Platform for Dialogue and Peace (P4DP) is a Liberian Peacebuilding NGO involved in research and participatory action activities aimed at strengthening the capacities of state and non-state actors to prevent, manage and transform conflict through collaborative action. P4DP has worked in the fifteen political sub-divisions of Liberia. Established out of United Nations and Interpeace collaboration in 2006, P4DP became an autonomous Liberian non-governmental organization, since 2012.
As an organization committed to making Liberia become a society based on Good Governance and broader civic participation, P4DP applies Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology in all its works. Through this approach, P4DP endeavors to see a Liberian society that is characterized by equality, social cohesion and respect for all.
The organization has successfully implemented various projects in Liberia, including a pilot community mobilization reconciliation project in Nimba County with the support of the UN Peacebuilding Fund. The 2009 report of the Secretary-General on the UN Peacebuilding Fund stated: ‘A pilot community reconciliation project in Liberia’s volatile Nimba County succeeded in developing a model for conflict resolution, including mechanisms for settling property disputes…’ Prior to the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia, P4DP launched a study to explore Resilience to conflict as part of Interpeace managed SIDA funded three country project titled Frameworks for Assessing Resilience (FAR).
Other projects and partners that we have worked with include the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Interpeace and Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC), Mercy Corps- USAID ECAP1 and others.
Based on the idea that solutions to the challenges faced by post-conflict societies need to be developed and owned by the societies themselves in order to bring effective remedy. The methodology facilitates the development of inclusive solutions by the societies and creates a culture of dialogue that helps to improve the relations among –sometimes antagonistic- groups through repeated meetings, joint analysis of the challenges and design of solutions. The approach is also based on the assumption that such a process equips participants with listening and dialogue skills that will contribute to the peaceful management of conflicts in other conflicting contexts.
The mission of P4DP is to make Liberia become a society that is based on good governance and civic participation, through strengthening the capacities of the state and non-state actors in order to prevent, manage and transform through collaborative action. The vision of P4DP is to see Liberia as a society that is characterized by equality, social cohesion, and respect for all.
Core Values and principles
Below are the values and principles by which P4DP is directed and survive as an institution:
- Dialogue and Respect are critical for building trust and lasting peace
- Sustainable Peace- requires an inclusive process that involves women, youth and excluded groups in a meaningful and constructive way
- Create Level Playing Field- That reflects social, Political and Economic Diversity for all actors
- Build trust and legitimacy- by remaining objective and sensitive
- Develop User-friendly ways of communication
- Build and strengthen social networks-Across social and political divides by bringing state and non-state
- Peace- Should be locally owned, driven and managed
P4DP has done several studies in Liberia, including, the ‘Nimba County Reconciliation project’, ‘Peace in Liberia, challenges to consolidation of peace in the eyes of the communities’, ‘Measuring Security from a Beneficiary Perspective: An assessment of armed violence prevention and reduction interventions in Colombia, Liberia and Nepal, through- UNDP and Geneva based Small Arm Survey’, ‘A threat to Liberia’s stability- an initial assessment of the effect of the Ivorian crisis on peace and stability in Grand Gedeh and Nimba counties’, etc. P4DP in 2012 also implemented the Small Arms Study to evaluate the work Action on Arm Violence (AOAV), and IPA in Bong, Bomi, Cape Mount and Montserrado Counties through DFID’s funding.
In December 2014 P4DP in partnership with Mercy Corps through a USAID funded project, implemented an Ebola Community Action Platform (E–CAP) in Southeastern Liberia- Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland Counties respectively. Community leaders and residents in these counties were mobilized as well as sensitized on Ebola prevention. This initiative was part of social mobilization and behavioral change strategy to curtail further spread of Ebola. The project was successfully completed in March, 2015.
P4DP as a Coordinating Chair for CSO consortium working on Natural Resource Management, collaborated with other NGOs on implementing a project that seeks to increase citizen’s participation in the governance and management of natural resources in keeping with Chapter II, Article 7 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia. The National Democratic Institute managed project funded by SIDA, among others, tries to foster multi-stakeholders’ engagement with the National Legislature, Private Sectors and Citizens by advocating and building relationship with strategic committees with oversight on natural resource management.
Frameworks for Assessing Resilience (FAR)
Liberia is one of three countries, along with Guatemala and Timor Leste, participating in a cross-country project aimed at developing frameworks for assessing resilience. Resilience is understood as the capacity to anticipate risk, resolve challenges collaboratively and non-violently across societal divisions, respond creatively to conflict and crisis, and steer social change in ways that foster shared benefits of peace and development.
The FAR Programme is a two-year program created by Interpeace and funded by SIDA, to develop tools that deepen the understanding of resilience and seeking means of assessing it in conflict-affected societies – as defined by the populations of these societies themselves. It focuses on the positive capacities that contribute to resilience for peace, rather than only on the sources of fragility and potential fault-lines for conflict in any country. In its first phase, the project engages local populations in defining and assessing resilience for peacebuilding. The project is currently being implemented in Timor-Leste, Liberia, and Guatemala.
Using participatory research action methodology throughout the 15 counties in Liberia, P4DP’s team consulted 1,152 Liberians, from diverse social, economic and political backgrounds. The research teams probed respondents about their perceptions of peace – both before and after the war – as a way of understanding the major threats they see to peace and stability, as well as to better grasp the nature of the mechanisms of resilience to conflict.
In an attempt to further discuss and corroborate findings from the study, a one-day validation was held on the 29th of April 2015, in Monrovia where the Minister of Internal Hon. Morris Dukuly served as Special Guest. The validation forum brought together representatives from different sectors of society, including the House of Representatives, Governance Commission, the African Union, the Secretary-General of Liberia Motor Circle Association, people living with disability, Council of Chiefs, and people from the private sector.
There was a strong appreciation and affirmation of the research by all participants. In his opening remarks, Minister Dukuly said that this research resonated with Liberia because it acknowledged “the difficult past of Liberians coupled with their determination to grapple with their realities and that it cannot be overemphasized that they are resilience people”. At the end of the session, participants resorted to prioritization exercise during which eight resilience mechanisms were identified as having the greatest potential to contribute to the strengthening resilience and peace in Liberia.
National Working Group
The forum advised P4DP to pursue the research’s second phase in a dialogue-based process through the establishment of a National Working Group with the objective of making concrete suggestions for programmatic and policy actions. Two National Working Groups were constituted and they worked on the key findings. As part of P4DP’s strategy to validate both consultation and research findings, a National Validation Forum was held on November 27, 2015. Besides national actors, it brought together other participants including, UNMIL and INGOs and participants from all the counties were represented. At the end of an exhaustive process, the full report was launched while cogent programmatic and policy points were recommended to strengthen and build resilience, in Liberia.
A full report Lofa cover scan on the National Validation Forum. Image credit: P4DP
Women Empowerment loan Liberia
In collaboration with a Dutch private funder, P4DP launched a Women Empowerment micro-finance loan Program in 2012 ’ commonly called ‘Women Empowerment Loan Liberia: http: www.wellprojects.com, in short –WELL. The PROJECT aimed at economically empowering marginalized women through microfinance loan in order to strengthen their capacities to fight poverty and enable them to positively address societal problems through peaceful and much-dignified manner.
UNDP- Phase I & Phase II- Rule by Law and Live by Rules ( RULLAR)-2018-2019
The project is focused on strengthening the Rule of Law in Liberia through the provision of justice and security for the Liberian People. The first phase of RULLAR was implemented in 2018 in three counties, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Montserrado; P4DP collaborating with schools, communities and justice actors to enhance citizens’ awareness about the Law of Liberia and different other right based issues including access to the formal and informal justice services. The institution also provided legal Aid provision for indigents across the three counties. Basing on gains made from the first phase, the second phase of the project which begins in 2019 is currently ongoing in the same counties but different towns and schools.
CONCORD CONSULT/ Carter Center (2018).
P4DP under the CONCORD project conducted a comprehensive, baseline assessment compiled and presented a detail report and recommendations that examines public awareness about citizen rights and duties in the criminal justice system, barriers to improving awareness and access to the formal justice system, and effective means to increase awareness and usage. The assessment examined the interrelationship and intersection between the formal and informal justice systems both at the level of the policy framework and how things work in practice for the citizens.
UNFPA/Swedish Embassy Liberia (2018-2019)
The institution recently conducted a study that would help UNFPA understand the scope of maternal mortality and morbidity attributed to unsafe abortions, and to also understand the public health and human rights implications of the current legal framework on abortion and Post-abortion care in Liberia. The study seeks to provide empirical data on socio-cultural factors responsible for women and girls engaging in illegal abortion and to put forth suggestions and recommendations to engender reform and improve Liberia’s legal and policy framework on abortion.
Folke Bernadotte Academy FBA, Sweden (2017- present)
P4DP Provides various logistical support for the implementation of the Conflict Prevention Leadership Program, throughout Liberia.
UNFPA/Swedish Embassy Liberia (2017)/UNFPA-SIDA Empowered and Fulfilled Project
P4DP conducted a baseline study to document the existing assets, determinants of Adolescents’ access and utilization of ARSH information and services in the four (4) counties of Southeast Liberia for the three-year of the SIDA-funded Empowered and Fulfilled Project of UNFPA. Also establish gaps, factors, and actors influencing national and sub-national-level policies and programs on sexual reproductive health and family planning services targeting young people especially those aged between 10 and 19 years.
UNDP / People of Japan (2017)
With a Grant from the Government and People of Japan through the United Nations Development Program in Liberia, P4DP conducted a rapid capacity assessment of the border governance system in Grand Cape Mount County to determine the local and traditional border governance system in place. Upon the analysis of that assessment, the institution designed and facilitated intensive training for border security and local authorities in the region.
CONCORD CONSULT/ Cater Center (2017).
P4DP Conducted a final evaluation of the Carter Center Access to Justice Program in Liberia. Collect hundreds of household surveys and conducted several focus group discussions and key informant interviews in order to contribute to the production of the final evaluation report.
DAI/USAID/ LAVI (2016- 2019)
The Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI) is a five-year USAID funded project contracted to DAI Global, to strengthen multi-stakeholder partnerships to advocate for and monitor policy and accountability reforms in Liberia. P4DP is the coordinator of the LAVI NRM Coalition, a network of eight leading civil society organizations engaged with issues in NRM sector. Under the Grant Agreement, P4DP is leading the national level engagement process with state and non-state actors within the NRM sector so as to engender policy reform options through research, advocacy dialogues and national level activities.
Norwegian Institute for International Affairs NUPI (2017- present)
With funding support from the Government and people of Norway through (NUPI), P4DP engaged in the NUPI project that aims to support knowledge and capacity building on legal pluralism in the country. The institution undertook qualitative and quantitative studies using a Gender-based violence lens to understand how the modern court system and the traditional justice institutions address gender-based violence in Liberia; as well as examine the type of challenges women face in the different courts systems and how can they be addressed.
Researching Health in Humanitarian Crisis (R2HC), U. K. Trust, (2015)
With financial support from Welcome Trust and UK Aid, P4DP collaborated with R2HC in launching a study that explores the extent to which local populations are utilizing and relying on these healers. The study investigated how traditional healers understood the EVD and their capacities to cope with it. The study also accessed how this group of health providers could help strengthen the national health services in the wake of the future outbreak and provided a nuanced understanding of alternative medicine and their public health potential.
Ministry of Internal Affairs/ Cater Center (2015-2016)
P4DP investigated and examined the number of traditional Groves and Sacred in the 15 counties across the country to inform how the Government of Liberia can make efforts to restore, protect and preserve the divinity of these traditional cultures. The assessment also examined the impact of these traditional structures and practices on its participants and working of the bush schools. “This entrepreneurship attitude over the years has resulted to the establishment of many groves within several localities for sustainable livelihoods, which have not been guided by the traditional norms put in place by their traditional leaders but also ignores the severe health and social implications these practices have had on those initiated in their schools” Anonymous, November 2015
International Center for Migration Policy Development-MICIC (2016)
P4DP Reviewed working Paper on Côte d’Ivoire and provided strategic guidance on Liberia as a source country for migrant returning from Côte d’Ivoire; along with the coordinator of the Côte d’Ivoire case study, co develop appropriate methodologies and a tailored fieldwork plan for conducting interviews in Liberia; Co-develop research instruments for fieldwork in Liberia (interview guidelines, overall guidelines for fieldworkers); write report and present findings at regional conference, Accra, Ghana. “There was no protection for Liberians. If you buy underclothes for a woman during relationship, you do not take it back. So what’s about all the time she spent with you”? Camp Leader”. Bartejam, Grand Gedeh County.”
George Washington University, USA (2016)
The institution facilitated the strengthening of the justice systems in post-Ebola Liberia, by undertaking study in selected communities in and around Monrovia to understand how people sought justice during and after the Ebola crisis and which of the dual justice systems were used.
Small Arm Survey
P4DP also conducted a Small Arm Survey Project and completed same in 2011, with support from DFID under the Clingendael Project. The project was implemented in Montserrado, Bomi, Bong and Grand Cape Mount Counties. The major objectives of the assessments were to take stock of beneficiary perspectives, document their experiences before and after these interventions, and identify practical insights and recommendations. The project also sort to understand the extent to which direct and indirect armed violence prevention and reduction (AVR/P) interventions improve real and perceived security across a range of metrics.
Commissioned by UNDP and the United Kingdom´s Department for International Development (DFID), the SAS project was done in three countries emerging from war and affected to varying degrees by intentional violence – Colombia, Liberia and Nepal. In collaboration with Geneva based Small Arms Survey (SAS) and the Clingendael Institute of the Netherlands, Platform for Dialogue and Peace (P4DP) implemented the project in Liberia.
Ebola and Community Action Plan (ECAP)
P4DP also implemented a USAID- Mercy Corps managed Ebola and Community Action Plan (ECAP) project in 2015. The project had three major objectives: a.)Facilitating the eradication of Ebola out of Liberia, through community platform and active participation; b.)Creating awareness among local communities on measures to eradicate Ebola; and c.)Mobilizing communities’ action towards eradicating Ebola.
BBC Media Action Kick Out Ebola from Liberia Project
Since December 2014, P4DP has been working with BBC Media Action, to implement participatory research called ‘Kick Ebola Out of Liberia’ in both rural and urban Monrovia. The focus of this study is to create awareness in the communities through FGD discussion organized around various themes of Ebola- how people are reacting to them and how they can keep themselves safe from the deadly virus. The program is ongoing and the final round of the FGDs was concluded by Early July 2015.
The P4PD program brings together all sectors of society from across Liberia
This includes both urban and rural populations so that a common vision for a peaceful future is developed. This vision is expected to come from the people themselves and the process will complement current efforts to develop concrete recommendations and strategies to implement them.
Builds capacities to deal with conflict
The program increases positive social and political cohesion by creating better capacities in state and non-state actors to deal with conflict through collaborative action. Specifically it:
- Builds trust between and among individuals, communities, and institutions.
- Levels the playing field’ by reducing the inequalities in power and increasing the confidence and competence between different social and political actors. Develops channels of communication and social networks across social and political divides and between government and social actors.
- Ensures an inclusive process that also involves women, youth and other excluded groups in a meaningful and constructive way.
Impact and results
Successfully implemented a pilot community mobilization reconciliation project in Nimba County with the support of the UN Peacebuilding Fund, the UN Mission in Liberia and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This project is now being rolled out across the country following the success. The much heralded Musa Bility Commission capitalized on one of the recommendations in the Nimba county land problem.
The 2009 report of the Secretary-General on the UN Peacebuilding Fund stated: ‘A pilot community reconciliation project in Liberia’s volatile Nimba County succeeded in developing a model for conflict resolution, including mechanisms for settling property disputes. The success of this project in fostering reconciliation and post conflict reintegration led to the roll-out of a similar approach at the national level. Challenges to such approaches include political risks affecting the performance of reconciliation and governance projects: limited political will and national ownership, along with difficulties in national legislatures; and inflexible positions of some key stakeholders. Such challenges attest to the fact that sustainable peacebuilding is not a short term endeavor’.
Momentum for peace
The independent evaluation commissioned by the United Nations Mission in Liberia and the Government of Liberia underlined the project’s success in mobilizing local communities to address conflict in non-violent means and create a “momentum for peace”.
Capacity building of local change agents
The project was carried out through eight Liberian Peacebuilding organizations. This constitutes a “hands-on” exercise in capacity building to instill skills of facilitation, research, mediation, and gender mainstreaming in local Liberian organizations.
Local consultations on key priorities carried out across Liberia
The project conducted consultations across all of the counties in Liberia, reaching into districts that have never been consulted on these issues. The results were provided to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and are being incorporated into key government policy documents.
R2HC Project- The Role of Traditional Healers in the Fight against Ebola.
In Liberia, traditional health practitioners are often people’s first recourse and last resort for health care. While to some extent this indicates limitations on access to biomedical services and infrastructures, for many communities, regardless of the presence of these services traditional health care sector remains the first choice for care. However, despite the global health community’s long-term recognition of the importance of traditional healers in enhancing public health coverage, the role of traditional healers in emergency contexts and health systems continues to be overlooked.
American Anthropologists Association (AAA)
P4DP is a member of Liberia’s chapter and an affiliate of the American Anthropologists Association (AAA). The AAA in Liberia is a hub created by Anthropologists and Social Scientists who came from various parts of the globe to work on Ebola Prevention and awareness programs. The essence of the group is to share information and understand what each researcher was working on. P4DP and the University of Liberia are the only two local affiliates of AAA. Busy with the establishment of a local branch of the AAA. The Ebola E- 100 project is an outcome of AAA.
The Mobile for Women project, which is yet to commence, is intended to contribute to the promotion of gender-sensitive human rights problems in the border counties of Grand Gedeh, Nimba, Maryland and River Gee through the strengthening of local CSOs in awareness raising and advocacy. The proposed project seeks to bring women’s rights in the border areas on the agenda of the population and the authorities as well as identify ways of improving the human rights situation of women.
Enhancing Capacity of Liberian Youth for Peace and Security (ECLYPS)
The (ECLYPS) proposed project is a pilot intervention for South-eastern border counties that aims at contributing to Liberia’s overall peace and security by addressing insecurity and inter-communal fragmentations in border areas through focused empowerment of at-risk youth and marginalized social groups. The project seeks to train youth civil society organizations in techniques of relevant conflict prevention, dialogue, and peacebuilding and to enable them to empower these groups to produce constructive recommendations to address the challenges faced by the young population in the troubled border area with Ivory Coast. In addition, ECLYPS aligns with the national reconciliation roadmap and feeds into the larger reconciliation process.