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One pebble tossed in the water can create ripples that go far. Ripple – Peace Research & Consulting, LLC, exists to help mission-driven organizations become more effective in situations of social conflict and injustice. As Principal Consultant, I provide strategy development, 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 the uniqueness of their contexts. Much of my work is international, but I also prioritize support for organizations in my home country of the USA. For more info, please see my bio.

Context-Driven Strategy Development

Contexts affected by socio-political conflict, injustice and fragility can be baffling.  A strong strategy starts with analysis to identify the conflict and peace drivers that matter, and to develop working hypotheses about how to create change. Ripple’s focus is on large-scale analysis for strategy-level application, using expertly facilitated participatory approaches. Current projects include:

  • Conflict Systems Analysis and human rights initiative strategy development in México and Colombia (with the Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation).
  • Making Sense of Turbulent Contexts analysis for humanitarian and development initiative strategy formation in multiple contexts (with World Vision International).

Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) for Peacebuilding

Ripple’s M&E work centers on peace initiatives that address ethnic and religious conflict, building on my own thematic expertise. The emphasis is on utilization-focused approaches that support organizational learning and adaptation. Highlights of 2018 include:

  • Formative learning evaluation on cross-faith peacebuilding in Iraq, to help refine theories of change and M&E frameworks across the region (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).

Applied Research for Learning & Innovation

To improve practice, we need to look beyond ‘the way we’ve always done things,’ and seek to discover what actually works. Ripple’s focus is on qualitative methods that emphasize collaboration and action.  Recent examples include:

  • Identification of success factors for collective impact through peacebuilding networks (case study with CDA Collaborative Learning Projects and Mindanao Peaceweavers).
  • Cross-agency research on risks, opportunities and promising practices in response to the trends of countering & preventing violent extremism In US and international contexts (with multiple partners).
  • Mapping of key actors in Youth, Peace and Security, emphasizing organizations that are youth-led and based in the global South (with Saferworld and the Swedish International Development Agency).

Customized Support for Faith-Based and Interreligious Action

Supporting faith-based action means understanding religious perspectives and practices as central to peacebuilding, on practitioners’ own terms. It also requires attention to the unique needs and capabilities of small organizations. Ongoing efforts include:

  • Testing M&E approaches that combine Outcome Harvesting with attitude change research in open-ended interreligious peace initiatives (with multiple partners).
  • Advising on start-up M&E 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).

Ripple’s Toolbox

If you’ve read this far, you may be interested in approaches and methods. Ripple’s 2019 toolbox includes:

  • Emergent, adaptive approaches rooted in systems thinking for complex contexts
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Qualitative methods – interviews, focus groups, thematic clustering and coding, collaborative data analysis and interpretation processes, 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 about your work. Many thanks!