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The International Peace and Prosperity Project (IPPP) in Guinea-Bissau

The IPPP is a political violence prevention project testing the application of lessons learned and best practices to develop a model for fragile, failing and failed states. The IPPP approach to violence prevention features early, holistic, vertically and horizontally integrated activities, by mobilizing and supporting local leadership.

Guinea-Bissau, located in West Africa, is the site of the demonstration case, having been selected from a list of 30 candidate countries based on the work of  Dr. David Carment and colleagues at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), Carleton University, Ottawa. 

The mission of the IPPP in Guinea-Bissau is to prevent violence by working towards peace and prosperity using a rigorous conflict analysis of specific conditions and capacities on the ground; by playing a value-added, catalytic role in assisting Guinea-Bissau citizens and international actors to implement concrete and synergistic actions through dialogue and focused actions; by providing a small grants program to stimulate security and development initiatives; and by undertaking global advocacy to mobilize international resources.

To achieve its mission in Guinea-Bissau, the IPPP has four phases: 

  • Phase I (October 2004 – July 2005) Crisis Management/Stabilization;
  • Phase II (August 2005 – September 2006) Action Planning and Implementation;
  • Phase III (October 2006 – August 2008) Follow-up and Support; and
  • Phase IV (September 2008 - August 2009) Capacity-Based Violence Prevention

IPPP Team Meet General Tagme
"The IPPP Meet With General 
Tagme Na Wai, Guinea-Bissau  Armed Forces Chief of Staff"


Phase I of the IPPP activities in Guinea-Bissau concentrated on crisis management/stabilization related to the assassination of the Head of the Armed Forces and potential violence that could have occurred in a volatile presidential election in July 2005. We commissioned an evaluation report from the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) to document the results of our work. Initial observations indicate that the IPPP and the various activities that it initiated with the Armed Forces, Civil Society, and international actors played an important role in the peaceful transition of power through the election. 


Phase II of the intervention started with the facilitation of a multi-issue, multi-stakeholder action planning session in Bissau. The session was held to produce a "National Plan of Action for Peace and Prosperity in Guinea-Bissau".

From February 15 to 19, twenty senior representatives from key sectors in Guinea-Bissau participated in a dynamic, creative, and thoughtful meeting to develop a National Action Plan for Peace and Prosperity in Guinea-Bissau. The National Action Planning Session was facilitated by a six-person team of experts, including Mr. Jeff Mapendere of The Carter Center, funded by the International Peace and Prosperity Project. The Session was held under the auspices of a Process Design Committee drawn from Bissau.

The event was very successful. The participants developed a National Action Plan that identifies specific actions that can be taken immediately and be completed soon, or that begin over the next 18 months to address some of the key issues that will advance the development of peace and prosperity in Guinea-Bissau. 

The IPPP completed Phase II by undertaking several activities to support the implementation of the National Action Plan.

Phase II Completed Activities:

  • Local Implementation Committee established and housed at PLACON plus a local Implementation Coordinator hired with IPPP funding.
  • Disseminated the National Action Plan. Contributed to the reconciliation movement in Guinea-Bissau by collaborating on the ECOWAS/CPLP/UNOGBIS-sponsored reconciliation process.
  • Supported a mission by Search for Common Ground to asses the possibility of starting new programming in Guinea-Bissau.
  • Funds donated to support a youth workshop. Supported the development of a Defense Strategy Paper.
  • Continued to build and support an informal network of Friends of Guinea-Bissau.
  • Hired a Consultant from Intermediate Technology Consultants to assess the Feasibility of Small Business Incubators.
  • Presented at an UNDP-Sponsored Conference on Early Warning Systems Held in Khartoum, Sudan. To read the conference report click Here.
  • Presented at an Event Entitled 'Catalytic Processes for Integrated Country Peacebuilding Strategies: What Are They Accomplishing?' Hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. To read the event summary click Here.

Phase III of the project focused on the completion and continuation of some activities from earlier phases, including continued lobbying and awareness raising, continued development of lessons learned, and continued technical support for the implementation of some activities from the National Action Plan.

Additionally, Phase III included new activities such as undertaking political mediation, making a larger contribution to the reconciliation movement within Guinea-Bissau, new support for ongoing and planned SSR/DDR activities, and an increased focus on economic activities.

Phase III Completed Activities:

  • IPPP is presented at the UN. To read the press release click Here.
  • IPPP attended a Roundtable Donors Conference in Geneva. To read the IPPP report on the conference click Here.
  • An IPPP-supported workshop to identify issues and solutions related to bolstering cashew production and sales was held on December 11-12, 2006. A workshop report will be forthcoming.
  • The IPPP supported a new regularly-occurring Trade Fair that brings together producers, processors, and consumers to promote local products.
  • The IPPP provided funding support to the Military Reconciliation Commission so they could extend their activities beyond the capital.
  • The IPPP supported a new project developed by the Chamber of Agriculture, Commerce, and Industry which will help small, medium, and large businesses to improve their performance via several activities (e.g. legal assistance, training, and consulting).
  • On March 8-10, 2007 the IPPP in collaboration with Search for Common Ground designed and facilitated a three day workshop with over 20 journalists on the topic of 'Reporting in Conflict Settings'.Workshop participants were introduced to a variety of tools for conflict analysis and neutral reporting.
  • On March 15-16, 2007 the IPPP designed and facilitated a two day informal dialogue on national reconciliation which was convened by ECOWAS
  • The IPPP provided financial assistance to the Chamber of Commerce for the development of a Labor Roster in order to list, promote, and develop a local labor force.
  • On June 8-9, 2007 the IPPP and ECOWAS convened a two day dialogue to discuss the proposed terms of reference of the New National Commission on Reconciliation.
  • The IPPP commissioned Reseau Liberte, a Canadian organization specializing in the development of an independent press in new democracies, to deliver a training workshop on investigative journalism in Bissau from 13-17 November, 2007. To read more about this event in their newsletter click Here.
  • In February, 2008 the IPPP granted funds to the Union of Journalists and Technicians of Social Communication (SINJOTECS) to hold a one-day media conference. This conference serves as a follow-up to the session held in November, 2007.
  • In August, 2008 the IPPP provided funds to the "Citizens' Goodwill Task Force" (CGWTF) so that it could undertake several new activities aimed at helping to promote a peaceful election in November.   
Four Types of Core Capacities to Prevent Political Violence:

1- Structures: there must be structures that embody the rule of law.

2- Mechanisms and Processes: the struggle for power within the country is channeled into nonviolent mechanisms and processes.
3- Skills: individuals within the country are equipped with non-adversarial skills and the ability to express and resolve conflict nonviolently.

4- Values: the country de-values violence and values peace. 

Sources: adapted from Hoffman, Ben. (2003) "1+1=3: New Math for Human Relations.";  Hoffman, Ben. (2007) "The Peace Guerilla Handbook."; and Hoffman, Evan.(2009) "Multiple Approaches for Measuring Successful Conflict Prevention: With Examples from Guinea-Bissau."
Phase IV of the project focuses on capacity-based violence prevention. Based on lessons from earlier phases of the project, the need for increasing the core-capacities of the country to prevent violence became evident. Accordingly, this phase of the project will identify specific capacities, utilize a Local Advisory Group (LAG) to monitor them on a monthly basis, and then strive to build those capacities through a combination of catalytic actions, direct service delivery, and international advocacy.

Phase IV completed activities:

  • In September, 2008 the IPPP's Local Advisory Group (LAG) was formed and the first meeting was convened in October, 2008. During this meeting the LAG identified the specific capacities that Guinea-Bissau requires to prevent political violence. 
  • In October, 2008 the IPPP facilitated a four-day mediation training workshop for several community leaders and civil society representatives in Guinea-Bissau.
  • In February, 2009 the IPPP facilitated a second four-day mediation training workshop for several community leaders and civil society representatives in Guinea-Bissau in order to further assist them to develop and refine their mediation skills.
  • In April, 2009 the IPPP provided funding to the "Citizens' Goodwill Task Force" (CGWTF) so that it could undertake new radio programming to promote a message of reconciliation and to improve voter education in preparation for the upcoming elections.
  • In May, 2009 the IPPP provided funds for a "Night of Peace". This event was well-attended and it provided an opportunity to further increase voter eduction and to promote a message on the importance of holding free and fair elections.
  • In June, 2009 the IPPP provided funds to hold a series of pre- and post-election civic education debates, create and broadcast new election-related radio programming, and hold a youth peace festival at the stadium in Bissau.


Photo Gallery

National Action Planning Session
Opening Ceremonies for The National Action Planning Session
(February 2006)

Using the Conflict TreeSmall Working Groups Dialogue

Small Groups Undertake Analysis

Local Facilitators Lead Small Group Sessions to Design the National Action Plan for Guinea-Bissau (February 2006)

Closing Session
The National Action Plan for Guinea-Bissau is Presented to the Group  (February 2006)


Instability in Guinea-Bissau

The Conflict Analysis undertaken in the National Action Planning Session identified 8 key issues for Guinea-Bissau:

1. Lack of Trade Culture
2. Lack of Education/Professional training
3. Lack of Political Tools to Solve Ethnic, Religious and Military Issues
4. Lack of a National Image
5. Lack of Good Administration
6. Army
7. Economic Stagnation
8. Lack of Justice

The 8 key problems are manifest through several cross-cutting impacts. Some examples of the main consequences identified include:

  • Political Instability Corruption Lack of a National Image  Rise of HIV Unemployment Extreme Poverty Strikes and Late Payment of Salaries Criminality Lack of Development Permanent Conflicts Permanent Political Crisis Lack of Democracy Violence 
  • Lack of Good Political Will

Furthermore, 8 main causes were identified by the analysis; the main causes are listed below and are related to the main problems and consequences listed above:

1. Crisis in State Affirmation
2. Lack of qualified human resources
3. Inadequacy and lack of clear goals in the educational and profession training systems
4. Mistrust in win-win dialogue
5. Manipulation of national security and defense force for political means
6. Lack of favorable climate for business and investment
7. Increase of non-conciliatory interest groups
8. Struggle for power

Key Background Documents and Related Research:

Download PDF The Bissau Monitor (June, 2009)

Download PDF Guinea-Bissau: Another Case of Wait and See? (June, 2009)

Download PDF The Bissau Monitor (May, 2009)

Download PDF IPPP - Rule of Law Needs Assessment by Richard Moore and Sylvia McMechan (February, 2009)

Download PDF IPPP -- Guinea-Bissau: Project Review by Peter Woodrow and Stephen Murphy, CDA Collaborative Learning Projects (August, 2008)

Download PDF a Model for a Whole-of-Problem Approach to Preventing Violent Conflict by Evan Hoffman (March, 2008)

Download PDF Conflict Early Warning System for Sudan (February, 2007)

Download Word Document MISSION STILL POSSIBLE: Three Keys to Peace and Prosperity in Guinea-Bissau (January, 2007)

Download PDF PREVENTING POLITICAL VIOLENCE: Towards a Model for Catalytic Action (August, 2006)

Download Word Document A Few Donors Keep Hope Alive for Guinea-Bissau

Download Word Document A Feasibility Study into the Establishment of a Small Business Incubator in Guinea-Bissau

Download Word Document Short Summary of the IPPP's Approach & Activities

Download Word Document Mid-term Evaluation of the International Peace and Prosperity Project's Work in Guinea-Bissau (October 2004 - February 2006) by Paz Buttedahl, Ph.D. and Rosemary Cairns, M.A. Royal Roads University

Download Word Document National Action Plan for Peace and Prosperity in Guinea-Bissau

Download Word Document Plan d'Action Nationale pour la Paix et la Prospérité en Guinée-Bissau

Download Image Document News Article about the February 2006 National Action Planning Session

Download Word Document Guinea-Bissau: "Failed State" Looking to Recover (Update & Prospective from the IPPP)

Download Word Document Reconciliation and Renewal in Guinea-Bissau

Download Word Document MISSION POSSIBLE: A Ripe Opportunity to Avert Violent Conflict And Achieve Sustainable Peace in Guinea-Bissau

Download Word Document A National Plan for Peace and Prosperity in Guinea-Bissau: Concept Paper

Download Word Document Romeo Dallaire and Rwanda Are Household Names in Canada: An Op Ed Piece

Download Video Document Peace Guerilla (MPG Movie) - A short movie about the IPPP.


Trip Reports:

Download Word Document June 2005 Trip Report

Download Word Document October 2004 Trip Report

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