When Interpeace began working in Mozambique in July 1995, the country was undergoing a rapid transition from war to peace. The hundred or so international aid agencies present were assessing their role and usefulness in the country. Their relationship with the Frelimo government had become strained as the government sought to reassert itself and not become aid-dependent.
Interpeace’s offer to provide an impartial venue to discuss politically sensitive issues was welcomed by the government, civil society and the international community.
After consulting with a wide range of actors, four national priorities for reconstruction and reconciliation were identified: reintegration of demobilized soldiers, greater role for the mass media in promoting democracy and development, improved participation in local self-governance and changes to agricultural structural adjustment policies.
It was the first time outside intellectual circles that people from different regions and political affiliations came together to listen to each other’s points of view.
Local research helped to break the impasse between the government and veterans organizations on whether soldiers had been successfully reintegrated.
The Centre for the Study of Democracy and Development was set up as a local institution to promote dialogue amongst major actors on policies and development programmes. In April 1998 the project wound up, and responsibility for the programme was handed over to the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Development.