The Church and Post-conflict Reconstruction: Building Peace and Community Empowerment through Church-based Development Programs in Solomon Islands

By Jack Maebuta.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Solomon Islands has been implementing various post-conflict reconstruction programs after the country emerged from an ethnic conflict. Among the programs is a church-based Inclusive Community Program aimed at revitalising the family unit and the community through series of training workshops covering community related skills, knowledge and attitudes. This paper describes the involvement of the Anglican Church of Melanesia in a peacebuilding and community development program in Solomon Islands. The aim of this paper is to report the initiation and the first stages of the implementation of the program, and includes a case study of how a faith-based organisation engaged in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction in a conflict society. The church’s post-conflict community development program is still being implemented and therefore, this paper is not intended to provide a rigorous evaluation of the program or an assessment of tangible impacts on the community. As a narrative case study, it describes the peacebuilding initiatives undertaken by the State during the conflict and provides insights into why the State’s peace activities failed to restore peace. It is the inability of the State to broker peace, which urged the Anglican Church of Melanesia to become involved in the country’s efforts to restore peace. After the conflict, the church saw the need to empower the community so that every family would rebuild their lives through an initiative called ‘Inclusive Community Program.’ Although it is too early to judge the success of the Program, there is evidence in the case study stories that change is taking shape in the community. Thus, the church is envisaging that communities will have families that have improved skills, knowledge and attitudes about healthy lifestyles and sustainable livelihoods.

Keywords: Christian Churches, Post-conflict Reconstruction, Peacebuilding, Inclusive Community Program, Solomon Islands

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 891.845KB).

Dr Jack Maebuta

PhD Candidate in Peace Studies, School of Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

Jack Maebuta is a PhD candidate in Peace Studies at the School of Humanities, University of New England in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. His research interests are in the areas of educational policy and practice, peacebuilding, technical and vocational education and indigenous knowledge and practices.