With this belief in mind, the participants completed an eight day training on planning and skill development alongside the Peace Building program, a project to promote participation in the Syrian peace process implemented by The Center for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria, in partnership with the Peaceful Change Initiative. Twenty-four members of CCSDS’ field staff and partner organizations attended the workshop. The goal for the week was to develop work methodologies increase the capacities to offer advice, support, and training on advocacy for activities related to resolving disputes. An action plan has been developed to start peace campaigns to be implemented inside Syria during the coming months.
The workshop covered many active aspects of peace building. During the first three days the concept of “peace resources” was introduced (individuals, organizations and work mechanisms) and how to use them most efficiently during peace building and strengthen relations to promote communication among the various tracks of negotiation. In the fourth and fifth days, there was a discussion about the basics of conflict analysis and techniques to resolve these conflicts, facilitated by trainer Rami Shamma. The participants also practiced negotiation and facilitation skills in many activities, role-playing, and practical training.
In the last two days, the work focused on planning and exchanging ideas about new initiatives to support peace resources inside Syria. The participants defined criteria for good initiatives that integrate with the local culture and the priorities of the society to facilitate trust building and partnership between local leaders and decision makers. There was an agreement that any work should give provide the people with three main things: knowledge, hope, and the tools needed to achieve peace.
Interaction among participants during the second phase of the Peace Resources project achieved actionable results such as resolving the conflict of forming the local council in Deir Azzour province. The solution was based on the traditions of the region there and the particular features of the social environment. This site specific model is being improved on in order to apply it to other communities in the region.
At the end of the workshop, the project director Ahmad Shiekh Sidi declared that the project will continue looking for peace resources and that its participants are open to meet all parties. He invited all members of the project to communicate via the CCSDS website in order to maximize efforts to serve local communities in crises. He reminded participants that work starts from the grassroots level, and that their opinion should be not only taken into consideration but should act as the main consideration during negotiation processes related to the Syrian situation.