Introducing Technology to Traditional Peacebuilding Programs (by Cindy Chungong)

Cindy Chungong is Program Officer, West and Central Africa at Search for Common Ground. She is a professional in the field of conflict resolution and peacebuilding, focusing on West and Central Africa and the Sahel. Her work focuses on the promotion of mediation, dialogue and communication, youth and women’s leadership, and media arts and culture to consolidate peace in fragile environments. She is chairing Build Peace 2015’s panel on ‘Introducing Technology to Traditional Peacebuilding Programs’.

Photo licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by Carsten ten Brink

Photo licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by Carsten ten Brink

Peacebuilding as a professional field has undergone dramatic changes since the end of the Cold War. From a simplistic conception of ‘negative’ peace, defined as the mere cessation of violence, it has evolved to encompass holistic strategies for addressing the root causes of conflict, rebuilding social ties, creating institutions capable of responding to citizen needs, ensuring equitable economic development, and instituting participatory decision-making processes. Parallel to this shift in peacebuilding paradigms have been the astonishing technological advances of the past century. One of the most stunning developments, for example, has been in mobile communication technologies: from being unwieldy and expensive tools of the rich, today mobile phones are owned by most adults in most countries. In 2005, Facebook was the preserve of students at a small group of elite universities; today the social network counts more than a billion monthly users.

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