Stanikzai, Mohammad Zakir, Class of 2015 – (Afghanistan)

Practicum Summary:

Role of Community Development Councils in Conflict Resolution at the Village Level: A case study of Dushi and Khinjan Districts of Baghlan Province in Afghanistan

Zakir’s research seeks to identify what role Community Development Councils play in resolving conflicts at the village level in the Dushi and Khinjan Districts of Baghlan Province in Afghanistan. At the village level, locals are faced with conflict over land disputes, livestock, water, armed aggression, and other violence that leads to civil and political instability. In order to address regional imbalance and equity, the government of Afghanistan launched a number of development and reconstruction programs to emphasize the process of development and peace. These National Solidarity Programs aim to build capacity by encouraging Afghan communities to identify, plan, implement, and manage their own reconstruction and development projects and lay the foundation for strong local-governance through Community Development Councils. After carrying out a series of case studies and interviews, Zakir determined that Community Development Councils are indeed effective in mediating conflicts at the local level. However in order to sustain the CDCs, he recommends improving the councils by creating government-ordained guidelines for which types of conflicts the councils can mediate, investing in conflict resolution subcommittees, incorporating more respected elders into mediation, and providing additional training in conflict resolution.