities – not just reacting once atrocities begin.
3. Monitoring & Evaluation: Tools, Methods & Approaches
The M&E Overview provides an introduction to various monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tools, methods, and approaches. It discusses several data collection methods, like performance indicators, surveys, and participatory methods. It also covers analytical frameworks like the logical framework approach, theory-based evaluation, and cost analysis. The overview looks at types of evaluations like impact evaluation. It notes that the tools are complementary and substitutable. The appropriate choice depends on the intended use, stakeholders, speed needed, and cost. The goal is to increase awareness and interest in M&E and clarify what it entails through this sample of tools.
4. Le rôle de l’éducation dans la prévention de l’extrémisme violent au Sahel : Stratégies et recommandations
Abdoul Razak Ahmadou Youssoufou; ConnexUs CEE Fellow (Through IREX & US State Department)
Face à la montée de l’extrémisme violent au Sahel, l’éducation est reconnue comme un outil de prévention en renforçant la résilience et l’ouverture d’esprit. Mais des réformes sont nécessaires pour que les systèmes éducatifs puissent répondre à ce défi. Il faut garantir une éducation de qualité et inclusive, former les enseignants sur la prévention, adopter des méthodes développant l’esprit critique des élèves, intégrer cet enseignement dans les programmes scolaires, et impliquer les parents dans la promotion des valeurs de tolérance et la détection précoce de la radicalisation. Avec ces mesures, l’éducation peut contribuer à réduire les facteurs sous-jacents de l’extrémisme violent au Sahel.
5. Digital Community Stewards Training
Search for Common Ground
This 10-module curriculum aims to equip digital community stewards to build social cohesion and prevent harm in their online groups. Created by Search for Common Ground, the training teaches stewards how to foster inclusive, engaging, and safe experiences. It focuses on common dilemmas faced by stewards, strengthening their leadership skills to grow engagement while ensuring safety. The modules and resources equip stewards to better respond to their group members’ needs.
6. Global Peace Index (2021)
Insitute for Economics & Peace
This is the 15th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness. Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the GPI is the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness.
7. Digital Peacebuilders Guide
Search for Common Ground & Build Up
Digital technologies affect how we experience conflict. Whether it’s hate speech in our social media or bringing together diverse groups for online training, digital tools can harm & help our peacebuilding initiatives. But where to start? How to know if it’s best to build a chatbot, make a video game or teach people about misinformation? That’s why this toolkit asks you first: What are you trying to achieve as a peacebuilder? Once you know that, then you’ll see that there are multiple options for how to use digital tools to achieve your goals. This Digital Peacebuilders Guide was developed by Search for Common Ground & Build Up.
8. Theory of Change: A thinking and action approach to navigate in the complexity of social change processes
Iñigo Retolaza Eguren
The guide presents the author’s learnings on facilitating Theory of Change design for social change agents across Latin America. It draws on the author’s experiences with Hivos and UNDP Democratic Dialogue Regional Project. The guide is for agents in social change and development like NGOs, leaders, and decision-makers. It offers Theory of Change as a flexible thinking-action approach compared to more rigid planning logic. The first part covers theoretical elements in designing Theories of Change. The second part outlines the basic methodological steps. A workshop route illustrates the process dynamics. The guide aims to improve the performance of organizations and individuals pursuing social change for a more just world. As a living document, it invites readers to build on it.
9. Summary Report | Building Evidence for Peacebuilding Investments: A Snapshot of Youth-Led & Youth-Supporting Peacebuilding Programs in Kenya Yields Five to Ten-Fold Social Returns on Investment (SROI)
Shubha Kumar, Sara Olsen, Aaron Mallett & Saji Prelis
This report summarizes a study analyzing youth peacebuilding interventions in Kenya using Social Return on Investment (SROI). SROI consults stakeholders on experienced outcomes and their value. The study of 4 programs found a $5-10 return per $1 invested based on stakeholder perspectives. Recommendations include engaging stakeholders throughout programming to improve value. SROI provides local ownership in valuing impact, increasing returns on youth peacebuilding investments.
10. Grounded Accountability Model
Despite the increased emphasis on accountability to target communities, peacebuilding, and international development projects are often designed and then evaluated by people who do not share the same lived experiences as participants. The Grounded Accountability Model (GAM) is about holding peacebuilding and development projects accountable to communities as much as to other stakeholders.
We are developing and piloting GAM through a Community of Practice (CoP) that consists of Search for Common Ground, Everyday Peace Indicators, and Humanity United. It is an ongoing and collaborative work, and we seek to build off of each other’s strengths.
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