In 2014 and 2015 – both years of extreme violence in the country – Conciliation Resources helped to establish 12 Local Peace Cells (LPCs). In a society dominated by divisions and mistrust, these LPCs play a vital role in leading community-level reconciliation processes and in building the trust and knowledge to become links between communities and armed groups. Run by volunteers, they identify conflict issues in their neighbourhoods, and work with conflict parties and other local stakeholders to find peaceful solutions. As well-respected and trusted leaders of their communities, they have unique access to key local stakeholders, especially non-state armed groups and local militias; they are in regular contact to discuss the protection of civilians and peaceful ways to resolve conflict. Through this work, they are also encouraging and supporting former fighters to return to communities. In many cases, they collaborate closely with state authorities and security forces to share their knowledge and expertise on community dynamics.
In 2016, the Minister of Social Affairs and National Reconciliation consulted Conciliation Resources on Government plans to establish Local Peace and Reconciliation Committees (LPRC) across the Central African Republic, as part of the country’s national disarmament and demobilisation programme. In Bangui, the LPRCs are now working closely with LPCs. This initiative constitutes an opportunity for the newly formed LPRCs to become an important interface between the government, community leaders and civil society in CAR.