One pebble tossed in the water can create ripples that go far. I launched Ripple – Peace Research & Consulting, LLC to help mission-driven organizations become more effective in situations of social conflict, injustice and fragility. As Principal Consultant, I provide strategy, monitoring, evaluation and learning services, including customized support for faith-based and interreligious approaches. I am serious about working in ways that put local people first and respect their contexts. Much of my work is international, but I also prioritize support for organizations in the USA. For more info, please see my bio or contact me.
Context-Driven Strategy Development
Conflict-affected contexts can be baffling. A strong strategy starts with analysis that unpacks the uniqueness and dynamism of the context, as a foundation for understanding how to influence change. Ripple’s focus is on large-scale analysis through participatory approaches, such as:
- Conflict Systems Analysis for human rights strategy development in México and Colombia (with the Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation).
- Making Sense of Turbulent Contexts analysis for humanitarian, development and advocacy strategy (with World Vision International).
Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) for Peacebuilding
Ripple’s MEL work centers on peace initiatives, building on my own thematic expertise. The emphasis is on utilization-focused approaches that support organizational learning and adaptation. Highlights include:
- Formative evaluation on cross-faith peacebuilding in Iraq, to help refine theories of change and MEL frameworks across the Middle East (with Tearfund).
- Summative evaluation on Muslim-Christian peacebuilding in Egypt, Bosnia & Herzegovina and the Philippines, to help inform next-phase global strategy (with Catholic Relief Services).
- Testing MEL approaches that combine Outcome Harvesting with attitude change research in open-ended interreligious peace initiatives (with multiple partners).
Applied Research for Innovation
To improve practice, we need to look beyond ‘the way we’ve always done things,’ to explore what actually works. Ripple’s focus is on qualitative methods that emphasize collaboration and action. Recent examples:
- Outcomes-based research on the contribution of civil society advocacy to strengthening the social contract in six highly fragile, conflict-affected contexts, including a focus on South Sudan (with Cordaid).
- Identification of success factors for collective impact through peace advocacy networks (with CDA Collaborative Learning Projects and Mindanao Peaceweavers).
- Cross-agency research on risks, opportunities and promising practices in preventing violent extremism (with multiple partners).
Customized Support for Faith-Based and Interreligious Action
Supporting faith-based action means understanding religious perspectives as central to peace, on practitioners’ own terms. It often requires attention to the unique needs of small local organizations. In addition to the faith-based projects above, other efforts include:
- Advising on start-up MEL system for a small organization dedicated to Christian-Muslim peacebuilding primarily in the USA (with Peace Catalyst International – where I also serve on the Board of Directors).
Current approaches and methods include the following:
- Emergent, adaptive approaches rooted in systems thinking for complex contexts
- Participatory Action Research
- Qualitative methods – interviews, focus groups, thematic coding, participatory data analysis and interpretation, context monitoring
- Mixed methods – adding simple but meaningful quantitative surveys to complement qualitative data
- Outcome Harvesting as an alternative to results-based management in fast-changing, volatile contexts
- Strong research ethics on conflict sensitivity and participant protection
If you’d like to explore collaboration, please contact me here to start a conversation. Many thanks!