The ABC Triangle and the Conflict Tree help community peace activists understand local conflicts
This is how Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, defines the word Ubuntu. Participants from White City and Snake Park from Soweto during the local peace committee training workshops defined Ubuntu as, “ a spirit of progress; togetherness, acts of kindness; humility; tolerance and selflessness”. This was an icebreaker that opened up a training workshop on the development of collective strategies for peaceful communities.
ACTION Support Centre trained 40 people in Snake Park and 32 in White City who are local peace committee members in Soweto. The training explored, shared and analysed the challenges and opportunities to develop collective strategies for peaceful communities. The training explored roles and responsibilities of Local Peace Committees; shared the tools of Conflict Transformation and concluded with group commissions and report backs.
A local peace committee was described as a generic name for structures formed at the level of a ward with the aim to encourage and facilitate joint, inclusive peace making and peace building processes within its own context. One of their responsibilities is violence prevention or reduction, as they are effective when there is sufficient early warning, allowing them to meet timeously and take collective preventative steps. They also provide a platform for dialogue, facilitating negotiations and building consensus, and deepening mutual understanding. In addition to this they promote problem solving and community building, which have been effective strategies in restoring a sense of community under the most difficult circumstances. Hence they contribute to peace building because each dispute or problem that has been resolved contributes to mutual trust and confidence in their joint ability to manage their own lives and reconciliation.
The training shared two tools for conflict analysis; the ABC triangle and the Conflict Tree. The ABC triangle is used to analyse factors related to Attitude, Behaviour and Context for conflicting parties, and the Conflict tree is a visual tool used to better understand the roots, core problem and impacts of conflict. The participants were divided into groups and were tasked to prepare presentations applying what they have been taught. The presentations showed that the participants had identified the root causes of the conflict or issue being addressed. The groups managed to show the links between causes and effects, which was achieved by reminding the groups to check their logic by repeating the process of asking “Why?” down through the levels of causes. The presentations were great as participants showed they had fully captured the use and application of the tool. However, a major question raised was the confusion between cause and effect. The facilitator explained that this was usual and would become clearer through discussion and practice. Overall participants concurred that this activity had helped them to think about causes and origins of and how one could use the problem tree with the parties of interest to examine conflict causes. Most importantly the groups concurred that conflict analysis tools help break down large, complex problems into smaller, more manageable chunks. These individual pieces can be examined in more detail, and can suggest opportunities for action.
The facilitator encouraged all the participants to keep practicing the use and application of the ABC and Conflict tree tools in their communities. The ACTION Support Centre highlighted that it would provide ongoing support and follow up to conflict transformation activities in the participants’ respective areas.