Monitoring and evaluating conflict sensitivity: methodological challenges and practical solutions

Rachel Goldwyn, Diana Chigas


This document gives practical guidance on how to monitor and evaluate the interaction between an intervention and conflict. It includes a discussion of the methodological questions that arise when embarking on a process to monitor and evaluate for unintended interactions with conflict, as well as a range of practical and field-tested tools.

This document aims to help those designing a monitoring or evaluation process for conflict sensitivity – at whatever level it is concerned with. The intended audience of this document are DFID advisers designing or implementing programming or strategies in fragile and conflict affected states (FCAS) who wish to understand how their interventions could be or have been interacting with conflict in unintentional ways. However, implementing partners in FCAS, might also find the tools useful. The document assumes no prior knowledge of conflict sensitivity. It provides a short explanation of what is conflict sensitivity and when it is relevant.

Key Findings:

  • The unintended interaction between a project, programme, sector or country operational plan with conflict / tensions can be monitored and evaluated, and a range of tools are available for this purpose.
  • Monitoring and evaluating conflict sensitivity differs from monitoring and evaluating peacebuilding in focus, purpose and contribution to peace: conflict sensitivity can assess any contribution to peace, while peacebuilding is concerned with whether the intervention affects a key conflict driver positively.
  • It is not necessary or feasible to demonstrate attribution in evaluating the degree of conflict sensitivity of an intervention: demonstrating contribution is sufficient.
  • The OECD DAC evaluation criteria that pertain particularly to evaluating conflict sensitivity are relevance, impact and effectiveness. However these need some adjustments for application to conflict sensitivity, in particular that impact be analysed using contribution analysis, as the standard of attribution does not fit well with conflict sensitivity.
  • Indicators are helpful in monitoring conflict sensitivity, but they are not the only source of information or evidence concerning conflict sensitivity. Indicators are also not well suited to identifying unintended and unanticipated consequences.
  • There are four common processes for monitoring and evaluating conflict sensitivity at any level: (i) Monitoring/assessment of conflict; (ii) Monitoring/assessment of whether the processes for minimizing negative effects on the conflict context are/have functioned; (iii) Monitoring/assessing the effects of the conflict on the intervention; and (iv) Monitoring/assessing the effects of the intervention on conflict.


Goldwyn, R. & Chigas, D. (2013). Monitoring and evaluating conflict sensitivity: methodological challenges and practical solutions. Cambridge, MA: CDA.