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Wageningen University (2013)

The potential of using visual problem appraisal as a trigger for conflict transformation : a case of Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe

Tambo, G.

Titre  : The potential of using visual problem appraisal as a trigger for conflict transformation : a case of Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe

Auteur : Tambo, G.

Université de soutenance  : Wageningen University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2013

Conflicts have been taking place in Zimbabwe since the colonial period, even after independence but they have increased over the past decade since the inception of the Fast Track Land redistribution exercise. These conflicts have remained latent over the years due to their sensitive nature in relation to political implications. Conflict hampers agricultural development and consequently food security. As such it becomes important for development institutions to consider addressing these conflicts. An investigation into the discourses surrounding land based conflicts in Matabeleland South in public spaces, through the immersion methodology was conducted by the researcher for 2 weeks. This entailed undercover observations by the researcher in public spaces such as markets, public buses, community gatherings and political rallies, with minimum interference by the researcher. The study went on to investigate the potential of using an analogy to trigger discussion on conflict transformation, with the aim of initiating a conflict transformation process in Matabeleland South province, in a series of 3 workshops. All the workshops were held at Matopos Research Institute and were facilitated by the researcher. An assistant facilitator was appointed to help with the logistics whilst an observer was also appointed to capture the stakeholders’ perceptions. Filmed interviews, under the Visual Problem Appraisal series, which were produced in neighbouring KwaZulu Natal (KZN), South Africa, were used as an analogy. The KZN case depicted various conflict and rural livelihoods issues, which stakeholders made reference to, as a point of departure to talk about their own conflicts. The working hypothesis by the researcher was that since these two areas have a lot in common ; such as historical land inequalities between the white minority and black majority, HIV/AIDS issues, gender inequalities, food insecurity among other rural livelihood issues, the KZN case could serve as a good analogy for Matabeleland South. At the end, workshop participants evaluated the strength of the methodology. Follow-up interviews were made after each workshop with selected informants, to get their perceptions on the analogy, as a validation tool from workshop findings. Results indicated that generally people in Matabeleland South do not talk about land based conflicts in public, especially the elderly. A few, who did, opted to express their selves metaphorically or in sayings. Conversely, a few youths under observation spoke more plainly about how the land based conflicts have affected food security in the country. These findings confirmed the need for rural development institutes to create a platform for people to talk openly about conflicts, which is an important step in initiating conflict transformation processes. Results from the second phase of the study, the VPA workshops, indicated that the analogy indeed triggered stakeholders to talk about their own situations, and they also confessed that they would otherwise have not talked about, if it were not for the inspiration they got from the cases presented in the VPA package. Overall, results from the 3 workshops conducted showed that 80% of the participants regarded the VPA analogy to be a useful tool in triggering discussion on sensitive matters, 18% had mixed feelings about the methodology while 2% of participants felt the VPA methodology is not a useful platform to initiate discussion on sensitive issues. Key informants confirmed in follow-up interviews that the VPA methodology remains useful as an analogy for Matabeleland South conflicts, but users have to first understand its modalities. The study concluded that use of an analogy was suitable in triggering conflict transformation discussions in situations where it was difficult for people to talk about conflicts due to associated negative implications. Non-agricultural activity on distributed land was highlighted to be one of the main perpetrators of land conflicts. Insecure land tenure also came out as an inhibitor to agricultural development, a condition which predisposes the area to more food insecurity, consequently leading to more conflicts.

Mots clés : rural development / problem analysis / learning theory / conflict management / discourse analysis / zimbabwe


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Page publiée le 27 janvier 2015, mise à jour le 19 octobre 2018