Civil society organisations, conflict prevention and peacebuilding in Northern Ghana
Keywords:Civil Society Organisations, Conflict, Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding, Northern Ghana
The complexity of contemporary violent conflicts requires a shift from the traditional notion that preventing conflicts and building peace reside within governments to include the role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Using a qualitative research design with 20 in-depth interviews conducted with representatives of CSOs in northern Ghana, the study reveals three broad categories of CSOs namely Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs), Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations
(NGOs) performing conflict prevention and peacebuilding roles. These CSOs respond constructively to conflict using dialogue and mediation in different ways by using multiple instruments such as early warning systems and peace education for conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The study shows that, unlike the state, CSOs worked towards conflict prevention and peacebuilding through local initiatives and partnership with communities. The dominant philosophy guiding CSOs’ work is the integrationist paradigm. One serious limitation identified in the conflict prevention and peacebuilding work of CSOs in northern Ghana is the lack of a common peacebuilding framework that can guide them to reduce the duplication of functions within the same space. The paper recommends that CSOs should forge a working partnership to roll out a comprehensive conflict prevention and peacebuilding activity to build sustainable peace for the development of the regions of northern Ghana.