What We Mean When We Say…

Conflict Analysis

Conflict analysis is the systematic study of the profile, causes, actors, and dynamics of conflict. It helps development, humanitarian and peacebuilding organizations to gain a better understanding of the context in which they work and their role in that context. Conflict analysis can be carried out at various levels (e.g. local, regional, national, etc.) and seeks to establish the linkages between these levels. (Conflict Sensitivity Consortium, Conflict Sensitive Programming Resource Pack, chapter 2)

Conflict Assessment

A conflict assessment is a systematic process to analyze the dynamics of peace, conflict, stability, and instability in a given country context. Conflict assessment is the first step in formulating strategies, developing policies, and designing programs that effectively prevent, mitigate, and manage conflict dynamics. (CMM; Conflict Assessment Framework Application Guide)

Conflict Sensitive Programming

Conflict sensitivity is the ability of an organization engaged in any kind of intervention to understand the conflict dynamics in the context in which it operates, particularly with respect to inter-group relations; understand the interactions between their interventions and the conflict dynamics in the context; and act upon these understandings in order to minimize unintended negative impacts and maximize positive impacts of their interventions as related to the conflict. (CMM)

Conflict Sensitive Programming versus Peacebuilding Programming

Terminology surrounding conflict programming is used differently by various organizations. One common thread, however, is that conflict-sensitive principles must be applied to various types of programming i.e., humanitarian assistance, development and even peacebuilding —they do not stand on their own. Peacebuilding programs (as well as development and humanitarian assistance), can and do stand alone. Conflict sensitivity is an approach or filter that applies to all types of programming though most would agree that a program which has applied conflict sensitive principles will usually have results that positively affect the conflict context (peace writ small). Peacebuilding programming, as stated above, focuses directly on addressing key drivers of conflict. (CDA)


Long-term efforts aimed at bringing improvements in the economic, political and social status, environmental stability and quality of life of the population especially the poor and disadvantaged.

Do No Harm (DNH)

Do No Harm is a specific approach to conflict sensitivity. It developed as a response to the realization that aid was often delivered with negative consequences in areas of conflict. The approach posits that there is a minimum obligation for any intervention to consciously seek to avoid negative impacts of its activities. It has traditionally been applied to development and relief efforts in conflict situations but has increasingly been applied more broadly to any type of efforts in fragile or conflict states. (CDA)

Humanitarian Assistance

Activities designed to rapidly reduce human suffering in emergency situations, especially when local authorities are unable or unwilling to provide relief.


Peace-building is a process that facilitates the establishment of durable peace and tries to prevent the recurrence of violence by addressing root sources and effects of conflict through reconciliation, institution building, and political as well as economic transformation. This consists of a set of physical, social, and structural initiatives that are often an integral part of post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation. (CMM)

Theory of Change (TOC)

A theory of change explains why we think certain actions will produce desired change in a given context; for example, if groups from conflicting societies participate in joint activities, then this contact will lead to increased understanding of the other and will reduce inter-group conflict. A theory of change is intended to make all of our implicit assumptions more explicit in order to (1) clarify which drivers of violent conflict we are addressing; (2) state clearly what the intended outcome of programs will be; and (3) fully articulate how and why the program will address the drivers of conflict and achieve its intended outcomes. Accurate and clearly stated theories of change are necessary for effective programming. When theories of change are explicitly stated, more rigorous learning and evaluation become possible because comparable lessons can be drawn from programs and activities informed by similar TOCs. (THINK, OECD-DAC).