Reflecting on Peace Practice


Launched in 1999, the Reflecting on Peace Practice Program (RPP) offered practical answers to the program’s core questions about effectiveness in the peacebuilding field.  At its heart, RPP is about questioning assumptions, coupling analysis to everyday work, and demanding that we work toward a concept of peace that is greater than the success of individual programs.

From 1999 through 2002, CDA conducted 26 case studies of individual peace projects around the world.  The lessons from those case studies are presented in Confronting War: Critical Lessons for Peace Practitioners.

Confronting War asserted the need for practitioners to consider whether and how their efforts contribute to Peace Write Large, which was a strong challenge at the time. Other key insights included the Building Blocks Toward Peace (sometimes referred to as Criteria of Effectiveness) and the RPP Matrix, which helps practitioners explore program strategies and uncover implicit theories of change.

RPP has also been at the forefront of promoting better monitoring and evaluation of peacebuilding programs and has developed several resources to support peacebuilding M&E.

Since 2003, CDA has undertaken training, consulting, and mentoring to expand a global community of trained individuals and organizations who are well positioned to advance RPP usage.

As CDA staff worked with practitioners in the field to apply the RPP lessons, further tools and exercises have been developed, including the RPP Program Reflection Exercise, and various training and resource manuals, which elucidate key RPP findings across program phases, from analysis to implementation and review.

All of RPP’s tools and concepts are designed to be practical and accessible for implementing agencies, donors, policy makers and individual practitioners alike.

The experience and lessons gained through the years of RPP’s operation are the foundation of CDA’s Peacebuilding Effectiveness practice area, and CDA continues to promote learning in this field, both through advisory services and through ongoing collaborative learning efforts.

Confronting War

Core Questions

  • What works in peace programming?
  • What are the effective roles for “outsiders” in promoting peace?
  • Should peace practitioners be accountable for their contributions to “Peace Writ Large”?
  • How can peace programs be measured or evaluated?
  • What are the appropriate criteria for judging effectiveness?
  • Can systems thinking tools assist in better conflict analyses and the more effective use of analysis in program design?


Building on the Reflecting on Peace Practice framework, CDA’s Environment-Fragility-Peace Nexus project is working with local actors to create RPP+ as a new systems-based analysis tool to examine context-specific environmental vulnerabilities and factors for/against peace and climate resilience. CDA’s vision is for these partnerships to equip effective action in the most complex environments today and in the critical decades to come.

Key Publications