Impact evaluation of the LivingSidebySide®, peacebuilding programme in Kyrgyzstan

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    Project Manager :
    Eleonora Nillesen

    Legacy International (LI) and Center Interbilim (CIB) implement the LivingSidebySide® project, a peace education programme to foster ethnic tolerance, resolve conflicts and promote inter-ethnic cooperation among school-going youth in Kyrgyzstan. This study evaluates the impact of a pilot program and aims to determine whether the program effects (a) sustain in the short to medium term (i.e. 6-12 months after the program ends); (b) spill over to untreated peers (or family members) and (c) have the potential to be scaled up to a (sub) national level. Theory predicts that increased interaction with people of other ethnic groups promotes interethnic understanding and cooperation (Allport, 1954). Multi-ethnic schools provide an interesting setting to test these ideas empirically. Using schools as the unit of randomization we will be able to test whether the program has impact beyond the group of students that will be treated. Since this is a pilot project, with a relatively small number of schools (30) , the use of a completely randomized intervention is a challenging task. However, in the impact evaluation we will use a matched pairs design, which will allow us to achieve sufficient power despite the small number of intervention units. We will measure impacts for a range of outcome indicators at the individual and group level including knowledge, attitudes, norms and cooperative behaviour towards other ethnic groups. We expect that the direct impact, its sustainability and the extent of spillovers will differ across ethnic groups, gender and students from various socio-economic backgrounds. Using data from surveys, interviews, field experiments, focus group discussions and social networks we hope to unravel underlying mechanisms and shed light on how information travels. This is one of the first studies that attempt to evaluate a peace education programme using a rigorous design. If successful, the program could be scaled up to the national level and be potentially very influential in shaping Kyrgyzstan’s conflict prevention agenda. The results of our study are relevant for policy-makers in education and development, school governing boards, and development organizations working on peace education programs.