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Mainstream peacebuilding approaches tend to assume that a conflict settlement must be in place before the process of social and economic development can begin. Humanitarian rather than development aid is therefore the norm for countries emerging from conflict, even after the violence has receded. Yet a recent evaluation of a UNDP project in the Democratic Republic of Congo concludes that development can be an effective tool to build peace, even in the midst of violence. In the war-torn district of Ituri, local initiatives for community development effectively enabled a shift from violence to relative peace. This CMI Brief tells some of the stories and discusses key lessons from the Ituri peacebuilding and community development project.

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