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Director: Mel Duncan
801 Front Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55103, U.S.A
3. Best Practices in Field Relationships
by Donna Howard and Corey Levine
Hamburg / St. Paul September 2001
3. Field relationships
3. Best Practices in Field Relationships 216
3.1 Introduction Donna Howard and Corey Levine 216
3.2 Peace Teams Donna Howard 217 3.2.1 Working and living on a team 217 3.2.2 Relationship to local groups 229 3.2.3 Relationship to other INGOs and GOs working in the region 232 3.2.4 Relationship with the sending organisation 234 3.2.5 Other issues affecting relationship 236
3.3 Experience of larger-scale organisations Corey Levine 240 3.3.1 Introduction 240 3.3.2 Working and living in a team 240 3.3.3 Relationship to local groups 242 3.3.4 Relationship to other INGOs and GOs working in the region 245 3.3.5 Relationship with the sending organisation 247
3.4 Conclusions Donna Howard and Corey Levine 250 3.4.1 Working and living on a team 250 3.4.2 Relationship with local organisations 251 3.4.3 Relationship with INGOs and GOs 251 3.4.4 Relationship with NP governance 252 3.4.5 Entrance to the field 252 3.4.6 Facility in local language 252 3.4.7 Final questions 252 Appendix: Draft of Guiding Principles for Civil Peace Services 254 References (for all chapters) 256 The research was done by Peaceworkers as part of the research phase of Nonviolent Peaceforce with the support of USIP. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nonviolent Peaceforce or the United States Institute of Peace..
3.1 Introduction Effectiveness in the field will depend on positive, creative, and efficient relationships - on the team itself, with other governmental and non-governmental organisations, and with components of Nonviolent Peaceforce governance. The following chapter includes examples of how these relationships are handled by others. The attempt will be to draw some conclusions from field relationships of peace teams which share a proximate mission but are too small to transpose directly to the work of NP’s large-scale intervention, and to draw others from organisations of equal or greater size but less similar in aims and history.
Team-sending peace organisations included in this study include Balkan Peace Team (BPT), Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), Civil Peace Services in Europe, Osijek Peace Teams, Peace Brigades International (PBI), Servicio Internacional para la Paz (SIPAZ), and Witness for Peace (WfP).1 Other examples are drawn from the Cyprus Resettlement Project, the Gulf Peace Team and Mir Sada.
Larger scale organisations were also looked at. These included international humanitarian NGOs such as CARE, International Rescue Committee etc.; International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); and transnational governmental organisations such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).
At this point it is important to point out that the difference between the organisations addressed in the two categories of large and small scale organisations is not only the size of the operation, but also on the way the organisation is structured and their mandate. Many of the small scale organisations are mostly grassroots, often volunteer run, with small budgets and non-traditional methods of decision-making. The largersscale organisations are generally top down, hierarchical organisations with requirements for staff more focused on education and experience rather thanthe value-based recruitment of the small-scale organisations. It is the assumption of the writers that NP will hybridise these examples for greatest efficiency, unity, and participatory governance.
3.2.1 Working and living on a team 188.8.131.52 Composition of teams Team size The team-sending organisations have for the most part been limited to small teams by resources and the number of qualified volunteers available. In some cases, however, it was decided that a smaller number of volunteers was advantageous the work (e.g. BPT, WfP). At its largest, Witness for Peace had 40 tong-term team members in the field at one time; now there are four per country. The dramatic change is due to both limited funding and a change of focus. At first the goal was to have as many people as possible see what was going on in Chiapas. Now long-term teams do more research, analysis and writing.2 SIPAZ at one time had 10 team members in Chiapas, but shrinking resources allow for only a two-person team at present.3 Organisations differ in how many persons they place on a single team, ranging from two to eight. Austrian Peace Services sometimes sends people out alone;4 SIPAZ and Pax Christi have teams of two or three;5 Osijek Peace Teams, three to five;6 BPT from one to four. CPT currently has teams in the field of four, eight, seven and three,7 and PBI’s teams have ranged from two to 25.
The total number of volunteers sustained in the field currently ranges from two to 50:
SIPAZ has two, CPS Forum six, Austrian Peace Services 11, CPT 21, PBI more than 50.
PBI has four on-going projects (Columbia, Haiti, Chiapas, East Timor/Indonesia) as does CPT (Chiapas, Hebron, New Brunswick and Colombia). Osijek has five teams in one project.
Age of team members PBI has an absolute lower age limit of 25 and SIPAZ one of 23. Most other teams will consider a person 21 years old.8 BPT’s lower limit was ”people who were not mature enough without giving an age limit; team members were either in their 20’s or in their 2Taylor, Phyllis 4/01 interview with author 3Poen, Robert - 6/01 interview with author 4Some alone, some together in teams (e.g. as international members of the Osijek Peace Teams (Hämmerle, Pete - interview with Christine Schweitzer) 5 Weber - 4/01 interview with Christine Schweitzer; Willmutz - 3/01 interview with Christine Schweitzer 6Osijek Peace Teams placed 22 locals and seven internationals on teams in the beginning. Their large size proved problematic, however; now there are three to five members per team and five teams in the field. (Hämmerle, Pete - interview with Christine Schweitzer) 7There are three full-time corps members and one reservist in Chiapas, six full-time and two reserve in Hebron, four full-time and three reserve in New Brunswick and two full-time and one reserve in Colombia. Full-time CPT Corps members alternate service in the field with assignments at home. (Claire Evans - 4/01)
40’s and 50’s.”9 The average age of WfP team members is 27. Currently, seven full-time CPT Corps members are in their 20’s, two are in their 30’s, four are in their 40’s, three in their 50’s, two in their 60’s, and one in her 70’s. Minimum age is 21.
Culture/ Nation/ Gender A look at national diversity of peace teams shows WfP and CPT at one end of the spectrum with only members from U.S. and Canada (by choice) and PBI at the other end with its 17 country groups recruiting from all over the world. On the CPT Corps of 19 full-timers, six are from Canada and 13 are from US. Each CPT team is selected and balanced carefully by the Director. Potential members are evaluated for personality type (e.g. leadership), age, gender, etc. It has happened that a team ended up being one female and four males because of the need to balance other factors and having a small field from which to choose.10 BPT teams were mostly from western Europe and the US, one person was Australian, and residents of countries where the project worked were excluded. Slightly more women than men volunteered for BPT.11 Each Osijek Peace Team includes at least one Serbian, one Croatian, and one international. Members have come from Austria, Germany, Britain, Yugoslavia, Rumania and US.
SIPAZ team members in Chiapas come from France, the Netherlands, Peru, Uruguay, US, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Ecuador as well as Mexico. 12 A few of the projects under the German CPS are carried out by nationals from the conflict region (project of Living Without Armament in Vojvodina and of Forum CPS in Belgrade).13 Diversity Team diversity may at times seem unwieldy and complex, but all agree that it contributes to the betterment of the team. CPT holds the record for greatest age diversity by far, with one volunteer who had not turned 21 and one in her 70’s. All teams strive for gender balance.
The matter of mixed ethnicity on teams is a more complicated one, having to do with justice, language, safety, and effectiveness.14 CPT team-mate Rey Lopez, originally from the Philippines, was adept and effective in Haitian culture15 and a PBI team-mate from Japan was effective in Sri Lanka. However, a PBI team in Sri Lanka recommended against having Indian team members because of the colonial relationship between countries. 16 Recall the story told in chapter 2.2.2 about the arrest of Karen Ridd and Marcella 9van den Bosse - interview with author 10Evans - interview with author 11van den Bosse - interview with author 12SIPAZ, ”Five Years of Peacebuilding in Chiapas” 13Schweitzer, oral information 14See chapter 2, regarding the unequal value given a team member in some regions based on the colour of his/her skin.
15Schirch 1996: 49
Rodriguez in El Salvador. The two women (Ridd is Canadian, Rodriguez is Colombian) represent an ideal pairing within a team - one for familiarity with proximate language and culture, and one whose white skin provided enough immunity that she might afford some protection to her team partner as well. On that occasion in El Salvador, 37 Europeans and North Americans detained. 75% of them were held less than 24 hours, nearly all handed over to their embassies. However, of the 17 South American and Central American foreigners detained, 60% were held for over four days and then summarily deported. Due to Ridd’s accompaniment, Rodriguez was only Latin American freed the same day.17 Though diversification and undoing racism have been PBI goals from the onset, fulfilment has proven elusive. There is no mechanism for recruitment in countries other than those which have a PBI group, PBI-USA set aside board seats for people of colour but has difficulty filling them; there has been no successful outreach in Africa.
Early in WfP development it was decided that teams should be from the US in order to contend US policy, which was a primary goal. But Phyllis Taylor believes that peace teams most certainly should be multi-cultural in Israel/Palestine, for example, to establish non-partisanship.18 The same was said of Osijek teams by IFOR secretary Pete Hammerle: the presence of both Serbs and Croats on each team is essential.19 Mohammed Abu-Nimer, assistant professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University, advises that NP’s teams absolutely must be multicultural as a manifestation of our goals. He does not feel language should present a problem for communication within the team - that we should require proficiency in English or French, e.g., and interpersonal communication skills. Training must include cultural diversity as well as interpersonal conflict resolution for use within the team.20 184.108.40.206 Decision-making, communication, specialisation ”Consensus process does not aim for unanimity, nor even for each group member to be totally satisfied with a particular decision. It does aim for complete support.”21 All teams studied rely on consensus to make decisions within the team. Not all have a specific plan for how to handle an urgent situation when consensus could not be reached in a reasonable amount of time.
SIPAZ works with a consensus model at all levels of the organisation. SIPAZ works with a consensus model at all levels of the organisation. The team itself has a coordinator whose leadership is respected in a crisis. All are subject to decisions by the Board of Directors..22 WfP teams and delegations make decisions by consensus, but in danger a leader may make a decision. The field staff member in Managua may say to the 17Mahony/Eguren 197: 179 18Taylor interview with author 19Hämmerle Interview with Christine Schweitzer 20Abu-Nimer - 6/01 interview with NP volunteer, Polly Edmunds 21Coy 1997: 191