case study 2 : SITUATION ASSESSMENT

Client: An international development organization working to support rural development in India.

Brief description: A comprehensive Situation Assessment in Kandhamal, Orissa after the 2008 riots between Hindu and Christian villagers.

Case study 1

Sector: Development, peace building

Context: The assessment and planning phase of a proposed long-term intervention in response to communal violence, which resulted in over forty deaths and the destruction of hundreds of homes.

Challenge: The Client required a holistic and nuanced understanding of the region's conflict dynamics, and a proposal for long-term Conflict Resolution and Peace Building intervention.

Action and Solutions: Through the course of two field visits, Meta‑Culture consultants conducted over fifty in-person interviews with a range of stakeholders: Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste people; Hindus, Christians, and animists; politicians and government bureaucrats; religious leaders, traders, and others. These interviews revealed multiple competing perspectives about the region's history, relationships between individuals and groups, and the causes of violence.

By analysing the information from these interviews, and supplementing it with second source academic research, Meta‑Culture consultants drew conclusions about several aspects of the conflict: its structural and more immediate causes, potential triggers to further outbreaks of violence, the interests and identities of various stakeholder groups and sub-groups, and the nature of the relationships within and between these groups.

Results: Based on these conclusions, Meta‑Culture presented the Client with a comprehensive Situation Assessment report and a three-year peace building plan inclusive of community-based Mediation, Dialogue, Consensus-building, and Training activities. If implemented with consistency and commitment, this plan has the potential to rebuild relationships and lay strong foundations for sustainable peace in Kandhamal. This project remains a model for post-conflict analysis and intervention design in this part of the world.

META SPEAK

Everyone loves metrics: managers, clients, funding agencies. Nothing destroys an opposing argument as well as masterfully-deployed empirical data. But metrics haven't been so helpful when it comes to measuring subtle shifts in human relationships. Metrics can't calculate compassion, empathy, wit or love. When a relationship is working, everything else works. When it isn't, you know it.