© Helvetas / Bruna Fossati

Our Expertise and Services: Conflict Transformation

© Helvetas / Bruna Fossati

Helvetas helps build “positive peace.” We promote understanding and acceptance and are committed to constructively address root causes and drivers of conflict. We create or support spaces for dialogue and negotiation, where all human beings are treated with respect, without physical or psychological violence. We help create systems that ensure justice for all, especially safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable groups.

Why conflict transformation matters

“There is no peace without development, there is no development without peace”, said Jan Eliasson, ex-UN Deputy Secretary-General. This understanding is also enshrined in SDG goal 16. Sustainable development can only happen in a peaceful context, where human rights are respected and promoted. The smaller the divide between rich and poor and between different groups, the more inclusive, just and peaceful can development be.

Helvetas strongly believes in the principles of gender and social equity, human rights, good governance and conflict sensitivity. For systems to be inclusive and just, there must be a high level of freedom of expression and a high acceptance of differences in a diverse society. Spaces for cultural expression and political dialogue are crucial. They allow different stakeholders to engage, exchange and discuss the conditions needed to live together in peace. Helvetas supports social transformation processes towards positive peace.

What we do

Conflict-sensitive program management (CSPM)

Helvetas works in a conflict-sensitive manner. This means that our staff is equipped to analyze and understand the local context, to recognize how our programs interact with its environment, and to build or adapt our course of action accordingly. Our interventions support peaceful structures. They do no harm and minimize tension in the local context.

Conflict transformation

Helvetas’ partner countries are increasingly affected by conflict and fragility. Our projects are facing volatile social contexts and often address sensitive issues such as land and water management or governance mechanisms. Helvetas facilitates negotiations around access to natural resources, services or justice. Helvetas is specialized in creating cooperation and dialogue platforms designed to convene people with different interests, identities as well as social and economic backgrounds. We work with youth and adults to prevent violent extremism and promote mutual understanding.

Culture for peace

Helvetas believes that expressing one’s identity and culture is a basic need. Particularly if populations lack other basic needs, artistic expression has an important psychosocial function, both for the artists and the audience. Art that expresses the quest for peace does not only reach people’s minds. It reaches their hearts. Our artistic and cultural projects strengthen resilience, develop and uphold an enabling environment and initiate and support social transformation processes towards positive peace. By supporting arts and culture in contexts of conflict, Helvetas nourishes a fertile ground for sustainable peace.

© Helvetas / Jens Engeli
Project Sharique in Bangladesh © Helvetas / Jens Engeli
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© Helvetas / Sarah Niemeyer
Peace and Co-Existence Commitee of a Sri Lankan village with Sin, Tamil and Muslim © Helvetas / Sarah Niemeyer
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What we offer

  • Expertise in conflict sensitivity, conflict transformation and culture for peace to empower individuals, organizations and state institutions to be agents for peace, raising their awareness of conflictive issues and how to deal with them, as well as developing capacities to effectively engage as positive changemakers.
  • Supporting non-governmental and governmental bodies through tailor-made capacity development on conflict analysis, context- and conflict-sensitive program management, conflict management, conflict transformation, conflict-sensitive cultural management, peace education and culture for peace.
  • Supporting participatory, inclusive and non-violent processes of conflict resolution and decision-making at the local level.
  • Assisting clients in project and program development, designing and planning interventions in the area of conflict transformation and culture for peace, integrating a conflict-sensitive, human-rights based approach, respecting the principles of good governance.
  • Integrating conflict sensitivity in strategies and specific development approaches at the organizational, program/project and individual level.
  • Tailor-made development and provision of instruments and training material for conflict analysis, conflict-sensitive program management and conflict transformation.
  • Geographical coverage: Our advisors based in the global South and Switzerland provide technical support to projects in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Contact our team

Our multilingual advisory team offers wide-ranging thematic expertise and has in-depth experience in navigating complex processes. Helvetas’ work builds on over 60 years of experience in more than 30 countries.

Contact our conflict transformation experts
Head Governance & Peace / Senior Advisor Governance

Selected projects

Helvetas develops and guides projects. To be sustainable, they must be locally embedded. We support our partners in effectively organizing projects and processes and assist local authorities to better assume their responsibilities.

© Helvetas
Laos Governance, Peace & Migration

Fostering Civic Engagement

© Helvetas
Ethiopia Governance, Peace & Migration

Taking Responsibility for Village Administration

© Helvetas
Pakistan Governance, Peace & Migration

Economic Prospects for Peace and Stability

© Helvetas
Bangladesh Governance, Peace & Migration

Sound Local Policy for Real Change

Sri Lanka Governance, Peace & Migration

Making Labor Migration a Success

© Helvetas / Bruna Fossati
Sri Lanka Governance, Peace & Migration

Young People on Course for Reconciliation

© Helvetas
Tajikistan Governance, Peace & Migration

Justice for All

© DLDP
Albania Governance, Peace & Migration

Building Confidence in Democracy

© Helvetas / Armand Habazaj
Albania, Serbia Governance, Peace & Migration

Social Sciences for a Better Society

© Helvetas
Tajikistan Governance, Peace & Migration

Water for Sustainable Development

© Helvetas
Bhutan Governance, Peace & Migration

Partnership for Diverse Civil Society Actions

Bangladesh_CSO-LA_5 | © Julia Thienhaus / Helvetas
Bangladesh Governance, Peace & Migration

Strengthening Capacities of the Disadvantaged

© Helvetas
Nepal Governance, Peace & Migration

Making Labor Migration an Informed Choice

© Helvetas
Kyrgyzstan Governance, Peace & Migration

Improving the Life Conditions in Rural Areas of Kyrgyzstan

© Helvetas
Kyrgyzstan Governance, Peace & Migration

Contributing to a More Cohesive Society in Kyrgyzstan

© DEMOS
Kosovo Governance, Peace & Migration

Building a Democratic Kosovo

© Swiss Embassy in Albania
Albania Governance, Peace & Migration

Strengthening Local Governance for Empowered Citizens

© Water for food
Global Governance, Peace & Migration

Tackling corruption in the water sector

© HelvetasBhutan
Bhutan Governance, Peace & Migration

Bringing decision-making to local communities

© Helvetas
Guatemala Governance, Peace & Migration

Entrepreneurship in the Guatemalan Highlands

Our quarterly newsletter “Highlights”

For development practitioners and anyone interested in our projects and approaches.

Further information

Download and read our publications on different conflict transformation related topics.

Partnerships, alliances and networks

Other topics that might interest you

Governance, Peace & Migration

In many countries where we work, men and women are unable to claim their rights and participate actively in decision-making processes.

Migration and Development

Helvetas neither encourages nor discourages people from migration. We recognize migration as a viable livelihood strategy.

Gender and Social Equity

Helvetas makes sure that our work actively and meaningfully includes and supports the most disadvantaged groups.