Supporting mediation and de-escalation in war zones


MediationKnowledge ManagementData Collection

Year

2022-2024

Role & Company

Designed in collaboration with Stefania Parousi at Hala Systems. Phase 1 as Senior Product Designer; Phase 2 giving design direction.

TL;DR

A secure platform where mediators, civil society organizations and conflict parties can share, analyze, discuss and action peace-building opportunities. Jump to the screens →

Problem

The fog of war clouds peace building efforts


As the old adage goes, it's easier to start a war than to end one. Armed conflicts, of which today there are over 100 worldwide, are becoming more common, complex, and interconnected.

Those attempting to build peace face significant challenges, including understanding the context, keeping abreast of fast-moving developments and building constructive relationships with the parties who can influence change.

Failing to overcome these challenges means that peace-building efforts are fragmented, opportunities for de-escalation are missed and war rages on.

Opportunity

More information sooner makes for more effective mediation


Working in the midst of an escalating conflict, we sought to uncover where effective mediation was happening and understand what made it successful. To do so we interviewed and mapped the experiences of mediators, civil society organisations and subject matter experts.

A pattern emerged that even in a wider context of escalation, when the right parties come together at the right moment, de-escalatory actions can happen and harm can be avoided.

How might we ensure that peace-builders are always aware and are able to act on all peace-building opportunities?

Solution

A single source of information for influence, peace-building and mediation activities


We developed a secure platform where mediators, civil society organizations and conflict parties can share, analyze, discuss and action peace-building opportunities.

Outcomes for mediators:
    • Manage all information related to mediation in one place 
    • Alert and engage users of actions taken towards certain incidents
    • Keep a historical record of war-related developments as identified by warring actors
    • Keep abreast of important mediation-worthy incidents using list view and statuses
    • Engage directly with conflict parties and CSOs using the comment thread
    • See where activity is spiking using map view
    • Categorize and track mediation efforts as they progress from awareness to resolution
    • Quickly find specific incidents using filters

Outcomes for conflict parties and CSOs:
    • Engage mediation authorities in events that risk conflict escalation by adding an incident
    • Help de-escalate conflict by sharing and discussing information related to events with relevant parties using the comment threat
    • Keep track of relevant mediated incidents by using notifications
    • Communicate during times where personal engagement due to conflict tensions is difficult.

Result

Pilot launch in a major conflict zone


The product has been piloted in 1 major conflict zone with multiple regional and national actors.

A network of over 40 researchers alert mediators to relevant incidents directly from the conflict zone

The project has been featured at WebSummit Qatar, the Berlin Moot Innovation Fair, and on Al Jazeera

Methods

Expert Interviews, User interviews, Desk research, Assumption Mapping, Empathy mapping, Jobs to be Done, Design Sprint, Storyboarding, Prototyping, Design crits, Usability testing, In-person Training, Surveys