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Thu, Dec 31, 2009

Community-based Dispute Resolution Practices in Afghanistan

An interesting new series of reports has been released exploring informal, community-based dispute resolution practices in Afghanistan. The qualitative research project was conducted by Deborah Smith and colleagues from the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit with funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development. Interviews and focus groups were used to get a close-up look at local practices.

As noted in the reports,

In studying the processes used for dispute resolution, this research has focused on four central themes: the processes used in resolving and or regulating disputes at community level; the relationships between these processes at the community level and state actors at district-level; the principles underlying the outcomes of dispute resolution processes; and equity within these processes, with a particular focus on gender equity. Gender equity itself has been analysed in regard to four dynamics: womenx92s ability to access dispute resolution processes which are dominated by men; womenx92s contribution to these processes, in comparison to menx92s contribution; womenx92s role as decision-makers in resolving disputes; and the outcomes for women as compared to men of the decisions made within these processes.

A zipped up package of 3 pdfs provides the following…
- A Holistic Justice System for Afghanistan (Policy Note), by Deborah J. Smith and Jay Lamey
- Community-Based Dispute Resolution in Nangarhar Province (Case Study), by Deborah J. Smith
- Community-Based Dispute Resolution in Bamiyan Province (Case Study), by Deborah J. Smith and Shelly Manalan
Note: Case studies from Balkh and Kabul Provinces will be released in 2010.

Here’s a short sample from the report on the Bamiyan Province:

A wide variety of disputes are resolved at the community level; most common among these are disputes about access to and use of resources, particularly land, but also water and sources of fuel and fodder. Other disputes that may be resolved at the community level are both deliberate and accidental killings, disputes about marriage arrangements, disputes about sexual abuse or deviance, other acts of violence, theft, and payment for services. These disputes vary in size considerably, from those between neighbours over a land boundary to those between villages over access to and ownership of larger portions of land. They can be disputes between family members of both a criminal and domestic nature, such as violence within the family or issues of inheritance.

table of dispute types
Interesting stuff!


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2009 12 31 | Filed under Conflict Resolution  

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Thu, Dec 24, 2009

ARTNATOMY - Understanding Facial Displays of Emotion

The ARTnatomy tool was developed to help artists learn about the anatomical basis of facial expressions. I rediscovered the flash-based tool recently while working on a nonverbal communication project and I thought blog readers might enjoy trying it out. The web version is free, and a downloadable application is also available for purchase if you want to be able to run the tool offline.  It provides an interesting look at the wide range of expressions the human face can present and offers one tool for creating a face with realistic emotions properly displayed (be sure to click on the Level II tab to see the expressions generator). To learn more about the science behind reading facial expressions, check out the Facial Action Coding System.



Posted by: Bill Warters on 2009 12 24 | Filed under Learning Objects  

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Sun, Dec 06, 2009 Bill Tracking Tools and Widgets is a website developed by the Participatory Politics Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation to help people connect with what is happening in Congress. As they explain, “OpenCongress brings together official government data with news and blog coverage, social networking, public participation tools, and more to give you the real story behind what’s happening in Congress.” Read about the impressive set of features in the About OpenCongress section.
I got interested in using as a way to track a newly introduced House Bill that would promote conflict resolution and mediation in educational settings. You can keep up with this bill via this link: H.R.4000 - Conflict Resolution and Mediation Act of 2009 or via a widget that tracks a given bill’s progress.

Of special interest to readers of this blog is the fact that you can track specific issues, including one labeled “Alternative dispute resolution, mediation, arbitration” and create a widget on this issue to embed in a blog or website. Here’s the ADR issue widget output. has a robust open api for developers. Learn more here.


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2009 12 06 | Filed under Research Tools  

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Sat, Dec 05, 2009

New Tactics in Human Rights - A Resource for Practitioners

The New Tactics project has been actively collecting and cataloging innovative approaches to addressing human rights abuses. Here’s a video explaining their work.

A compilation of these methods is now available in part or as a whole as New Tactics in Human Rights - A Resource for Practitioners. The workbook organizes the tools into workbook cover a number of bundles including Prevention Tactics, Intervention Tactics, Restorative Tactics and Building Human Rights Cultures and Institutions.

Also of interest is a collection of resources for educators interested in integrating New Tactics ideas and information into the classroom.  These resources include: articles, guides, group activities, exercises, and classroom modules. Visit New Tactics Resources for Educators to view the current collection.


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2009 12 05 | Filed under Learning Objects  

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