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Impact evaluation of supporting traditional leaders and local structures to mitigate community-level conflict in Zimbabwe

By: Kate Baldwin, Shylock Muyengwa

This report is by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

This report presents results from the follow-up survey carried out as part of an impact evaluation of the Supporting Traditional Leaders and Local Structures to Mitigate Community-level Conflict in Zimbabwe project. The evaluation is part of the Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance’s impact evaluation initiative and was co-funded with the USAID/Zimbabwe Mission. The project itself was jointly funded by USAID/Zimbabwe and USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation (CMM) and implemented by the International Rescue Committee (IRC)/Zimbabwe. The project is a capacity building initiative targeting all traditional leaders at all levels of the traditional chieftaincy system (chiefs, headmen, and village heads) in two rural districts, Mutare and Mutasa, in Manicaland Province.

A rigorous impact evaluation was designed to provide evidence on the following policy questions:

1) Can training programs for traditional leaders improve their governance and reduce conflict?

2) What is the best way to implement training programs to reduce conflict and to promote positive relationships at the community-level? Specifically, are training programs more effective when other community leaders are also included?

This study addresses these questions focusing at the village level, the lowest level of traditional governance. The study uses a randomized control trial (RCT) design, in which villages are randomly assigned to receive project activities, which are rolled-out in two waves (year 1 and year 2). The study also examines whether training is more effective if structured in a way that creates social pressure on traditional leaders to change their behavior. This is done by randomizing villages in year 1 into either a “training only” group or “training plus horizontal pressure” group in which other community leaders, such as teachers, religious leaders, and women’s group leaders, have been invited to the training. This design allows us to compare the outcomes between the two groups and attribute the changes to the key components of the project.