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Collecting Community Experiences of Conflict

Presenter 1
Celia Russell

How do UN peacekeeping missions gather information about local experiences of conflict? What are the effects of personal networks, tensions with national security services and trust in the credibility of the mission? How do these factors influence the reliability and the accuracy of the data produced?

Peacekeeping missions gather narratives of security incidents and human rights abuses from local populations in order to monitor the security environment and inform strategic decision-making. The documented incidents create a historical record of the security situation and often constitute one of the few continuous information resources on the conflict. However, relatively little is known about the practices by which this information is amassed, verified and processed.

In this key informant study, we talked to five former field officers from the UN mission in Darfur to better understand the methods of incident data collection, evaluation and verification. In particular, we looked at the extent to which the ideals as outlined in formal training and guidelines diverge from the experience of data collection on the ground in Darfur.

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