Notes to broadcasters on resolving conflict:

    | May 26, 2008

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    All too often, we hear reports of tension between herdsmen and farmers erupting into violence. The source of conflict is generally land or water – two natural resources essential to the livelihoods of both groups. Those who study trends in conflict raise concerns that the growing scarcity of these resources, as a result of population growth and climate change, could lead to increasing conflict. For this reason, the peaceful and cooperative relationships between farmers and pastoralists in Gereigikh and Iyal Ali villages in Sudan’s North Kordofan State are both uplifting and important.

    This news story explains that the two groups in these villages came to understand each other and value the products and services each other provides. It also describes the traditional mechanisms used to resolve conflicts that arise. The following scripts describe fictionalized – though realistic – community conflicts. They suggest the reasons why conflict over land and water resources can become so contentious, and some ways that such conflicts can be resolved:
    “Conflict over natural resources: A short story” (Package 67, Script 7, June 2003)
    “Dispute over a sacred stream: Villagers describe the conflict” (Package 67, Script 6, June 2003)

    Whether the communities in your broadcast area are experiencing a violent conflict, or are simply subject to tensions that can occur anywhere that resources are shared, you might consider the role your radio organization can play in reducing conflict. The following resources, taken from previous instalments of FRW’s Radio Resource Bank, may help you to get started:
    “Using radio to help communities talk” by the Straight Talk Foundation
    “A checklist for conflict-sensitive journalism” by the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society and International Media Support