Programmatic Evaluation of Search for Common Ground Programs in Nepal
Search for Common Ground has been working in Nepal since February 2006 with the mission to transform the way the world deals with conflict: away from adversarial approaches, toward cooperative solutions. With a multi-pronged program to support the peace process, SFCG combines media with community peacebuilding work that translates into the production of two nationally and 17 locally broadcast radio programs and community-based activities with youth, children and other key actors in the peace process.
Youth, who are the key to either accelerate or transform conflict, are the primary target group of SFCG and its approach to conflict transformation and peacebuilding at community level. In addition to it, SFCG, realizing the power of media, has adopted it as a tool for peacebuilding to reach a wider range of audience.
During our interactions in the field, we noted many evidences when the programs have addressed the context and generated local solutions to those conflicting contexts. In addition, the programs were also noted to make huge impacts in changing the behavior of people while dealing with conflict. This change in behavior included orienting towards being sensitive to the other.
SFCG has directly worked with youth and media persons; however, it has accommodated varieties of stakeholders through its media as well as community peacebuilding programs. Some key stakeholders who actively participated in different SFCG activities are local decision makers and political leaders, government officials, radio stations and radio program producers, adult members of the society through intergenerational dialogues, and the leaders from various caste and ethnic groups.
It would not be overstating to say that human beings, especially during the times of conflict, focus more on differences, take differences as negative and do not look at their similarities. In other words, the foundation of larger conflict is this small but pivotal misunderstanding of perceiving ‘different’ as negative and not at all perceiving any commonalities. Thus, SFCG’s motto “understanding the differences, acting on commonalities” is well translated into its work. The idea of accepting the differences and then acting on commonalities is the basis on which peace and harmony thrive and this has been caught well by SFCG.