Collective Impact in Peacebuilding: Testing a new model

Project Overview

CDA has been investing in developing collective impact​ as a new model for peacebuilding. This work builds on years of experience working on peacebuilding effectiveness, as well as lessons emerging from 16 “cumulative impact” case studies that investigated how multiple peacebuilding efforts “add up” to progress towards sustainable peace. As part of a project supported by Humanity United, “Collective Impact for Peacebuilding: Testing a new model,” CDA produced a “Framework for Collective Impact in Peacebuilding.”

We are currently conducting additional case studies examining the role and effectiveness of peacebuilding networks and coalitions towards achieving greater impact on country conflict systems. The findings of this current phase of learning on collective impact will be published by the end of 2018.

Project Funders

The primary aim of this project is to document and learn from the experiences of collective impact efforts by formal and informal networks and consortia in peacebuilding to develop further insights about multi-stakeholder initiatives.


Each case study will be developed through interviews with network members and support organizations, as well as by critically engaging with other actors, commentators and observers familiar with the context and the work of the network. Cases will also draw from both primary and secondary sources.

CDA will conduct several regional consultations and produce a final report that draws on all of the retrospective and prospective cases, presenting findings, key lessons and, most importantly, a further elaboration of the framework benefiting from the evidence and field experience of its application and adaptation.

Case Studies

CDA has been researching the conditions under which peacebuilding networks, consortia, coalitions and alliances contribute to impact at the Peace Writ Large (PWL) level by gathering evidence from the field. The initiative hopes to provide insights to practitioners, policy makers and donors on the role of collective impact in enhancing peacebuilding effectiveness.

Towards this end in 2017 CDA developed the Framework for Collective Impact in Peacebuilding, adapting existing resources by FSG and drawing from the insights generated from the sixteen “cumulative impact” case studies conducted by CDA between 2007-2012. Subsequently a series of four case studies have been carried out by examining existing networks, and in partnership with Search for Common Ground by providing technical accompaniment to emerging networks.

Broad generalizations cannot be made from these case studies, instead, they are intended to contribute to a larger learning project about collective impact in peacebuilding. They highlight cross-cutting issues of how networks are formed, operate, and adapt to meet the needs of their constituency or when violent conflict outbreaks. They also provide critical insights into the conditions under which they contribute to impact impact at PWL level,and how outsiders, INGOs and donors can play a catalytic role towards it.

The project and the finalization of the case studies was generously funded by Humanity United. The opinions expressed in the case studies are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Humanity United or of CDA Collaborative Learning Projects.

Select Resources


Sweta Velpillay, Senior Advisor – Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding Effectiveness [email]

Anita Ernstorfer, Director [email]

Grace Boone, Project Associate [email]