The Value of Informal Peace Committees as a Developmental Strategy to Deal with Post-Conflict in Zimbabwe




social work, local agency, peace committees, Zimbabwe


In this article, I investigate the extent to which community-based initiatives such as informal peace committees can serve as vehicles for developmental social work practice to promote community empowerment and capacity development in Zimbabwe. The formation of self-initiated peace committees by Zimbabwean communities demonstrates local agency, self-reliance and resilience. This type of local agency resulted in community members working together to unite, participate and form a peacebuilding committee. The study was based on action research data from Ward 8 in the Seke District, in which 42 male and female adults participated. Given the study’s participatory nature, 14 informants took on multiple roles, including co-planning, co-designing and establishing a ward-level peace committee. The findings revealed that informal peace committees have a close relationship with developmental social intervention strategies that seek to deal with development challenges such as poverty, inequality, and violence and, the major one, community development. These attributes reflect the strengths and empowerment potential that developmental social work can explore to increase the impact of informal peace committees at the community level in the Seke District and beyond.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Norman Chivasa, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Norman Chivasa holds a PhD and Masters in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. He is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the College of Law and Management Studies. Dr.Chivasa is interested in community-based peacebuilding initiatives, informal infrastructures for peace and development. He has facilitated the creation of a ward-level peace committee and five village peace committees in ward 8 of Seke district, Mashonaland east province, Zimbabwe.


Adan, M., and R. Pkalya. 2006. A Snapshot Analysis of the Concept Peace Committee in Relation to Peacebuilding Initiatives in Kenya: Practical Action. CORDAID.

Ayaya, G., T. M. Makoelle, and M. van der Merwe. 2020. “Participatory Action Research: A Tool for Enhancing Inclusive Teaching Practices Among Teachers in South African Full-Service Schools.” SAGE Open 10 (4). DOI:

Bradbury, H., ed. 2015. The Sage Handbook of Action Research. 3rd ed. London: Sage. DOI:

Chivasa, N. 2015. “Peacebuilding Among Shona Communities in Transition in Zimbabwe: A Participatory Action Research.” PhD thesis, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Chivasa, N. 2019. “A Participatory Approach to Peacebuilding Evaluation in Seke District, Zimbabwe.” International Journal of Action Research 15 (3): 198–216. DOI:

Denskus, T. 2012. “Challenging the International Peacebuilding Evaluation Discourse with Qualitative Methodologies.” Evaluation and Program Planning 3591: 148–53. DOI:

Donais, T., and A. C. Knorr. 2013. “Peacebuilding From Below vs the Liberal Peace: The Case of Haiti.” Canadian Journal of Development Studies 34 (1): 54–69. DOI:

Guest, G., E. Namey, and K. McKenna. 2017. “How Many Focus Groups Are Enough? Building an Evidence Base for Nonprobability Sample Sizes.” Field Methods 29 (1): 3–22. DOI:

Issifu, A. K. 2016. “Local Peace Committees in Africa: The Unseen Role in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding.” Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies 9 (1): 141–58.

Karlysheva, J. 2014, May. “No Peace Without Bread.” New African Magazine, 34–37.

Katz, C. 2004. Growing Up Global: Economic Restructuring and Children’s Everyday Lives. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Mac Ginty, R. 2010. “Hybrid Peace: The Interaction Between Top-Down and Bottom-Up Peace.” Security Dialogue 41 (4): 391–412. DOI:

Menkhaus, K. 2008. “The Rise of a Mediated State in Northern Kenya: The Wajir Story and Its Implications for State-Building.” Afrika Focus 21 (2): 23–38. DOI:

Moyo, A. 2014. “Community-Based Healing and Reconciliation in Zimbabwe.” In Empowerment and Protection Stories of Human Security, edited by K. Wall, J. Aulin and G. Vogelaar, 83–95. The Hague: The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.

Muchacha, M., and A. B. Matsike. 2018. “Developmental Social Work: A Promising Practice to Address Child Marriages in Zimbabwe.” Journal of Human Rights in Social Work 3: 3–10. DOI:

O’Brien, C. 2007. “Integrated Community Development/Conflict Resolution Strategies as ‘Peace Building Potential’ in South Africa and Northern Ireland.” Community Development Journal 42 (1): 114–30. DOI:

Odendaal, A. 2010. “An Architecture for Building Peace at Local Level: A Comparative Study of Local Peace Committees.” A discussion paper, The Bureau for Crisis Prevention of the United Nations Development Programme.

Patel, L. 2015. Social Welfare and Social Development. 2nd ed. Cape Town: Oxford. DOI:

Patel, L., and T. Hochfeld. 2012. “Developmental Social Work in South Africa: Translating Policy Into Practice.” International Social Work 56 (5): 690–704. DOI:

Richmond, O. P. 2012. “Beyond Local Ownership and Participation in the Architecture of International Peacebuilding.” Ethnopolitics 11 (4): 354–75. DOI:

Spitzer, H., and J. M. Twikirize. 2014. “Ethical Challenges for Social Work in Post-Conflict Situations: The Case of Africa’s Great Lakes Region.” Ethics and Social Welfare 8 (2): 135–50. DOI:

Triandafyllidou, A. 2018. “The Migration Archipelago: Social Navigation and Migrant Agency.” International Migration 57 (1): 5–19. DOI:

Van Tongeren, P. 2012. “Creating Infrastructures for Peace – Experiences at Three Continents.” Pensamiento Propio 36/37: 91–128.

Van Tongeren, P. 2013. “Potential Cornerstone of Infrastructures for Peace? How Local Peace Committees Can Make a Difference.” Peacebuilding 1 (1): 39–60. DOI:



How to Cite

Chivasa, Norman. 2023. “The Value of Informal Peace Committees As a Developmental Strategy to Deal With Post-Conflict in Zimbabwe”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 35 (2):12 pages.



Received 2020-03-02
Accepted 2023-03-17
Published 2023-06-01