Context

For the last two decades, Guinea-Bissau has experienced major political turmoil, with successive coups and recurrent confrontations between political authorities and the military and within the political sphere. State dysfunctionality has a strong negative impact on the country’s society at large, as well as on international support to civil society, inhibiting sustainable peacebuilding and development. However, despite the political instability, the social tissue and the national identity remain strong: no consistent episodes of violence or disruption of the armed forces or between different groups in the society have been reported in the last years. This represents a significant improvement in the recent history of the country.

In 2007, Interpeace set up a peacebuilding programme in collaboration with a local partner, . Through a national consultation process, Voz di Paz engaged over 6,000 Bissau-Guineans to identify the main obstacles to lasting peace in the country. Bissau-Guineans identified the lack of effective state institutions, political and institutional instability, poor administration of justice, social exclusion and a weak culture of dialogue as some of the root causes of conflict. As a result of this foundational study, the programme currently works in two main axes: conflict prevention and resolution and good governance.



Goal

Interpeace’s programme in Guinea-Bissau, implemented together with local partner Voz di Paz, aims to stimulate citizen engagement for good governance and peacebuilding, with a special focus on the most excluded groups of society.



Conflict prevention and resolution

Interpeace and Voz di Paz work on conflict prevention and resolution at two different levels: strengthening the role of women in conflict resolution and promoting a more inclusive traditional justice. With these objectives, the programme fostered cross-group dialogue around traditional justice practices and promoted women’s participation in traditional justice and in mediating structures at the communities’ level, contributing to laying the foundations for a more peaceful society. In 2019 a participatory analysis on traditional justice with a focus on women and children have been carried out in three regions of the country to enlighten conflict resolution mechanisms at the community level and women’s perspective on them. Throughout 2018, new women mediators were integrated in Voz di Paz’s Regional Spaces for Dialogue (RSD) increasing the percentage of female members from 23.5% to 46%. In...

Promoting good governance

Interpeace programme is focusing on justice governance and aims to create new mechanisms and build capacities for an active citizenry empowered to monitor, evaluate and advocate for adequate public policies in the justice sector, and to integrate traditional justice into the justice sector through a peacebuilding lens. An essential component of the programme is a Participatory Barometer, which is the first ever to be used in Guinea-Bissau. The use of such a participatory tool is aimed at giving citizens an instrument so that they themselves can demand changes to the justice system, notably through dialogue and discussion. The goal is also to make the government reflect on what people expect from them in relation to the justice system and influence the reform process. The results of this Barometer will provide quantitative and representative information on the local governance of justice in Guinea-B...

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