Civic groups have also shouldered the responsibility of implementing conflict resolution, dialogue and education programmes. Their initiatives are gradually changing the political, social and even psychological atmosphere in the country.
Most NGOs conduct their conflict resolution work at community level, working directly with the population in urban, suburban or rural areas. Projects include training workshops and discussion-based activities for representatives of local village and elders' councils, different ethnic and regional groups, and local officials. Conflict resolution seminars are intended to help participants understand the different types of conflicts and methods to prevent and resolve them. Some NGOs concentrate on drawing mahallas and village councils into conflict resolution projects.
NGOs are proliferating in rural areas and are increasingly engaged in conflict resolution. This trend is particularly prevalent in Khatlon province, where military confrontation was intense and where serious inter-ethnic and inter-regional tension remains. Some programmes aim to rehabilitate refugee communities and reintegrate returnees to a peaceful life.
In 1999, civil society projects started to develop a more regional approach to conflict prevention. As the focus of military and political tension shifted to the north of the country, to the Ferghana valley, so the attention of both domestic and international NGOs turned to this area. A few international conflict resolution projects involve NGOs from both Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic; one of the largest is sponsored by the Swiss Development Agency and run by the Centre for Youth Initiative from Khujand city.
International agencies based in Dushanbe began to promote community-level conflict resolution programmes in 1996. They encouraged local NGOs willing to conduct such programmes in areas where different ethnic groups and regional communities co-exist. The OSCE Mission in Tajikistan has initiated a training programme for local moderators and conducted 320 training seminars. It aims to train about 12,000 local women as moderators for civic, gender and human rights programmes. The Counterpart Consortium, has supported the creation of a network of thirteen Tajik NGOs engaged in conflict resolution. Ten years later, the members are developing a general strategy for the network's future activity.
Civic groups also interact with other political forces. With the support of international agencies, Tajikistan's NGOs have been able to conduct some conflict resolution programmes with mid-level actors in the peace process – political parties, public movements and civic organisations. Most civic initiatives at this level are implemented by larger NGOs based in big cities and most include research on conflict prevention and resolution. There are far fewer activities at this level than there are in community-based projects, partly because the former are more expensive and complicated to implement.