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The Role of Iddir in Conflict Resolution and Peace building at Rural Community Level in Ethiopia. A Case Study of Aleku Abbo Iddirs in Dembi Dollo Area of Oromia Region

Conflicts are natural to human beings, but the way of handling them may either escalate or reduce and ultimately solve them. Because of the inevitability of conflict and due to the physical, emotional and resource costs that often result from conflicts or disputes people have always sought ways of peacefully resolving their differences through different mechanisms. Thus to effectively resolve conflict and maintain harmonious relationship among themselves people throughout history developed different mechanisms and procedures.

In Ethiopia people make associations of multi functions to face their challenges collectively. One of these is iddir, neighbourhood association for mutual help. Although iddir was initially established as an institution for mutual help in time of death of immediate family of its members, it has transformed itself to deal with several social issues like community development, conflict resolution, conflict prevention and peace building among the society.

The findings of this research clearly indicate that iddir plays significant role in conflict resolution and peace building. The iddir elders go through three stages or process to finally arrive to complete resolution of dispute. First they try to find the truth to know who did wrong second they punish the guilty and make him/her compensate the innocent and finally reconcile the two parties. The elders throughout the process focus on truth and justice as a central elements of conflict resolution that unless justice is done, and truth is revealed or found there can be no lasting solution for conflicts.

The findings also reveal that participants to this research voiced their interest and trust to iddir eldersmethod of dispute resolution which focuses on solving problem from the root and rebuilding of broken relationship through reconciliation.

Iddir lays also foundation for tolerance, and peaceful cohabitation. In a multi-ethnic society like Ethiopia, where great majority of the population lives in a rural area community based organizations like iddir have invaluable role among the people. Such traditional CBOs go beyond ethnic, religious and political boundaries in bringing people together from different background. Iddir is part of the society and works in a day to day life of the people, involves in entire life of the people from mutual help in time of need and death to resolving, preventing conflicts and building of peace. The research is concluded drawing conclusion from the findings and forwarding some recommendations.

 

Memheru Mekonnen Menkir (2013)

 

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