Conflict Sensitivity Training: Making Knowledge Work

A post by Will McInerney – Bradford Rotary Peace Fellow 2016-17 class XV and Rotary Liaison Officer. 

Forty University of Bradford Peace Studies and International Development students, including the Class XVI Rotary Peace Fellows, took part in an all-day immersive Conflict Sensitivity Professional Development Training Course with renowned scholar-practitioner, Professor Owen Greene. Professor Greene is a global expert on issues concerning conflict, security, and conflict sensitivity and has worked in high-profile consultancies with dozens of governments and INGOs. The training course, now in its third year at Bradford, is sponsored by the Rotary Peace Centre. The training concentrates on practitioner skills and teaching students how to design programmes and ensure conflict sensitivity in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. In addition, the programme highlights the impact and importance of gender analysis in conflict sensitivity work.

During the training course, Professor Greene discussed the various components and considerations within a conflict sensitive analysis and he highlighted the importance of theories of change and log frame analytical tools. Professor Greene used real-life examples from his own practice to help the students connect the theoretical classroom conversations to real-world practitioner situations. Rotary Peace Fellows and their Bradford colleagues then selected a case study country, Liberia, Myanmar, or Kenya, to examine in groups. The students were tasked with developing their own theories of change, log frames, and conflict and gender-sensitive analysis based on their research and understanding of the case study.

Throughout the course of the day students then utilized the knowledge learned from Professor Greene to develop, present, refine, and discuss their case study projects. This hands-on learning experience gave students the opportunity to work together with their globally-diverse colleagues to engage relevant and valuable skills they will soon be practicing in the field after finishing their degrees. The University of Bradford and the Rotary Peace Fellowship programme continue to emphasize the importance of experiential education and practice-based learning.

As the University of Bradford motto says, it’s about “making knowledge work.”