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Manuals | August 7, 2017

The Ties That Bind: Building Social Cohesion in Divided Communities

Training Guide


This guide was born from a need to share CRS’s social cohesion learning from Central African Republic (CAR) from 2013–2015. During this turbulent period, CAR experienced unprecedented violence and brutality between the Seleka (Alliance) and the Anti-Balaka (Anti-Machete) militias. At the invitation of the Muslim and Christian religious leaders, CRS trained more than 1,000 government, civil society, and private sector leaders in social cohesion principles and techniques, and equipped them with tools they could use in their workplaces and communities.CRS also trained a select group of participants in Training of Trainers (TOT) so they could scale up the program and reach many more of their fellow Central Africans. This guide innovatively combines the 4Ds of Appreciative Inquiry ("Discover, Dream, Design and Deliver") with CRS’ 3Bs peacebuilding methodology ("Binding, Bonding and Bridging"). The result is a powerful approach for use within a people-to-people peacebuilding framework that can help groups, organizations and communities that are either in crisis or facing lesser challenges to introspectively consider disagreements and disputes, find common ground, collaborate for mutual benefit, and envision a harmonious future. Donors, host countries, and implementing partners who want to strengthen vertical and horizontal social cohesion, especially in fragile states, will profit from this guide. The exercises can be used by anyone in nations or communities that are experiencing latent or active violence, or that are emerging from conflict. Each module offers detailed guidance on objectives, timing, steps, tools and notes for the trainer. In the hands of a skilled trainer, it provides a comprehensive instrument with detailed instructions on conducting social cohesion strengthening workshops and training trainers to do the same.

The guide is organized into four chapters and 16 interactive modules:
• Chapter 1: The first B — Binding. This chapter addresses change at the level of the individual. What goodness is within me? What can I do, and what changes can I make, to transform my neighborhood, workplace, province or nation into a more harmonious and functional environment?
• Chapter 2: The second B — Bonding. This chapter leads participants belonging to the same identity group to identify characteristics of their group that can be instrumental in avoiding crisis or leading the country out of crisis. “What is the dream for our group? What can we do together to make us a positive force for change?”
• Chapter 3: The third B — Bridging. This chapter introduces bridging as a means to bring two or more peer groups together to lay the foundations for intergroup collaboration. It asks: “What positive characteristics do we and other groups have in common? Do we share a common dream? What can we do together to improve the lives and livelihoods of our respective communities?” This chapter guides mixedidentity groups to jointly identify, design and implement connector projects.
• Chapter 4 covers alliance-building and exerting influence through powerholders, systems, and structures. It shows participants how to enlist decisionmakers — traditional authorities, elected officeholders, public officials , faith-based leaders, and businesspeople — to use their influence to bring about change. Consistent with CRS’s capacity-building model, each module contains a rationale, teaching aids, anticipated results, steps, estimated duration and notes for the facilitator. Attached to the guide is a CD-ROM containing 63 tools for use in the sessions. Although no two groups are the same, based on our experience in CAR with 35-40 participants we offer below approximate durations for each module.