Shaping a brighter future: Net-Map in post-conflict situations

Evans Omari sent me a comment (see “about” section), asking how Net-Map could be used in “capacity development for local governance in a post-conflict transitional support situation”. While I don’t know the particulars of this specific case, I can think of two possible lines of application.

  1. As tool to understand the conflict and facilitate the re-conciliation process (focus on the conflict).
  2. As a tool to understand the governance situation as is and build and support governance structures that will help everyone to pick up the pieces and work towards a better future (focus on post-conflict governance).

I have said a bit about the use of Net-Map to understand conflict below. So now I would like to focus on the second case, building sustainable structures in a situation where the governance system and the society as a whole has been seriously affected by a conflict.

Let’s say you work on re-establishing the health sector. I would start by asking those who have been working in the field or observing it for a longer time, to map out how the situation is today, who influences what happens in this sector, how they are linked, how influential they are and what their goals are. I would make sure, that all parties of the past conflict and external observers have a say here. Depending on the fear and tensions that still exist, it might make sense to do the initial interviews with individuals and not as a group.

From that mapping of the situation as is, I would start a discussion with them about: What are the most burning issues that need to be resolved now? What would the functioning health system in the future look like if everything went well? What are your core priorities? Then I would facilitate a group process where people draw Net-Maps about: What kind of influence networks would we have to develop to reach this vision?

Through getting to this shared vision the group would have a clearer understanding of what they are striving for and how they might achieve it. But also, the group process of getting to this together can set free a lot of positive energy and understanding of each other’s position. To do this in a group meeting also means that the participants make a common public commitment to this plan that they draw together. And finally, it gives them a tool to assess a few years down the road, if they have come to where they intended to go and what the reasons for achievements and failures were.

Evans, does that answer your question?

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