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From the Beautiful Pines of Lebanon: Building Peace Beyond War

This is a sponsored organizational post on PCDN

A blog on IPDTC’s recent programmes with the great team at UNDP Lebanon Peacebuilding

The International Peace and Development Training Centre has just returned from training the UNDP Peacebuilding Team in Lebanon, in both Beirut and Bkassine. The opportunity to work alongside such committed and passionate individuals, dedicated to making a real impact on their local communities, was inspiring beyond measure. Many people see peace building as a “soft skill”- as intangible, as a small “side project” for donors in order to create some good PR and “peace and love” positivity. Anyone who works in peace building knows that this is not the reality. The reality is gritty and raw, dealing with the starkest emotions, injustices and root causes of generations’ old grievances. It is one thing to create a development programme, and quite another to generate development in a conflict-affected context, attempting to heal divisions, foster reconciliation, deal with trauma and issues which for years have been pushed down and treated as taboo, continuously re-manifesting themselves through violence. This is what UNDP’s peacebuilding team is undertaking- working on Violence Free Schools, engaging with journalists and media to transform how reporting is done – moving from confrontational, polarising reporting ripe with demonisation and enemy images to quality, professional peace journalism that helps communities to understand conflicts more effectively and how they can address them — working with former combatants, and engaging directly in communities to foster and strengthen social stability within and between the Lebanese host communities and the Syrian refugee community. This is no small undertaking, given the many challenges facing the country, and the team at UNDP work together with their partners with dedication, commitment and continuing effort to make a real change and impact on their country. 

Our training team began the programme with a one day Leadership Brief in Beirut, on Peacebuilding, Crisis Prevention & Recovery. The Leadership Brief brought together senior management from all over UNDP Lebanon to gain a global overview of key lessons and critical issues in peacebuilding, crisis prevention & recovery from the UN, UNDP and more broadly customised for the context in Lebanon. Programme and Area Managers engaged in a review of key needs and objectives relating to peacebuilding, crisis prevention & recovery in Lebanon; as well Good Practices, Bad Practices and Improving Programming for Impact. The programme allowed senior management to deepen understanding of conflict sensitive programming and programming impact in divided and challenging contexts and how they can make a difference and support peacebuilding through their broader work on dialogues, governance, and infrastructure projects.


We then moved on to Bkassine, an area of breathtaking beauty in the middle of a pine forest, where we worked with UNDP Lebanon’s Peacebuilding team on a four day programme Building Core Skills in Peacebuilding, Designing for Impact, and Monitoring, Evaluation and Improvement of Peacebuilding Programming. The programme went deep into key concepts relevant for practitioners, the importance of cumulative impact, applied peace and conflict analysis, designing for impact, theories of change & programme logic, and how we can implement effective monitoring and evaluation to help us see what works, what doesn’t, why, and what we can do to improve the impact of our programmes and achieve real change.

Staff working in the field are often confronted with very challenging situations, with various pressures on them both internally and externally. The importance of stepping out of this context for a facilitated retreat, to re-evaluate, build and apply new skills and knowledge, and work together as a team towards a common goal, cannot be underestimated.

So often, peace workers in the field have a multitude of experience, of real understanding of the people they serve and the grievances in the local community. What we’re told every day though is the need to support and strengthen this with ensuring those working directly on the ground have the tools, knowledge, skills and support that can really help them to engage in working effectively with conflicts, assist peacebuilding, and help communities heal from the visible and invisible impacts and affects of war. IPDTC’s team works to support these practitioners and missions and agencies on the ground, providing hands-on customised trainings to meet their exact needs, and give a ‘booster’ to amazing teams and the work they are doing. With UNDP Lebanon Peacebuilding we covered many issues, from practical peacebuilding skills and tools to how to conduct a “whole of society” conflict analysis, stakeholder mapping, assumption mapping; how to improve the design of peacebuilding programmes to achieve real impact; developing indicators to make results tangible and visible, and much more.

Feed-back from participants was great. We heard how important the programme was for them – how it helped them develop personally and professionally, complementing the depth of their experience with skills and tools needed to have real impact and create real change within the communities they are working in. From IPDTC we just want to say thank you to the entire peacebuilding team at UNDP Lebanon -with admiration and appreciation of their commitment and the work they do every day. We wish them well in their future endeavors and look forward to remaining in touch with them to provide any support requested. As with every IPDTC training programme, participants are now part of the IPDTC Alumni and benefit from having our senior team of experts and practitioners on-call and available to respond to requests for support and provide on-site or distance-based feed-back, coaching and help as colleagues.

This is the IPDTC approach – on request, personalised, customised training for those in the field working directly on peacebuilding, prevention and post-war recovery in policy or practice. For those who can deal with the difficult issues, gently manoeuvring the stormy waters of conflict, whilst calming the current and bringing people with them towards a better future beyond the legacies and impact of violence and war.

If you would like to learn more about IPDTC programmes, how to take part at our Global Academy or Executive Leadership Trainings in London, or to request a programme for your team, organisation, mission or agency, please write to and visit for more information.

Upcoming IPDTC programmes over the next months include:

Designing Peacebuilding Programmes: 30 October- 3 November 2017, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Advanced Simulations for Conflict: 6-9 November 2017, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Making Mediation & Peace Processes Work: 4-6 December 2017, London, UK.

Effective Monitoring & Evaluation for Peacebuilding: 7-9 December 2017, London, UK.

IPDTC’s core list of 20 upon-request programmes which can be delivered for your government, agency or organisation include:


Advanced Mediation and Peacemaking / Peace Processes Designing Peacebuilding Programmes
Negotiations & Mediation Training for Senior Leadership Improving Quality, Impact and Effectiveness of Peace Operations
Dialogue Processes in Peacebuilding


Strategic Thinking, Scenario Development and Planning and Futures Forecasting
Systemic Peacebuilding Leadership in Complex Conflict
Community-Based Dialogue and Peace Processes Crisis Prevention and Management


Conflict Analysis & Intelligence


Setting up a Crisis Management / Prevention Mission
Post-War Recovery, Stabilisation and Peace Consolidation Monitoring & Evaluating Peace Operations


Early Warning, Preparedness and Prevention of Armed Conflicts Gender and Peacebuilding


Prevention of Electoral and Political Violence Youth and Peacebuilding


Strategic Planning and Design of Peace Operations Pre-Deployment Preparedness Training





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