Employment Interventions and Peace

This project provides new understanding on employment programs in fragile and conflict-affected states and peacebuilding outcomes, by presenting the first systematic accumulation of knowledge on this relationship. In recent years, substantial (although incomplete) knowledge has been garnered about the impacts of employment programs on the economic welfare of their participants and about the impact of peacebuilding programs on attitudes and behavior. Rarer is the analysis of the cross-pollination of these two ideas – that employment programs can have peacebuilding outcomes. By contrast, we identify over 2,400 employment-related programs (with implicit or explicit peacebuilding aims) that have been completed since 2005 by the four large international agencies.

This research has three purposes. The first is to study the micro-level mechanisms that underpin the relationship between programs and peacebuilding by collecting evidence on why individuals choose to engage in pre-/violent behavior associated with conflict and how such selection can be deterred. The second is to provide a snapshot of the status quo, to contextualize the limitations that stem from current knowledge gaps and to provide guidance on the learning opportunities to help close these gaps. The third is to understand how well the four commissioning agencies have worked together, and with other organizations, to maximize the impact of their activities in this domain.

The research is carried out in four main components: (1) a review of the academic literature; (2) a review of the documentation of 432 employment programs in fragile and conflict-affected states and an in-depth review of 33 of them; (3) field missions in Lebanon, Liberia, and Timor-Leste; and (4) workshops held in Washington DC, Nairobi and Beirut used to define the scope of the study and to ‘ground-truth’ its findings.