A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa
Chapter two: Research Methodology
For ACORD, the ‘Voices of Youth’ research project follows a succession of research projects undertaken since the mid-1990s which addressed issues of armed and violent conflict in Africa. These projects had in common a desire to develop a deep understanding of the social processes which enable a community or population group to withstand, or not, as the case may be, the impact of violent conflict. Within that concern was the desire to bring to the fore the ‘view from the ground’ and to harness the research process itself as a channel through which those ‘on the ground’ could express their understanding of their situation. ACORD considered this approach to be in itself a contribution to conflict transformation, since people from the marginalised areas where ACORD works are generally denied a voice. This denial is, arguably, a factor which contributes to the perpetuation of conflict.
ACORD’s experience of research and programming in conflict situations over many years has led it to adopt Social Exclusion Analysis (SEA) as its main analytical framework for programme development purposes, and Oral Testimony (OT) as a key research method and foundation for the organisation’s advocacy work. Both SEA and OT are described in more detail elsewhere (El-Bushra and Sahl 2005): what follows summarises the approach.
Social exclusion analysis
Social Exclusion Analysis (SEA) is a framework for research and programme design which was originally developed in ACORD’s Namibia programme (Kandirikirira 2003) and which has guided a number of programming and research initiatives since then. A social exclusion analysis in a particular context examines the nature,
causes and consequences of of discrimination can build aims to build up a picture
systemic discrimination, and the ways in which patterns
up over time into embedded systems of exclusion.
which provide powerful groups and individuals in a particular ‘power to act’ to exclude others. The analysis explores the impact on both the discriminators and the discriminated and on the wider
context with the of discrimination society. Applying
this framework encourages programmers to the consequences of discrimination, but also perpetuate it.
focus on its
their attention not only on causes and the factors which
The social exclusion framework takes as its starting point the idea that all forms of systemic discrimination have similar roots and function in similar ways, so that understanding the mechanisms of, say, racism will help us to understand other ‘isms’ such as sexism or ageism. Indeed, these may combine with each other and
For example, ‘Complex political emergencies – from relief to development?’ (998-200); ‘Gender-sensitive programme design in conflict-affected
situations’ (200-2002); Participatory Action Research to Strengthen the Capacity of Marginalized People to Resolve Conflict of nterest And Achieve their Rights Without Recourse to Violence (2003-200)